What do rainbows symbolise?

Last week here in Sydney, Australia, we were treated to one of the most beautiful double rainbows anyone could ever see. I work right in the city, near Central Station, in a big, pink, glass tower with thousands of other worker bees. The company I work for was having a farewell party, and just as the speeches had concluded, two giant rainbows could be seen arching across the sky.

So what do rainbows mean? Here, I’ll have a look at the various meanings they’ve been given.

The aura of rainbows

You may have heard of the circle of coloured light that surrounds us all, sometimes known as an aura. The theory is that the auras of people can be interpreted, and the character (or even the future) of that person can be seen, and things about them and their personality understood.

Wikipedia says, “In parapsychology and spiritual practice, an aura is a field of subtle, luminous radiation surrounding a person or object like the halo in religious art.” Sometimes, “The depiction of an aura connotes a person of particular power or holiness.”

Mythological rainbows

In Irish mythology, the mythical earth faeries, Leprechauns, hid their gold at the end of the rainbow. Rainbows were seen to be very good luck, and travellers could follow rainbows to the end to seek out these mythical pots of gold.

However, according to Bella Terreno, you should be wary of being fooled by this trick of the leprechauns. “There really is no end to a rainbow,” the site explains. “Rainbows are actually full circles, except the Earth itself gets in the way of us seeing the complete circle. As humans, our vision is limited to only as far as the horizon.”


A recent rainbow in Sydney, Australia

Biblical rainbows

There are many mentions of rainbows in the Bible, including during Genesis and the story of Noah. After God flooded the world, he made a promise to Man that he would never again destroy the world, and sent a rainbow to mark this promise.

There are other mentions of the rainbow in the Bible, including in Revelation. These ‘bows’ appear to foretell “the end of man’s rule on the earth and the coming of Jesus to set up his Kingdom,” according to Bible Study.org.

(Revelation 4:1, 3) 1. “After these things I looked, and behold, a door opened in heaven. 3. And He who was sitting was in appearance like a jasper stone and a sardius stone; and a rainbow was around the throne.”


Another view of the magic Sydney rainbow

Rainbows in Buddhism

According to What’s Your Sign, one of the most interesting stories about rainbows comes from both Hindu and Buddhist Tantra. “Those who have surpassed their earthly ties are in a position to achieve the highest meditative state, and experience the ‘rainbow body’,” the site explain. “This has also been described as a ‘body of light’ when ultimate ascension has been reached.”

As humans we have an earthly, mortal body, but there are many religions that believe that we build up other etheric bodies as well, through correct practice and meditation, amongst other things.


The chakras

Many people who have studied meditation have heard of the seven coloured spheres in our bodies called the chakras. These energy points represent different parts of the body and have characteristics. In order to have our bodies and minds functioning and flowing correctly, these must all be in alignment.

Your seven charkas start at the root, or base chakra, which is red in colour. They move steadily from your sacral (orange), solar plexus (yellow), heart (green), throat (blue), third eye (purple) and finally to our crown chakra (indigo). For a full description of the chakras, head to Mind Body Green.


Rainbows in modern culture – LGTBI

Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Bisexual, Intersex. The Rainbow is now a symbol of this group of groups. The Gay Pride Flag (sometimes known as the LGBT Flag) was designed in 1978 and has been growing in popularity ever since.

Some sources suggest that the artist who created the flag took influence from the song ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, as Judy Garland was one of the first true gay icons. Now the flag is a source of pride for many in the gay community. Read about its history here.


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