Last Updated on October 3, 2023
No matter how many times we see one, it always feels pretty surreal, spotting an arch of perfectly-lined colors in the sky above us.
A rainbow truly is a magical sight, no matter how old we get. They are beautiful and glorious, no matter how gloomy the weather may be. There is nothing quite like marveling at their beauty as they move across the sky.
For some, the rainbow is a symbol of hope for all those who have lost their way and are looking for answers. For others, it’s a reminder that there is still good out there, even if things look bleak and hopeless right now.
In this article, we are going to be looking deeper at the natural phenomenon that is the rainbow, as well as discussing the meanings behind them, and each individual color that makes them up.
Let’s get into it.
The Rainbow: A Natural Phenomenon
Despite the fact that they are fairly common to spot in the sky, many people still don’t know how rainbows form, or why they appear. It is always a magical sight to see so many colors in the sky above us, no matter what age we may be.
So, what is a rainbow?
Well, rainbows occur when sunlight passes through water droplets suspended in air. This causes light to be refracted (bent) and split into its component colors.
Each color has a different angle at which it reflects off the droplet’s surface. When these rays meet again on the opposite side of the droplet, they combine to create the colorful spectrum of light known as a rainbow.
The rainbow is not just a pretty sight: it can also have important scientific implications for our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere.
Raindrops contain tiny particles called aerosols that scatter light. These aerosols affect the way that light travels through the atmosphere, and this scattering changes with altitude.
By measuring the amount of scattered light from a rainbow, scientists can determine the height of the cloud where it forms.
Rainbows can also help predict weather patterns. For example, if you look up at a clear night sky, you’ll notice that the sun appears to set below the horizon.
That’s because the sun is actually setting behind some clouds that block your view. If you wait until the next day, however, you will find out that the sun was actually setting over the ocean!
This happens because the sun sets further away than you think. As the sun sinks lower in the sky, it takes longer for its light to reach the ground due to atmospheric absorption.
So, by looking at the position of the sun relative to the horizon, you can tell whether there are any clouds between you and the sun.
The Meaning Of A Rainbow
The symbol of the rainbow holds several meanings and connotations throughout the world. Each religion and culture has different beliefs on what the rainbow means, although most of the beliefs are fairly similar.
The Meaning Of The Rainbow In Different Religions
Throughout most religions, the rainbow is considered to be a creation of God, holding a higher purpose and meaning.
In the bible, it is written that God created the rainbow after he had destroyed the earth during a flood. He told Noah to build an ark, and then flooded the earth, destroying everything that was left.
The only survivors were Noah, his family, and two of each animal that had previously existed on the earth.
God created the rainbow to symbolize hope, and to promise that there would ‘never again be a flood to destroy all life’. The rainbow, in this context, also represents sin, and as long as a rainbow is visible, people on earth are still sinning.
In Hinduism, it is said that Indra, the king of Svarga, used the rainbow as an archer’s bow that shot a lightning bolt as an arrow. In this interpretation, the rainbow is known as ‘Indra’s bow’.
It is believed that the rainbow represents the end of winter and the beginning of spring.
In Buddhism, the rainbow is associated with a person’s body. It is believed that before Nirvana can be achieved, you must become familiar with the colors of the rainbow body.
By practicing this meditation method, the body will transform into five different colored lights. These colors are red, yellow, green, blue, and white.
The Meaning Of The Rainbow In Different Cultures
Many cultures, both mythical and modern, have their own interpretations of the rainbow. Some believe that rainbows are caused by angels or fairies. Others believe that rainbows are a sign of good luck.
Many agree, however, that the rainbow is a gateway between our world and another.
Celtic mythology states that the rainbow is a sign of fertility, due to it being curved and shaped like a pregnant belly. It is believed that conception is more likely to happen under a full rainbow.
The myth of finding a pot at the end of a rainbow is also believed to have stemmed from Celtic lore.
In Greek mythology, a goddess named Iris was considered to be the personification of the rainbow. She was also believed to have been a messenger from the Gods.
According to Norse mythology, the rainbow is a bridge between Midgard (our earth) and Asgard (the world of the Gods). The name for this bridge is Bifröst, and it is guarded by Heimdall, a God who watches over the gates of Asgard.
The Rainbow In The LGBTQ+ Community
For those that identify themselves within the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) community, the colors of the rainbow are associated with pride, love, and acceptance.
It is common for many members of the LGBT+ community to wear badges, pins, bracelets, etc., that contain the colors of the rainbow. This is due to the LGBT flag bearing these same colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
The LGBTQ+ flag was first adopted in 1978, and has since gained popularity. Since its creation, the flag has gained recognition across the world, becoming a symbol of equality and diversity.
Rainbow flags are often found hanging up in businesses that support the LGBT+ community. Many communities carry and display rainbow flags throughout Pride Month (June) every year.
Additionally, many cities organize parades to celebrate the LGBT+ community during Pride month.
The symbol of the LGBT community, prior to 1978, was a pink colored triangle, which was originally used by Nazis to identify homosexuals in concentration camps.
This symbol was eventually reclaimed by members of the LGBT community to be used in a positive, inspiring manner.
This changed when Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician to be elected to public office, suggested that artist/designer Gilbert Baker create a new symbol for the gay community. Baker was responsible for creating the rainbow flag in 1978.
It has never been officially confirmed why Baker chose rainbow colors for the flag, although it is speculated that he was inspired by Judy Garland’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, due to her being one of the original gay icons.
It was also said that he was inspired by the ‘hippie movement of the sixties’, as well as designs that were used all the way back in Ancient Egypt.
The flag became popular following the assassination of Milk, and continued to be vastly accepted by the LGBT community. Today, the rainbow flag is widely recognized amongst the LGBTQ+ community, and serves as an important symbol of pride.
What It Means To Dream About Rainbows
There are many interpretations of what it means to see a rainbow in a dream. The representation is almost always positive, meaning that something is about to change for the better in your conscious life.
Rainbows symbolize happiness and creativity, but also unexpected occurrences. If you dream about seeing a rainbow, you may find yourself experiencing some kind of surprise.
This could mean that you’ll be surprised by someone else’s actions, or that you’ll discover something new about yourself.
If you dream about a rainbow, you might be thinking about how much you want to express your feelings to others. You may feel like you need to let go of old habits and start fresh.
The Seven Colors Of The Rainbow
There are seven colors that make up the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. These colors are sometimes remembered through the abbreviation, ‘ROY G. BIV’.
Each of the seven colors hold special meanings, as well as holding the ability to have different physical and mental effects on a person.
Each color also represents a colored chakra in the human body, according to Tantra, traditions held within Hinduism and Buddhism.
The chakra system is a belief system that holds that each part of the body corresponds with an energy center called a chakra. Energy flows along these centers, giving them power over our mind-body connection.
In this context, the rainbow contains the energy from all seven chakras, and its colors correspond to each of those energies. Each color can give you insight into different parts of your personality that you aren’t aware of.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of the seven colors of the rainbow, and their different meanings and interpretations.
Colors of Rainbow – Red
The first color of the rainbow is red.
Red is one of the three primary colors in traditional color theory, and is the first color that is perceived by the human eye, following black and white. It is one of the most dominant colors that exists.
The Meaning Of Red
Red often represents the deepest, darkest emotions that a human can experience, such as passion, anger, and love.
This color radiates an intense energy that can stimulate strong feelings in those who view it. It is typically linked with sexuality, as well as warnings of danger.
Most notably, red is recognized for its connection to fire.
The red chakra is muladhara, or the root chakra. It can be located in the base of the spine, near the tailbone.
Its purpose is to connect us with Earth. When we’re in connection with the ground, we’re able to create stability and trust, which makes us more confident in ourselves and others.
It is akin to our physical desires as human beings, and gives us the desire to survive and thrive.
Colors of Rainbow – Orange
The second color of the rainbow is orange.
Orange is a secondary color, created by combining the primary colors red and yellow. It is a sacred color in most cultures.
The Meaning Of Orange
Orange is a warm, friendly color that is often in connection to joy and happiness. It holds connections to emotions such as optimism and hope.
This is a color that inspires creativity, as well as a longing for youth, and the past.
While people recognize the color orange sometimes for its connection to fire, it is a ‘friendlier’ hue than its parent color, red, and is much less intense to look at.
The orange chakra – also known as the sacral chakra, or the svadhisthana – is located in the lower abdomen, just below the navel. It also surrounds the reproductive organs and the pelvis.
The 2nd chakra of the seven is for inspiring creativity, as well as bringing out our desire to live life to the fullest. It is important to maintain a fully functioning Sacral chakra in order to avoid stress, anxiety, and insecurities.
Colors of Rainbow – Yellow
The third color of the rainbow is yellow.
Yellow is the second primary color, and one of the most luminous colors that exist, if not the most luminous color.
The Meaning Of Yellow
Yellow is for being a cheerful, happy color. It is akin with sunshine, happiness, cheerfulness, and optimism.
Yellow brings good luck, because it represents the sun. In addition, it helps promote health, and increase mental alertness.
However, this color can also represent danger, or a warning.
The 3rd chakra – also known as the solar plexus chakra, or manipura – is located above the navel, in the upper abdomen.
Its function is to inspire confidence, as well as helping us feel safe. This chakra is responsible for creativity, imagination, and intuition. It is akin with the sun, and symbolizes strength, courage, and willpower.
Colors of Rainbow – Green
The fourth color of the rainbow is green.
Green is a secondary color, created by combining the primary colors yellow and blue. It is an extremely common color one can spot throughout nature, due to the production of chlorophyll in plants and algae.
The Meaning Of Green
This is the color that represents health, wealth, and luck. It is a calming color that can clear the mind, and make a person feel at ease within their surroundings.
Green is generally in connection with the earth as a whole, being the color of the grass, leaves, and other forms of nature. Lighter shades tend to give off a peaceful energy.
Additionally, deeper shades of green can represent jealousy and selfishness.
The green chakra is the 4th of the 7, and is also the anahata, or the heart chakra. It can be located in the center of the chest.
This chakra is closely akin to our feelings of love, compassion, and empathy. It is the place where we experience love, and the place where our soul meets with itself. It is also the place where you connect to your higher self, and helps you understand yourself better.
Colors of Rainbow – Blue
The fifth color of the rainbow is blue.
Blue is the final primary color. Blue is a very important color, as it is akin with water, sky, and heaven.
The Meaning Of Blue
The color blue is one of the most relaxing, soothing colors on the spectrum, if not the most relaxing and soothing color.
Blue is the color of spirituality, and deep meditation. It is also in connection with peace, truth, and trust. This is the color of clear skies and open waters, so it’s not a surprise that it can calm people when they are feeling overwhelmed.
On the flip side, blue also has connections to emotions such as depression, sadness, and grief.
The 6th chakra is also the vishuddha, or the throat chakra. It is in the throat, and affects everything in the respiratory system.
The blue chakra is responsible for communication and self-expression. It is the place of inspiration, and it enables us to speak out our truths, and share our knowledge. It is also akin to thoughts, speech, and logic.
Colors of Rainbow – Indigo
The sixth color of the rainbow is indigo.
Indigo is a shade of purple, created by combining the colors blue and purple. Purple is, itself, a secondary color that is a combination of blue and red. Indigo contains greater parts of blue than red, creating a bluer hue compared to other shades of purple.
The Meaning Of Indigo
As a shade of purple, indigo is viewed as a color that represents royalty and majesty. It is often in use to create clothing for those who wish to appear elegant, refined, and sophisticated.
There is also a speculation that it bring about balance in the body, mind, and spirit. Additionally, the color indigo brings clarity, and insight into things beyond what is normally one can see.
The indigo chakra is the penultimate chakra of the 7, and is also famous as the third eye chakra, and the ajna. It is in between the eyebrows, in the center of the forehead.
It is through the indigo chakra that the physical world meets the spiritual world. The third eye opens up to intuition and insight, which allows you to see the bigger picture. It is here that you develop the ability to perceive the true reality of life.
Colors of Rainbow – Violet
The seventh and final color of the rainbow is violet.
Violet is also a shade of purple, created by combining the primary colors blue and red. It is closer to the color purple than the previous shade in the rainbow, indigo, as violet contains equal parts of blue and red, if not containing a little more red.
The Meaning Of Violet
Violet is a deep spiritual color, and many loves it. It inspires creativity and sensitivity, and it conjure feelings of love and peace.
This is a color that is usually the favorite color of those who are imaginative, and perhaps a little quirky. It does not fit ‘inside the box’. It is also a luxurious, royal hue, as it is, after all, a shade of purple.
On the downside, violet can also represent hypersensitivity and timidness.
The final chakra of the 7 is the crown chakra, otherwise known as the sahasrara. It can be located deep inside the skull, connected to the brain.
It is at this point where we connect with the highest level of consciousness. Furthermore, it is here that we experience unconditional love, bliss, and ultimate freedom. This chakra has the ability to strengthen our connection to self, and others.
Fun Facts About Rainbows
Here are some fun facts about rainbows:
- No matter how close you get, you will never be able to reach the ‘end’ of a rainbow. This is because there is no end: a rainbow is just an arc of light that continues forever.
- The longest observed rainbow remained visible in the sky for almost 9 whole hours.
- The word ‘rainbow’ is from the Latin phrase, ‘arcus pluvius‘, which roughly translates to ‘rainy arch’ in English.
- In China, it is a belief by many that a rainbow only contains 5 colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and purple.
- When viewed from a higher perspective, e.g., in a plane, a rainbow can appear as a full, 360° circle rather than a semicircle.
In conclusion, the natural phenomenon that we call a rainbow truly is fascinating, whether you look at each of the colors individually, or view the entirety as a whole. It is one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the rainbow, and each of its seven colors.
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