The Path – August 1886


It is well known that yellow is the complementary of blue, and red of green, color, and it struck me that, relating to this subject, the remarks of Mr. Isaac Sharpless, who is an undoubted authority in astronomical matters, are of some importance. Writing from Haverford College Observatory, June 3d instant, he says:

"The question of star colors has been receiving attention from the hand of an English gentleman, W. S. Franks. He has examined carefully the colors of a list of 1893 of the brightest stars, with especial reference to the distribution in the heavens of the different colors. He finds 962 white stars, 614 yellow, 168 orange, 10 red, 15 green, 59 blue, 58 purple and 7, for some reason, have no colors given. He finds that the constellations which contain a large percentage of white stars are in or near the Milky Way, and wherever stars are closely associated together; while the yellow and orange stars are most plentiful in large straggling constellations.

"It is well known that a certain kind of spectrum is connected with certain star colors. The yellow stars belong to the class of our sun and include such bright stars as Capella. The white stars, like Vega, have a spectrum of a great number of fine lines, and the red gives a banded spectrum. It has been a favorite theory that the colors indicate the age of the stars, if not in years, at least in development. That the white are the youngest: as they cool they become yellow, then red, and, finally invisible, just as a piece of iron would in cooling down from a white heat. There is much to commend this idea, though, of course, as to the relative ages of the stars we know very little, and some changes appear to be in the opposite direction. Perhaps there are people to whom the idea of different colors in stars is a novelty. They have a general idea that there are bright points of light overhead, at night, and probably they have observed, in a general way, that some are brighter than others. It will not require a very close watch, however, to add to the knowledge of the sky the additional fact that they are differently colored. Castor and Pollux which now shine in the west in the evening are very evidently diverse, and a careful amateur can go over the heavens and notice among the brighter stars quite a variety.

"But a telescope increases the capacities for this work immensely. Nearly all the very red stars are too faint to be seen by the naked eye, and many which show the strongest contrasts of color are double stars, which require considerable magnifying power to separate them. Blue and green stars are never solitary, but associated with a red or a yellow star, which is nearly always brighter, so that color has something to do with association. There are also sometimes clusters of stars which show great variety of color. Sir John Herschel describes one in the Southern Hemisphere which resembled a mass of colored gems. There is probably a prolific field of discovery yet undeveloped in connection with star colors."

The experiments of Reichenbach and others have shown that from crystals and human bodies emanate not only influences of a positive and negative character — which are also referred to in the PATH at p. 86 — but also that certain colors are seen by sensitives to arise from the human head, eyes, and hands. Now, as animal magnetism is slowly forcing recognition from the scientific world, why are we not justified in giving some credence to the views held by the old Hermetic philosophers, that the human being derives its magnetism and vitality from the stars: that is, that these colors seen by sensitives, are to be directly traced to the sidereal influences and atmospheres. They gave to each color an appropriate star, and we find curiously enough, that although it is claimed against them that they were ignorant and had no appliances, they, without apparatus, knew that the stars had colors, while to the sun they ascribed life. Now in this century our astronomers tell us, as above, of star colors of great variety and peculiar combination. These are mere hints, however, which I would like more competent men to enlarge upon. — ISAAC MYER.

[Note: — We are personally acquainted with several persons who can see these magnetic colors, and they all agree in the main as to the conditions of health or of temper which accompany them. Mere quick thoughts they see as bright sparks: sensuality seems pink or reddish: while life and wisdom, appear as blue. It is interesting to note also, that in the Hindu system, when Krishna is represented as the life giver, or as the principle of life, he is painted blue, which color Reichenbach found proceeded from the positive pole: while the passive mendicant or ascetic of Hindustan, has to wear the yellow robe, which stands for the negative pole that emits the yellow ray. It is also rather curious that the ancient Egyptians in their papyri painted wisdom, which is cold, of a yellow color, and the son of life appears in blue. — Ed.]

The Path