Of course, when it came to page 107 in Women Who Run With the Wolves, I geeked out when it came to the description of the life and death natures of the colors used symbolically in the story depicting the horsemen in the story of Vasalisa.
The black, red and white horsemen symbolize the ancient colors connoting birth, life and death. These colors also represent old ideas of descent, death and rebirth--the black or dissolving one's old values, the red for the sacrifice of one's preciously held illusions, and the white as the new light, the new knowing that comes from having experienced the first two.First off, baptism symbolism= cool. Secondly, the connection between more Eastern thought of enlightenment being attained through a spiritual journey= also cool.
Continuing on with page 107,
The colors in the tale are extremely precious, for each has its death nature and its life nature. Black is the color of mud, the fertile, the basic stuff into which ideas are sewn. Yet black is also the color of death, the blackening of the light. And black has even a third aspect. it is also the color associated with the world between the world which La Loba [who you will remember from Chapter 1] stands upon--for black is the color of descent. Black is the promise that you will soon know something you did not know before.She goes on to describe red as the color of spilled blood and the draining of life from a body, but on the light side, it is the color of arousal, sensuality and desire.
My favorite aspect of the color red she describes is the red mother, "She is the watcher of "things coming through" She is especially propitiated by those who are about to give birth, for whosoever leaves this world or comes into this world has to pass through her red river. Red is the promise that a rising up or a borning is soon too come."
For this aspiring midwife and birth geek, yes. Yes. Red is sacred, red is life. Its for that reason that I incorporated the color into the first quilt I made for my son. It is also why I love this verse from the Pearl of Great Price so much, "inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten (Moses 6:59)." It is seen that birth symbolized by our mother Eve is the balance or foil of our re-birth through Christ. That together, the male and and female bring us to eternal life (as the verse goes onto state). Together, both are worthy of honor and remembrance.
To round it out, the light side of white is likely the most familiar. From WWRWW,
"It is the pure, the pristine. But it is also the color of soul free from the body, the spirit unencumbered by the physical . It is the color of essential nourishment, mother's milk. Conversely, it is the color of the dead, of things that have lost their rosiness, their flush of vitality. When there is white, everything is, for the moment, tabula rasa, unwritten upon...."
I learned the dark side of the color white when I was a youth and I was asked what my initial impressions are of being in a white room with blank walls and no windows. While others around me named peace, comfort as their response, mine was panic. The white felt oppressive, blank and like death. White made me think of nothing, non-attachment and the thought was terrifying. While Eastern thought would say that the goal is non-attachment, I'm still not sold on the idea. I believe too fiercly that life is about forming attachments through love, with spouse, with children, with friends, with family. Otherwise, life is a waste of loneliness. I do not see how coming to earth to be unattached makes any sense. If anything it is a distinctly male perception that cannot hold true for the women those men relied upon to perpetuate their existence.
The author also states the colors red, black and white are elemental colors, used in alchemy. It makes curious to learn of other light/dark dualities for other colors. Green's dark nature isn't coming to me quickly, though blue does. The sky evidences to me of the light blue of day and the dark blue of night and all the attendant symbols associated with night and day.