Legends and Symbolism

Legends and Symbolism 2018-02-23T01:30:22+00:00

Throughout history, and across all cultures, few things have been as important a source of beliefs, legends, and prophecies as rainbows.

Tibetan Buddhists believe when a rainbow appears, it means either that a respected sage, yogi, or spiritual leader has passed, or that a new spiritual leader will be reincarnated. When lamas held in very high esteem pass, or when a special leader is reincarnated, a rainbow will appear to mark the occasion. Rainbows may also appear to honor the presence of a sacred and important yogi. The rainbow body or rainbow body of light may also appear at the passing of a highly enlightened yogi who may actually disappear into the rainbow body of light.

The Navajo and Hopi prophecy of the whirling rainbow describes how the time will come when people of all races and colors will put aside their differences to come together in love to heal the earth and all her children. The prophecy tells how they will come like a whirling rainbow to bring peace, understanding and healing wherever they go.

Leilani Fuller Stone (“The Cherokee Lady”) identifies The Warriors Of The Rainbow as the keepers of the legends, stories and ancient tribal customs who will be mankind’s key to survival. Their arrival would signify a new day of awakening, of justice, peace and freedom in recognition of the great spirit as echoed by a Native American prophecy.

An ancient Native American legend tells how the colors of the world quarreled with each other, arguing about why they were created and who was the most important. One day, when strong lightning, thunder and rain appeared, the colors huddled together in fear and for comfort. The rain asked the colors to join together across the sky in a bow of color and to live in peace as they were each created for a special purpose. They were told they should do this whenever it rains and this is why Native Americans believe the rainbow is a symbol of hope for tomorrow and a sign that we can all live in peace.

A Norse legend of the Rainbow Bridge says that when you have had a very close connection with a pet that has died, you will be reunited with that animal. When you die, the lost pet will be waiting for you at the rainbow bridge and you will cross over together, completing the ultimate bridging of heaven and earth. Even those without deep religious beliefs like to believe that rainbows can be a sign of following where your heart is leading you, of holding on to hope, allowing yourself to be guided by a higher power to stay on your path, to release expectations, or to confirm that the treasures of the rainbow are there for you.

A Native American myth from the Ojibwe Nation describes how Nanabozho looked at the flowers in his garden and was displeased that they were all an off white color. He decided to paint them different colors. Playful bluebirds dipped themselves in the paint and flew through a waterfall back up to the sky. This left colorful streaks on the sky as the sun was shining on the colors and it created a rainbow.

In Hindu mythology, a rainbow is depicted as an archer’s bow used by Indra, the god of thunder and war, to shoot arrows of lightning.  In the Old Testament story of Noah, the Biblical promise of the rainbow was a sign of God’s mercy, a promise that He would not destroy the earth and would not allow all living creatures to be killed again by a flood. The shamans of Siberia believed they could achieve ascension to the sky spirit world by way of the rainbow. The Irish have a legend that people can find a pot of gold guarded by a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow.

Some people believe rainbows can be a sign that a deceased loved one still exists and is watching over you.

Mayans believed those who survived the rain and fire deluge saw a rainbow in the sky as a sign that their Gods were no longer angry. 

Some Africans believe rainbows exist as a full circle but that only half of it can be seen at any time because the other half lies beneath the horizon.

The Cherokee believe rainbows symbolize the hem of the coat belonging to the sun God. 

Some Native Americans believe rainbows provide a drinking fountain for all the souls of heaven. 

Other Native Americans believe rainbows are a pathway that the Gods use to travel between different realms. 

The Incas believe the rainbow was a gift from their sun God.

Arabians believe a rainbow is a beautiful tapestry that was lovingly woven by the south wind. 

In Greece, the rainbow is believed to be symbolic of the goddess, Iris, who was perpetually dressed in colors and was the bearer of news. 

Peruvians honored the rainbow to such a degree that they remained totally silent while it was visible.