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The Myth, Symbolism and Lure of the Rainbow

Apologies that this is almost two days late! I have some dear friends visiting from the Caribbean part of the country and they arrived Monday before I had put the finishing touches on this post. But they brought homemade guava jelly and a bag full of snake fruit (!!!), which apparently is a thing.

But hey! I'm trying new things this week including recording! If you'd like to have me read this post to you while you do the dishes or get dinner going, just click on the player below! This post clocks in at about 90 seconds. Let me know if you like it and maybe I'll get fancy with a real microphone and maybe some intro/outro music and ish. ;)

Every now and again I get caught on something and become nearly obsessed with it. The journalist in me just itches to dig deep and bring up little known but relevant facts. Lately, the object of my affection has been rainbows.

In pop culture the rainbow is heralded as either a symbol of LGBT rights or as a happy go-lucky (and isn't this almost ironic because I'm a grown ass man/woman and rainbows are for little girls) symbol emblazoned on pins and shirts and dyed into hair or skin.

But what is a rainbow really?

To most people rainbows symbolize a promise, a fresh start and a cleansing purity after a storm/hardship.

What I've discovered in my research is that rainbows are a bridge between the earthly realm and the realm of the heavens. Rainbows serve as a a reminder that communication between heaven and earth is always present and doesn't have to be shrouded in layers of ceremony and hierarchy. There are many different myths and symbolic meanings ascribed to rainbows and yet most of them have something in common.

In one Babylonian myth, Ishtar placed the rainbow in the sky to stop the Heavenly Father from receiving the sacrifices made for him on earth as punishment for sending the Great Flood to destroy her children. Christianity preserves this myth, in part, in the Old Testament wherein God places his rainbow in the sky as a promise to never again flood the earth. There is, of course, no mention of Ishtar.

Now let's go where this whole rainbow obsession started for me:  the Spanish word for a rainbow. Arco iris -- arc of Iris.

Who is Iris?

Iris is a greek demigoddess and messenger. She dashes about delivering the messages of the gods, appearing and disappearing as quickly and as majestically as her call sign.

Iris has no specific myths or temples dedicated to her and is associated with the servant archetype. She does the bidding of the gods and goddesses who outrank her, delivering their messages, feeding them nectar and collecting solemn oaths. She is the bridge between the worlds, a rainbow, personified.

When you see a rainbow, what message could the gods be bringing you?

The Seven Colors

The seven colors of the rainbow correlate with the seven colors of the body's main chakra system and it is believed that following both will lead to enlightenment. A journey through the chakras is akin to a journey through the rainbow.

The seven colors of the rainbow (and the chakras) also relate to the seven veils of Maya, or the seven veils of illusion that one must strip away, like Salome in the dance of the seven veils, to reach the Truth. Or perhaps like Isis who stripped away her seven garments at the seven gates of the underworld in her quest to bring her beloved back from the dead: Unconditional Love.

Taste the Rainbow,



Hey all! Last week I was featured on Half Asleep Studio as an Inspiring Entrepreneur! Head over to Natalie's blog to read about a week in my life as an entrepreneur and to also check out Natalie's serious design skills.

Image Sources:

Noah Sacrifices After The Flood by Joseph Anton Koch

Image of Iris

Image of rainbow

Image of Darla/inspiring entrepreneur created by Half Asleep Studio