The Green Sheaf – Synesthesia

Definition: Synesthesia or synaesthesia is a perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. People who report a lifelong history of such experiences are known as synesthetes.

Through Harleigh’s presentation on The Green Sheaf, I learned what Synesthesia is. I find this concept fascinating. I’m particularly intrigued by the way that synesthesia has shaped the art within the Green Sheaf as the editor experienced the condition. Mysticism is already a fantastical concept shaped by intangible senses, and the level of synesthesia involved adds to the mystic quality of the magazine, especially when considering the feelings emoted by colour symbolism.

For example, in this illustration by Smith, the colours are used to evoke feelings and symbolism within the subject matter. The purple symbolizes royalty which adds a dimension of importance to the reverential figures, especially considering they’re hovering.

Illustration by Pamela Colman Smith, following a written piece also by Smith.


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