Friday, July 11, 2008

Colors, Symbolism, Religion, and Star Wars

Altogether now! "One of these things is not like the other ..."

Okay, I've been on this lightsaber kick for a few days now. Don't worry, I'm still the pirate chaplain. It's just that a pirate with a lightsaber would be so much cooler! Especially with the new Star Wars movie coming out next month! But I digress. Anyway, one of the questions that has come up, while I've been contemplating heading off to WDW and making my own (or having a wonderful person buy me one for my birthday - hint, hint!), is what color should it be. A few days ago I took the various blog quizzes and, based on very unscientific (and, in many cases, silly) questions, the results were yellow, yellow / orange, and some shade of blue-green. So, now that I have time to kill (I'm waiting for an appointment to show up), I figured I'd take a look at the symbolism of colors.

When it comes to lightsaber colors, the sky is now the limit, thanks to at least one company that is putting out colored plastic discs for the purpose of changing the color of LED style sabers:

But at any rate, colors are important, and very symbolic. Back when I worked in the church, I used colors all the time to set moods, mark the various times of the year, and to reinforce ritual and myth. Purple was used for advent and lent - it's a color of preparation, repentance, yet also of royalty (sometimes blue is used for Advent, but I didn't do so). Green was symbolic of life, growth, and the maturation of the people into a better spiritual place. White means purity, holiness, baptism, and so forth. The absence of color is used for mourning, introspection, etc. And finally, in the church, red is used only once a year, on Pentecost, to denote the Holy Spirit flowing into the world and the birth of the church. It's also used for certain celebrations, but I've seen that done only rarely.

So, with that in mind, I've been playing with the idea of how color symbolism applies to building a kick butt lightsaber ("kick butt" is a technical term, of course!). Since I want a blade that I can change the colors (I plan on picking up those discs after I get home), I'm not going to get a red blade; those belong to the Sith (the bad guys in the Star Wars universe) anyway, so ...

At first, my color choices seem to be limited to blue, green, purple and yellow (at least from the pictures I've seen online. After I get the discs, though, my options will obviously increase. Here's what I read about each, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Blue: Seas, men, productive (interior) skies, peace, unity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, coolness, confidence, conservatism, water, ice, loyalty, dependability, cleanliness, technology, winter, depression, coldness, idealism, obscenity, tackiness, air, wisdom, royalty, nobility, Earth (planet), Virgo (light blue), Pisces (pale blue) and Aquarius (dark blue) (star sign), strength, steadfastness, light, friendliness, July (sky blue), February (deep blue), peace, mourning (Iran)[citation needed], truthfulness, love, sadness, aloofness, the Virgin Mary, liberalism (U.S. politics); In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, believed to keep the bad spirits away.

Green: Great intelligence, life, nature, bad spirits, spring, fertility, youth, environment, wealth, money (US), good luck, vigor, generosity, go, grass, aggression, inexperience, envy, misfortune, coldness, jealousy, disgrace (China), illness, greed, corruption (North Africa), life eternal, air, earth (classical element), sincerity, hope, Cancer (bright green, star sign), renewal, natural abundance, growth, health, August, balance, harmony, stability, calming, creative intelligence, Islam, the ordinary. During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil. Green is believed to be the luckiest of colors in some western countries including, Britain, Ireland, and the U.S.

Yellow: Sunlight, joy, happiness, earth, optimism, intelligence, idealism, wealth (gold), summer, hope, air, liberalism, cowardice, illness (quarantine), hazards, dishonesty, avarice, weakness, greed, femininity, gladness, sociability, summer, friendship, Gemini, Taurus, Leo (golden yellow, star signs), April, September, deceit, hazard signs, death (Middle Ages), mourning (Egypt), courage (Japan), God (gold). Yellow ribbons were worn during times of warfare as a sign of hope as women waited for their men to return. During the Middle Ages, both green and yellow were used to symbolize the devil.

Purple: Envy, Sensuality, bisexuality, spirituality, creativity, wealth, royalty, nobility, ceremony, mystery, wisdom, enlightenment, arrogance, flamboyance, gaudiness, mourning, profanity, exaggeration, confusion, pride, Scorpio (violet, star sign), May, November, riches, romanticism (light purple), delicacy (light purple), penance. Purple is the color of mourning for widows in Thailand, favorite color of Egypt's Cleopatra, and the purple heart - given to soldiers who have been wounded during warfare.

And, of course, White (if I decide to not include a color disc): Light, Reverence, purity, snow, peace, innocence, cleanliness, simplicity, security, humility, sterility, winter, coldness, criticism, surrender, cowardice, fearfulness, unimaginative, air, fire, death (Eastern cultures), hope, Aries, Pisces (star signs), bland, empty and unfriendly(interior), January, celebration.

Right now, it's a toss up between yellow or green. Of course, if I decide to make my own, using either parts from the hardware store or kits from companies like this one, I can do whatever the heck I want. Still, I find the choice of color interesting, especially if you look at who was swinging which color and what that says about the character's personality.

Then again, I may just shelve the whole thing and decide it's too much work. I get lazy like that sometimes! However, on days like this, when my appointments don't show up and there's little else to do, goofing off and imagining building something geeky and cool is fun.

I may write some more serious stuff later.


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