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Emails to my Therapist

Pink Cloud of the Divine?


Dear Nicholas, I was lying on the floor staring out the hall window– the spot where we get the best phone reception– involved in conversation about a friend who is seriously ill. While I watched, a pink cloud filled half the window frame, covering a huge expanse of sky. Pink light? I moved around to look at it from various angles. It was not a trick of the window glass. The cloud was pink. My first thought: God. My second thought: come on, Peggy, God is not a pink cloud.

Not My First Pink Cloud

But I have a little bit of history with God and pink light.

In my first novel, Revelation the main character is a minister who hears the voice of God, which turns out to be a disruptive experience for him. God is not what he had expected or imagined. He remembers scornfully and wistfully his childhood image of God as “a column of pink light.”

I had never at the time I wrote this had any thoughts myself of God appearing as pink light. The idea emerged from the character whose story I was writing.

Pink and Gold and Russet Rainbow

Later I ran across a thrift-shop print by an artist I’d long liked, Jean-Michel Folon, who did many New Yorker covers and who favored images like rainbows and hearts without being sentimental. In much of his work, he managed to be an unusual combination, as  a whimsical and tender-hearted surrealist.

God pink cloud

Some work by Folon

The print that hangs–well, actually leans against a filing cabinet– in my office shows a rainbow of gold, pink, russet, red coming to rest on a man nearly obscured by the colors. Not entirely pink and not a cloud, but still…I think of that man as Swain, the minister in my novel. It’s nice for me to see him there in the light.

Next chapter in my pink-light history occurred years later in Virginia Beach, Virginia at the holistic New Age style store Heritage Natural Market. This beach is home to psychic and faith-healer Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment and the business was begun fifty years ago initially to sell ingredients that Cayce’s readings recommended. It grew into a New Age department store and services center.


Heritage store website

Some friends and I were in that store one afternoon when a woman was doing aura photographs, which are supposed to show a person’s personality through the colors in the aura around them. In this process, the sitter puts their hands on  biofeedback receptors, which are said to measure the person’s electromagnetic field and translate the information into colors that reveal personality traits. The photo of the person is superimposed with the image of the colors.

So it’s a machine that purports to tell me about myself. How could I resist?

The Floating Pink Wisp

When I sat down for the picture-taking, I thought, “Okay, God, how about you show up in this picture, too?”

Minutes later I took a look at myself enveloped in color. It was mostly blue and white with a block of orange in one corner. And there was a wide trailing wisp of pink across the picture. The photographer pointed to the pink and said, “What did you do, summon God?”

Intellectually, I don’t believe that God shows up as pink vapor. But I have to say I was pleased. Even though interpretations of the colors are hardly consistent.

Other sources define pink as meaning gentle, romantic, artistic, and aware of God as love; blue as sensitive, solitary, peaceful, and highly verbal; orange as creative, sensual, happy. It certainly is notable how flattering all these colors are; but as I understand it, the “lower vibrations” or downside of the colors is, for example, when gentle is passive and romantic is murderously possessive, etc. I don’t know how you tell if the colors in the pictures have low vibes.

A Stubborn Woman Who Just Came from Yoga Class

The woman in the store said it all somewhat differently: pink is God, orange is stubborn, and blue and white “looks like you just came from a yoga class.”

In any event, I’ve never forgotten that streak of pink floating across the photo.

A piece of the rainbow in my office


And then today, in the midst of a seriously troubling conversation, the window half-filled with a pink cloud. The other half was bright blue and white. It wasn’t sunset and it wasn’t dawn. It was a little after 1 p.m. and it hung there pink in the window for about a half an hour.

Not the one, but a lot like it

So for the first time, I did the ultimate in spiritual seeking, I Googled “God pink cloud light divine.” Turns out it’s not just me.  I found a book titled God Is A Pink Cloud and another Is God Pink? “Pink cloud” is also a term used by some in 12-step programs to describe the initial euphoria when an addict takes the step “Let go and let God.” And now that I think about it there are a lot of Jesus and angel pictures that are heavy on pink. Maybe pink clouds are a universal archetypal image. I didn’t realize it.

Again I can’t say I believe that God is or that God sends pink streaks or pink clouds. Feels too magical and sentimental and somehow juvenile.

However, I felt cheered, also intrigued, this afternoon by the sight. I see no reason to ever turn those reactions away.



god pink cloud






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  • Judy Carrino
    October 20, 2020 at 2:57 pm Reply

    Very interesting. The Heritage Store is one of my most favorite places. Too bad it had to move from its long time location. Last time we were in Va. Beach, we couldn’t find it. I have seen a few special events there, but not the type you did. More’s the pity.

    • Peggy Payne
      October 20, 2020 at 3:02 pm Reply

      I didn’t realize it had moved, Judy. For me another trip to Virginia Beach is long overdue. I hope Heritage is weathering the lockdown okay.

  • October 20, 2020 at 3:48 pm Reply

    Peggy, I’m glad to be reminded of that novel of yours, which I read 25 or so years ago. And “auras” (did you use that word?) are intriguing. A novelist whose works I have edited for publication imagines that serial killers can be spotted by the combination of colors in THEIR auras….

    And there may have been some special color in my distant view that stormy afternoon in the countryside of the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts that summer of 1965 when I “called on God” and decided to matriculate in a divinity school….Unfortunately (actually, I think fortunately), I couldn’t find any colors in divinity school (in New College of the University of Edinburgh) nor in any church thereafter (I looked for many years), so I have stopped visiting churches (except to gawk at architecture). But I still visit countrysides, and the natural light is always beautiful.

    • Peggy Payne
      October 20, 2020 at 4:22 pm Reply

      I think there’s likely something to the fascinating aura business, Morris, though I have my doubts about what the photos reveal. Once after I gave a talk I was told I was surrounded by orange (which might have been the sum of the bright colors I was wearing) and more than once lying on the sofa I’ve seen an orange aura around my feet. Don’t know what to make of any of that, but we are electric creatures.

      Nice moment you had in the Berkshire Hills. There aren’t many of those. I also once had a brief yearning for div school, but didn’t act on it as you did. Again, that decision was fortunate for me. I’d last only minutes as a pastor if I were even given the chance.

  • Lee Grohse
    October 27, 2020 at 3:18 am Reply

    Ah, I beg to differ. I have it on direct, Teresa-of-Avila-grade, transcendent (if fleeting) communication that God is a bright, peacock blue.

    • Peggy Payne
      October 27, 2020 at 3:35 am Reply

      And some say cobalt blue. But I’d be glad to hear from Teresa of Avila, however fleetingly.

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