Golden Dawn Color Magick   6 comments

Greetings, Fratres et Sorores!

I recently posted the following questions about G.D. Color Magick to Pat Zalewski’s ‘Golden Dawn Group’ forum.  I think you folks will find it interesting as well.  This is a subject that has been all-too underexplored, and I think these questions need to be asked as a starting point to further discussion.  You are all, of course,  invited to reply with your own findings.

Original post:  (I highly suggest you check out the developing thread there as well as the comments section here.)


I would love to see some discussion of the Golden Dawn’s theories of color magick. It is a subject that gets glossed over quite a bit, at least in the published literature. Primarily, I would like to hear some of your thougths on how the colors were applied in a practical sense.

I have seen it stated that the Queen Scale colors are receptive, and should therefore be used when we wish to draw something to us. The King Scale colors, on the other hand, are active and should therefore be used when we wish to project an energy outward into the world. On the surface this might seem to make sense. King = Active and Queen = Passive is pretty basic. Plus, the Minutum Mundum has the Sephiroth in Queen Scale and the Paths in King – as the Paths transmit energy from one place to antoher while the Sephiroth receive it.  (BUT – more on this later.)

However, this interpretation seems overly simplistic – and comes with some significant problems. For example, the walls of the Vault are in the King Scale, but I see nothing about the Vault that indicates its intent is *only* to radiate energy out into the world. During initiations and much of the Vault work I have seen, they are used to draw energy into the Vault and the adept working therein.

Another interesting conflict comes with the Minutum Mundum itself. When we view that diagram from the Four World perspective – an entire Minutum Mundum in each World – what we call the “Sephiroth” technically reside in Atziluth. (Consider their analogy with the Gnostic Aeons in the Pleroma, which is evident in the Sephir Yetzirah – Chapter 1.) Then, in the following three Worlds are the Archangels, Angels and Astrological/Planetary Spheres respectively. Meanwhile, the walls of the Vault represent the Planetary Spheres that make up the physical universe or Assiah.

The conflict here is that the Sephiroth are given in the Queen Scale while the Astrological Spheres (represented by the Paths) are given in the King. One would *think*, in the Golden Dawn, that the pure Sephiroth should be in the King/Atziluth Scale and the Planetary Spheres should be in the Princess/Assiah Scale. Yet this is not the case.

That brings us back to the King = Active for the Paths and Queen = Passive for the Sephiroth concept. I called this simplistic before, because it does not illustrate a complete understanding of the Sephiroth. Each individual sphere covers a series of “stages” that run from the Receptive (receiving the energy from a previous sphere, so that the two energeis are mixed) to the Static (the pure force of the sphere in question) to the Active (transmitting its energy to the next sphere, where we find a new mixture). Much the same can be said of the Paths – which receive energy on one end and transmit it at the other.

Finally – NONE of the above even addresses the meanings and uses of the Prince and Princess Scales. These two scales are hardly ever mentioned.

I think that Olen Rush has shone some light on these conflicts, when he shared his Minutum Mundums in the different Scales.  (UPDATE:  Also see this link.)  It suggests that the usual diagram we see is just one example, illutrating one point. Other Minutum Mundums are possible – at least one for each of the four Worlds (for starters).

But how should this translate into practical work? In my experience, the Queen Scale color of a Sephirah is used when invoking the forces of the Sephirah itself – meaning the *entire* realm of the Sephirah in question, including its Divinity, Archangelic, Angelic and Planetary forces. This is usually done for spiritual advancement (and we might assign it to Ma’aseh Berashith). Meanwhile, the King Scale color of a Planet it used when we want to focus upon an Assiatic planetary sphere – usually for practical magick (so we might assign it to Ma’aseh Merkavah). Thus, for example, we would use Orange for Hod work and Yellow for Mercury work.

But why should that be? Why would we not use the King Scale for Hod, and the Princess Scale for Mercury? (And, of course, the Queen Scale for work with Michael Hodiel and the Prince Scale for work with the Beni Elohim?)

And, along the same lines, why are the Prince and Princess Scales hardly ever used at all? What are their proper uses?

Obviously there is a lot of material to study here – and I wonder how some of our past and present adepts have made use of the Scales in their own magick.

To aid in this discussion, here are some helpful links.  I’ll update this post with more links as things progress:

The Four Color Scales

The Rose and the Scales by Bill Heidrick



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Posted September 25, 2012 by kheph777 in golden dawn, hermetic, qabalah

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6 responses to “Golden Dawn Color Magick

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  1. Bill Heidrick’s article is very interesting. He points out some obvious facts about the four Color Scales.

    First, he notes that the King Scale is created from the standard color wheel. (The same colors we see on the Golden Dawn Rose – pictured at the head of this blog post – as well as the Paths on the Tree.) Thus, the King Scale is the primary starting point for all that follows.

    Next, he suggests that the Queen Scale was formed from the “second choices” of colors for each astrological force. He doesn’t elaborate much, but gives a few examples (such as sky-blue for Air, due to the relationship between Air and sky).

    Then, he points out that the Prince (he calls it the Emperor) Scale is formed by combining the colors of the King and Queen Scale. This makes sense, as the Prince is the child of the King and Queen.

    The Princess (which he calls the Empress) Scale of colors is a more complex concern – which I have yet to begin to unravel. lol This is the Scale with all of the flecked and rayed colors.

    Given that the King Scale is really the standard color wheel and the primary source of all the colors that follow, I find it interesting that so much magick is based upon the Queen Scale of the Sephiroth instead. This isn’t unique to the Golden Dawn, either. Look at the colors of the Planets outlined in the Key of Solomon, and you wil find they match the Queen Scale colors of the planetary Sephiroth. (With the exception of Mercury.)

    Saturn = Black
    Jupiter = Blue
    Mars = Red
    Sol = Yellow (or Gold)
    Venus = Green
    Mercury = Mixed Colors (Solomonic) or Orange (G.D.)
    Luna = Purple (or Silver)

    At least we know where the Golden Dawn got its “secondary choices” for these seven colors. And, perhaps, also why they are used so often for practical magick.

    A good question, though, might be why the Solomonic system didn’t use the ROYGBIV colors of the color wheel (aka, the King Scale) in the first place? After all, that is the natural set of colors seen in the rainbow. It would appear that the Golden Dawn itself pioneered the use of the artist’s color wheel for the (King Scale) colors of astrological forces. Unless someone out there can point to an earlier source for it…


  2. Reblogged this on The Conspiracy of Pleasure.

  3. The planetary attributions of the Sephirah in the Queen Scale seem to have a strong relationship to the colors of metal oxides. Saturn/Lead = Black, Mars/Iron = Red, Venus/Copper = Green, Mercury/Mercury = Orange (mercuric oxide), Sun/Gold = Gold (does not oxidize). This pattern breaks down with Jupiter/Tin != Blue (tin oxide is white), Moon/Silver != Purple (silver oxide is black). Frankly I don’t know where the Golden Dawn got its color correspondences, though I recall reading that these were considered among the “most secret” of the Order materials – which might suggest obscure and exclusive sources, or original work by the 1st generation Adepts. In light of the partial planet/metal/color correspondence outlined above, I would be especially interested in hearing what specialized students of alchemy have to say about the GD color scales.

  4. I thought that I had read that the King Scale was primarily Kabbalistic – can’t remember which text – which coloured the Sephiroth starting from mixtures of red and white; and that the *queen* scale was color-wheel based, but arranged to correspond with the “traditional” renaissance “colors” of the metals. And that the Prince scale was a mixture of the two.

    • You may be correct about the Queen Scale. I am not sure what is particularly “Khabalistic” about the King Scale Colors, though. Plus, it is the Queen Scale that is used to color the Sephiroth.

      Olen Rush has made an interesting point on Pat Z’s group. He points out that the King Scale color wheel (as seen on the Paths and on the G.D. Rose) is based on the RYB color wheel *and so are the Queen Scale colors used for the Sephiroth.* That is why Red, Blue, and Yellow are found in Gevurah, Chesed and Tiphareth. Then those three colors are combined in different ways to form the colors of the lower spheres. The Supernals, it would seem, are based on light and darkness.

      I’m still letting Olen’s post settle into my brain, but it seems to be quite important and likely holds a mystery.


  5. Pingback: Mysteria Misc. Maxima: October 5th, 2012 « Invocatio

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