[As is necessary to note, all below is personal belief and experience journeying to the Otherworlds. The Red Court is a Court of faeries that I interact with and which I have not found connections to in fairy tales or to other known faeries.]
Colors are a large part of my journey work. I always try to break down the colors I see, try to understand, try to grasp the nuances of why. Why do gold threads appear when I go to the Firebird? Why do diamonds and blue-white ice appear when I pray to the Dierne? Why is it that black appears for each of the Four Gods?
It’s sort of funny I’m so focused on colors, since I can’t for the life of me properly use them in art.
Symbolism is, obviously, important, but often I feel handed a symbol without any idea what it means. A wing with eyes? That felt rather biblical, and it set me on edge to have that image keep recurring, though I eventually unraveled its implications within the structure I was building and working with. At times the journeys have been frustrating, turning up strange signs or leading me to wild goose chases, but more often the adventure of discovery is fun.
It would be very easy to make myself search and search for previous color correspondences, get lost in others’ interpretations of what colors mean, and in doing so lose what the journeys are trying to convey. A common question I see again and again relates to correspondences and wanting to know the ‘right’ ones. Which…there are no right ones. They vary from culture to culture, time period to time period, region to region – and individual to individual. The importance of gold to a certain spirit and I makes it mean something very different than it will for someone else.
It’s important to be aware of our biases – it is much, much too easy to hear someone’s experience with a god or spirit or journey and, upon noting similarities to something we’ve seen, assume that the symbols mean the same thing to them as they do to us. It can cause a lot of problems, obviously! If I hear about someone who had a vision full of white, perhaps snow or a white landscape, I can’t assume that it means the same thing it does to me when I see such visions (barrenness, possibly internal spiritual work). Perhaps someone finds warmth comforting, and so having a warm spirit appear to them is good – for me, having a warm or hot impression, feeling, or spirit appear would set me on edge, whereas a cold or chilled landscape or vision would set me at ease.
Recently, the colors that appear most commonly are black, red, white, and gold. Black, red, and white have been very solid, recurring colors in my work, and I suspect part of that is early influence from Starhawk’s work. Rather than fitting into the Maiden/Mother/Crone (MMC) framework that it is usually associated with in her and other modern works, red and white are the colors associated primarily with the Firebird and his related spirits; white, here, representing barrenness and an inability to form solid emotional bonds, red representing fire and also blood. The black is a more personal color, countering the white as, in my journeys and religion, it represents solid emotional bonds, households, stability, and compassion. Black is tied to our flesh, white to our bones – black is life, white is death (sort of – it’s fuzzier than that).
The gold is opulence and was an unexpected color. To keep myself grounded, I often breakdown journeys, visions, and stories to see how they are applicable to my life and what certain spirits are trying to convey – and the Red Court, with its red, white, and gold motifs speaks of dragon-like hoarding, quick-fire passions and reactions, and difficulty forming emotional connections. The faeries of this Court teach us the joy of beauty and elegance and also warn of the danger of cutting your heart out or retreating from people – which is stressed again by the blood symbolized by the red, which also represents the blood split when these faeries cut or tear out their hearts and become ‘mature’.
It is easy to get lost in the stories and the symbols and see nothing beyond that. And, at times, my journeys are nothing more than enjoyable romps through the Worlds. But, always, I have to remember to break them down and understand them, even if just on a personal level. I’ve learned, through the journeys, to trust my own correspondences and not lean on another’s – just as we should all strive to figure out our own correspondences and symbols.