"The Principles of Light and Color" is the result of a remarkable collaboration between a living man and a dead one, each a genius in his own right. To begin with the living man: Faber Birren is known to many of you as the author of "Color Psychology and Color Therapy", "Color: A Survey In Words and Pictures" and "Selling With Color" -- all published by University Books.

Mr. Birren, now nearing seventy, is the renowned consultant on color to such industrial giants as DuPont, Monsanto Chemical, General Electric, Eastman, Minnesota Mining (SM), etc. He has grown wealthy telling them what colors to use on their products, how to color their factories and offices, how to increase work efficiency and reduce accidents by using the right colors. He has done the same things for the U.S. Navy. All this is especially interesting when we learn that Mr. Birren has never tried to conceal that he learned his trade at the feet of occult masters!

One of these masters is his collaborator in this book, Edwin D. Babbitt (1828-1905). Mr. Birren never knew him in the flesh but has devoted decades to the study of his writings; he has now taken Babbitt's great book and edited and annotated it, carving away what is dead and preserving everything which remains alive.

Birren has also provided an Introduction in which he explains clearly what he has done and gives us a biography of Babbitt. In 1878, at the age of 50, Babbitt published this book and it immediately became famous as a masterpiece on color therapy. It gave rise to numerous colleges, schools and cults -- many of which persist to this day.

It seems to be part of human nature to believe in the efficacy and salubrious benefits of color and light, and Babbitt, more than anyone else, has been prophet, leader and saint incarnate in this belief. Babbitt was a genius, but a verbose one. His original book runs to 560 pages and more than 200,000 words. Mr. Birren has cut this to less than half that -- and the reader is so much the gainer. Babbitt's phenomenal powers of observation and his fertile and fluent imagination come through in this edition of the book -- shorn as it is of his outdated optics and physics.

The point of view from which Mr. Birren has done his work is indicated by the following: "That color has direct therapeutic action may be questionable. That it can have value in many psychosomatic disturbances is probably true. But there can be no debate [2] as to its psychological benefits." Mr. Birren also summarizes the latest scientific findings and shows how these corroborate Babbitt's work.

The main body of the book remains Babbitt's. As Mr. Birren says: "In effect, I want Babbitt to present his own theories in his own inimitable style. I will merely come on stage at the beginning, then walk off and let Babbitt act alone."

The result is a magnificent presentation of the healing power of color. The original book sells today in antiquarian bookstores at $100 and more a copy! This special new edition is published at $15.


Those of you who share your Director's interest in color as Art and as Therapy must also be thrilled to learn that the best parts of Babbitt's masterpiece on Color will again be available in print at a reasonable price. Members of Lyle Stuart's Mystic Arts Book Society, New Hyde Park, New York 11040 -- for one month only -- were allowed to purchase this new re-print at only $8.95.

In the last Journal, S.L. Jamison predicted that the rapidly increasing cost of medical care will force Americans to practice "home brew" healing. Years ago a president of the American Medical Association confidently predicted that hospital care would be profitably boosted to a cost of $100 a day by 1970! This is fine for those who can afford it. For those who can't, Babbitt's studies on "The Healing Power of Color" may be a useful and usable alternative -- for cleaning out the aura and re-establishing a balanced flow of life forces.

While Babbitt was developing and experimenting with his ideas in Philadelphia in the 1860s and 70s, Dr. S. Pancoast was actually using Kabalistic principles of color with great success in his medical practice in Philadelphia. These principles, from Pancoast's book, "Blue and Red Light", are outlined in our talk, "Three Great Aquarian Age Healers", BSRA 2-M, a mimeo book, illustrated, 62 pages. If you want to do borderland research on color and its affects on consciousness -- your consciousness, this is a good place to begin.


"We cannot but remark that Light was the secret and universal medicine of the Ancients; they knew all its properties far better than modern science is yet capable of teaching them. With it they were able to cure the most inveterate diseases. They knew how to condense, or fix, light so as to administer it in wine or oil. The medicinal qualities of Light and modes of applying it were among the great secrets of the Kabala and of the Eastern Wise Men."

Seth Pancoast

Babbitt's Psychic Lights and Colors.


  1. Babbitt, Edwin D, and Faber Birren. The Principles of Light and Color: The Classic Study of the Healing Power of Color [by] Edwin D. Babbitt. Edited and Annotated by Faber Birren. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1967. Print. <http://amzn.to/KBhBJ8>
  2. Birren, Faber. Color Psychology and Color Therapy: A Factual Study of the Influence of Color on Human Life. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1961. Print. <http://amzn.to/1u0QvOF> [Re-edition, 1978: <http://amzn.to/1s3TGpC>]
  3. Birren, Faber. Color: A Survey in Words and Pictures, from Ancient Mysticism to Modern Science. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1963. Print. <http://amzn.to/1Azyewy>
  4. Birren, Faber. Selling Color to People: A Book on How to Sell Color in Commercial Products and Advertising to the American Public. New York: University Books, 1956. Print. <http://amzn.to/1obYTpl>
  5. Pancoast, S. Blue and Red Light, Or, Light and Its Rays As Medicine: Showing That Light Is the Original and Sole Source of Life, As It Is the Source of All the Physical and Vital Forces of Nature, and That Light Is Nature's Own and Only Remedy for Disease, and Explaining How to Apply the Red and Blue Rays in Curing the Sick and Feeble : Together with a Chapter on Light in the Vegetable Kingdom. Philadelphia: Stoddart, 1877. Print. [Reprints available from BSRF in our classic xerographic format: <#B0209, "Red and Blue Light">; Digital: <http://resource.nlm.nih.gov/63751180R>]
  6. Crabb, Riley H. "Three Great Aquarian Age Healers: Lang, Pancoast, White" Vista, Calif.: BSRF, 1968. Print. [Reprints available from BSRF in our classic xerographic format: <#B0083, "Three Great Aquarian Age Healers">]