Ever since I was a child I’ve seen the days of the weeks as colours in my mind. I see them as if they are a strip of printed titles at the top of a calendar page, seen at a slight angle and floating in a dark brown/black void with the names repeating and disappearing off into the distance. Each name is printed in bold type (and now with my familiarity with different fonts I realise I’ve been seeing them in Arial or Helvetica all my life, LOL) usually with the day name printed in the colour, or some with the name in white with the background coloured instead. I’ve never thought anything of it as that’s just the way its always been. I have no idea why I associate particular colours (or shapes) with each day, but here’s how I see them…
Sunday is pale pink (with a pink lace background).
Monday is white.
Tuesday is orange (with an orange coloured lemon-shaped (like the fruit) object under the word).
Wednesday is apple green.
Thursday is pale silvery grey.
Friday is a very dark purple (with a purple lace background, gathered at the top like a lace cravat or collar ruffle of ye olden days).
Saturday is dark navy blue (almost black).
Um… yes, I know …its a bit weird, LOL.
Some time ago, while Googling yet again for info about Asperger’s Syndrome, I came across a description of a condition called synaesthesia, “which is a perceptual condition of mixed sensations: a stimulus in one sensory modality (e.g., hearing) involuntarily elicits a sensation/experience in another modality (e.g. vision). Likewise, perception of a form (e.g., a letter) may induce an unusual perception in the same modality (e.g. a color)”. More detailed info can be found here.
I decided to do an online test to see if my weekday/colour thing is really classed as synaesthesia. From my test results below, its looks like I am definitely a synaesthete, at least with regard to days of the week. There are a lot of other types of synaesthesia which I do not consciously experience so I didn’t do the tests for any of those.
While doing the test I found I felt distinctly uncomfortable in my solar plexis area about the “look” of the day name until I got the colour right, or as close as I could to what felt right. I had the most trouble with “Wednesday” as the green seemed harder to pick than any of the other colours.
Witchcraft & Colour Correspondences
All this got me wondering about the origins of the colour correspondences commonly used within witchcraft & paganism. Why are particular colours associated with planets, days of the week, and different attributes such as money, healing, banishing etc. How did all these associations originate and was synaesthesia involved in the selection process? Something to ponder perhaps. 🙂
Just out of curiosity I decided to compare my weekday colour choices with some of the correspondences commonly used. I found a lot of different sources, both online and from my books, for colours associated with the planets, which are in turn associated with the days of the week. There seems to be a great range of colours for some of the days of the week, and a general consensus on only a couple of colours for others. Hmm… it all comes down to people’s individual perceptions of course (synaesthetic or not), but interesting none the less. I managed to come up with matches for 5 out of the 7 days.
So does this mean I was tapping into the collective unconscious or some other great unknown source of cosmic correspondences when I was just a child and first discovering that days had colours? A bit far fetched perhaps …who knows? Does my little exercise prove anything? …no, not really. But I had fun wasting a morning while writing and discovering stuff. I’d better get back to some real work now, LOL. 😀
Edit: (a few hours later…) This is really wonderfully intriguing stuff! 😀
It seems I have other family members with synaesthesia …I just asked my kids a few questions!
The Colour of Numbers and the Flavour of Music…
I asked my eldest son (who has very mild Asperger’s traits, never professionally assessed) and he says he doesn’t experience any colours or other potentially synaesthetic experiences.
My second son (definitely more Aspie traits than his older brother but also not professionally assessed or diagnosed [Edit: diagnosed ADD in 2010 – 1 year after I wrote this blog post]) says he sees the months of the year as a long line of names starting from January and going away into the distance. The background starts as white, then by about May it gradually turns to blue, then around September it gets much darker and by November it is black. These colour changes are gradual, however at the end of December there is a sharp cut-off line between the black of December and the white of January once the next year starts. The names of the months start out written in black then gradually get paler as the background becomes darker, so they can still be seen. This long line of names of the months also goes uphill and levels out in some spots before continuing uphill again. January to April is flat, then May to July goes sharply uphill, August to September levels off again, October to December goes uphill, then at the top of that hill the next plateau starts with January to April being flat etc. The whole line just goes up and up, year after year, off into the distance.
My third son (diagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome) sees days of the week as a long film strip with each name written on a frame in the film. He does not see them in colours however. He sees most of the letters of the alphabet in colours but couldn’t be bothered telling me what they all were, only a few examples: A is red, B is brown, H is green and Y is a light creamy colour. He also says that music tastes like stuff, which I find far more interesting than the colour thing! He says that most Techno music tastes like lollies but one particular techno song tastes like spongecake. Country music has a savoury flavour and Rock music tastes like the colour grey (even though he can’t pinpoint what grey tastes like). He also sees people as numbers …apparently it’s something to do with the appearance of their face. It’s not a scoring system as such, but rather a physical similarity he sees between the person and the shape of the number. He sees me as a 10 or sometimes an 11, his father as a 6, his oldest brother is a 9, his next older brother is a 6, his younger brother is a 4, he sees himself as a 2 or a 7 (but mainly 7), my father is a 5, my mother is a 2 or a 7 and so it goes on. Our dog is also a 4, LOL.
My youngest son (diagnosed mild Asperger’s Syndrome plus ADD) also sees the days of the week in colours like I do…
Sunday is pale grey.
Monday is dark blue.
Tuesday is light green.
Wednesday is dark green.
Thursday is red.
Friday is orange.
Saturday is yellow.
(In relation to the magical correspondences, his colour choices matched only 1 out of 7 with Wednesday’s dark green being the closest to “green”.)
He also sees the numbers 1 to 20 as colours as well. He said he doesn’t see the numbers after 20 as anything.
|1 = brown
2 = light green
3 = red
4 = black
5 = orange
|6 = light green
7 = yellow
8 = pink
9 = dark green
10 = white
|11 = black
12 = dark green
13 = red
14 = dark blue
15 = light orange
|16 = light green
17 = darkish yellow
18 = pink
19 = dark green
20 = light green
Wow! …the things you find out about family, LOL! 😀
Edit 2: (many more hours later!) …looking at my son’s numbers/colours table I made I’ve just realised that the way I divided up the results into 4 groups of 5 (simply to save space on the page) has revealed a definite pattern of repeating colour choices for similar numbers across most of the rows …interesting! 1 & 11 are both very dark, 2 & 12 are both shades of green, 3 & 13 are both red, 4 & 14 are both very dark, 5 & 15 are both shades of orange, 6 & 16 are both light green, 7 & 17 are both shades of yellow, 8 & 18 are both pink, 9 & 19 are both dark green, 10 & 20 are odd ones out, being 2 totally different colours …although 20 is green, the same as the other “2” numbers 2 & 12.
I think my pattern-picking Aspieness is showing, LOL!
Edit 3: (the following afternoon) I decided to ask my youngest son to list his colours for the weekdays and numbers again to see if he gave the same answers. He did! The only difference was for 12 he said ‘red’ instead of ‘dark green’ (which mucks up the colour pattern I’d noticed yesterday) and for 20 he said ‘white’ instead of ‘light green’ (which actually completes the pattern for that last line!).
Edit 26/11/2011: More information about synaesthesia can be found in Why it Pays to Taste Words and Hear Colors.
Edit 26/06/2014: Another interesting article – Can Syneasthesia Be Learnt?
26th June 2014 – 5 years later…
After reading the article listed directly above I decided to take the synaesthesia test again. As it’s just over 5 years since I first did the test I can’t remember if all the questions are the same or even if the method of picking colours was the same – something seemed different about it but I can’t be certain. This time, as well as doing the Weekday Colour Picker test (which I did last time) I also inadvertently ended up doing the “Absolute Pitch Test”, which I didn’t do last time. I answered “yes” to the question “Do you have perfect pitch?” because if I hear a note I can sing the same one or quickly find it on a piano keyboard, without the need to know the name of this note. In the test however, a tone or a piano note was sounded and I had to pick from a number note names – I didn’t have a clue which sound had which note name and because of the countdown timer I was quite confused as to which notes/tones were being “played” by the test and which were the sounds I’d clicked on in response – or even if I was hearing the note I’d responded with or the next tone/note played by the test – the response time between when I clicked on a button and when I heard the next sound wasn’t consistent and totally confused me. Needless to say I failed that section miserably. Oh well, I didn’t realise I was electing to do the pitch test anyway, lol. My result on the weekday colours was slightly “better” than last time however. Here’s my latest results… 🙂