Little did I know when I began doing a little research prior to posting some images from Annie Besant's and C.W. Leadbeater's "Thought forms" the vast landscape that was about to emerge. By which I mean the incredible reach of these 19th century ideas and their far-reaching influence on art (see "Kandinsky's Though Forms and the Occult Roots of Modern Art, published by a theosophical website), science, and society ever since. But if I were to attempt to give you even a glimpse of this landscape, you would not be hearing from me for about a year, so let's just enjoy some of the "Thought Forms" presented in the book as well as their theories on the meanings of color (more details in "Thought Forms" on the link above.
While the authors do not explain the origins of these thought forms and their intepretations of color, one can speculate that we are in the presence of one of the first attempts to consciously explore visual language in its non-representational form. Let's not open that can of worms either, but let me just say that for years now, in drawing, painting, creativity, and graphic facilitation classes, when I ask participants to represent emotions and physical states non-figuratively, they do seem to come up with formally similar images in similar colors — like sharp irregular forms in black and red for anger, blue parallel lines for peace, or central radiating lines in warm, bright colors for joy…
Perhaps, following Merleau-Ponty, Lakoff, and many other philosophers of embodiment, one can hypothesize that human beings share a number of basic physical experiences both in their bodies and of the outside world, which might explain why in design thinking in general, visual analogies are such powerful tools…
But enough! herewith the color table and a few examples of our famous Theosophists' thought forms:
And now, some thought forms.
Vague pure affection
Vague selfish affection. Dirty colors ?
Greed for drink!
More on the "Thought Forms" website!