The rose stood out
Red against the golden wall
The sun comes up through the silken drapes
The room begins to glow
All in cream-colored ivories and soft yellows
You say hello
Put down that guitar and handed me a rose
(Stevie Nicks, “Italian Summer”)
Review of Color Your Life: How to Use the Right Colors to Achieve Balance, Health, and Happiness by Howard and Dorothy Sun (Great Britain, Piatkus,1992; printed by Tarcher/Penguin USA, 2013) (complimentary review copy supplied by publisher).
Maya Del Mar was a great believer in use of color in many of the ways this book suggests. Her dress was colorful, filled with oranges, purples, blues, and greens.
She occasionally set out a glass filled with colored water in her apartment—“for healing,” she said. She used the power of colors to make her family, friends and clients feel comfortable and well-treated when they came to visit her.
And of course as a biologist there was her fascination with the colors, shapes and healing properties of plants and flowers. Then later as an astrologer, her interest in the black heavens, our shining white moon, and the millions of multi-colored celestial bodies in our universe and beyond.
Chapters in this book cover how to determine your personal colors for the clothes you wear during each of the four seasons of the year. Also, the best colors for decorating the interior of your home or office to match whatever purposes you desire to fulfill there. The healing properties of colors are delved into in several parts of the book, but that isn’t all this book does.
The authors are psychologists with a metaphysical bent who have studied color theory and practiced using color therapy with clients for years. Their book, Color Your Life, opens with an easy 30-second color test you can use to identify your core self-color, your present-situation color, and your objectives along with how to achieve them. The Suns call this their Color Reflection Reading (CRR).
Following this s a fascinating history of color theory and the different ways color wheels have been devised by particular philosophers and scientists throughout the ages. The authors break down the eight colors from their own unique color wheel into the physical, emotional, and mental impacts each of the eight colors in has on us.
This look at the history of color discusses auras and chakra theories in depth. The authors define terms from physics, chemistry, painting, and other technical fields to describe color and the ways it has been seen and used in human society.
Even the Yin-Yang symbol and the principle of “complementarity” from ancient Taoist theory comes into play. The authors use complementarity to explain the eight colors and the shapes they have chosen for their Color Reflection Reading test. They use this test in their color therapy sessions, a several of which are described in this book with case studies.
Another chapter in this book for use in self-healing and enriching one’s life includes color breathing [commonly called Chakra breathing]; visualization using color to achieve your goals and/or heal specific illnesses; brief meditations on eight natural phenomenon that highlight each of the colors attributes; and finally help with constructing affirmations using your personal color(s).
For a more powerful and focused effect, color breathing, color visualization, and color affirmation can all be combined into what the Suns label their Creative Color Technique of meditation.
The final chapter examines scientific facts about light and healing techniques that use light for color therapy. The Suns explain what color therapy is and how color therapists work. They finish with a detailed description of their own practice of color healing, called the Living Color System.
Although this is a scholarly work, this is not an academic book. There are no footnotes, and a lot of the assertions made in it are not attributed to anyone in particular. The bibliography, while helpful, takes up less than a page and dates from the 1980s. Last but not least, the two and a quarter-page index is insufficient to provide access to the broad scope of theory and details included in this 200+ page book.
But its broad canvas is this book’s strength. No matter how much you may think you know about color, there is something new in here for you to discover!
The appendix and back pages trace Howard Sun’s legacy from Sun Yat-sen and offer a brief annotated list of resources available from the Suns’ Living Colour. You can learn more about Howard and Dorothy Sun and their Living Colour organization at www.livingcolorusa.com [ed. note 2020: link no longer active].
See more book titles of possible interest at Daykeeper Journal’s new “Books Received” page.