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The Legends and Lore Found Over the Rainbow

Updated on July 7, 2011

Rainbow Mythology and Lore

After a cleansing rain, It is an wonderful gift to see a rainbow shining down as if from the heavens above. These colorful prisms of light take on an almost mystical quality that invites contemplation on the historical significance of how ancient cultures defined this awe inspiring phenomena. Here are just a few of the myths, legends and lore that are hiding just over the rainbow...

" My heart leaps up when I behold/ A rainbow in the sky..." ~William Wordsworth


pot of gold
pot of gold

Blessings, Good Fortune and Gold Await At the End of The Rainbow

"Don't miss all the beautiful colors of the rainbow looking for that pot of gold." -unknown

- In the most widely known legend of the rainbow; Irish leprechaun's hid their wealth of gold in a pot that could only be found at the end of the rainbow.

- In some parts of Poland, it was said that the angels kept gold at the rainbows end but that only a naked man could find the treasure.

-In dreams the rainbow symbolizes good news, hope, redemption and the ending of despair. The rainbow can also be a bridge between heaven and earth, between your earthly self and your higher enlightened self.

- Gypsy lore says that dreaming of a brightly colored rainbow means a happy change is coming. If however the colors are dark and dull there will be misfortune in your future.

-The rainbow was once thought to be an ancient sign of peace, safe travel, and good luck as seen on crested on heraldic shields. The proper colors of a heraldic rainbow are gold, red, green and silver.

-In maritime lore, like a sailor's red skies, rainbows at night are said to predict fair weather.

"Be a rainbow in someone else's cloud."

- Maya Angelou

dark rainbow
dark rainbow

The Darker Side of The Rainbow

"It takes both rain and sunshine to make a Rainbow." -unknown

-In Hindu myth, Indra, the god of thunder and war shoots lightning with a bow made out of a rainbow.

- In Central American, the indigenous Sumu people believe that the rainbow is the symbol of the devil.

-In Burmese mythology, the rainbow is a painted demon that eats children.

-In one African myth the rainbow is thought of as a giant snake that comes out after the rain to eat; and if you run into him you will be devoured.

jesus rainbow
jesus rainbow

Cultural and Religious Aspects of The Rainbow

The rainbow of God's promises is always above the trials and storms of life. ~ Charles Shepson

Religious History:

-In the Old Testament as a gesture of mercy to mankind after the Flood, God shows Noah a glorious rainbow. Its seven colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet, symbolizes the completion of the Seven Sacraments, and the Sign of the Covenant.

"God said, 'Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my rainbow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth." (Genesis 9:12-13)

Cultural Beliefs:

-In Greek mythology the rainbow was considered to be a path used by the goddess and messenger Iris between earth and heaven. She would ride on the rainbow to and from earth in her colorful robes.

-The Chinese believed that the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by Goddess Nuwa using stones of five different colors.

- In Croatia the rainbow is God's throne

- In Greenland the rainbow is the hem of God's garments.

- In Africa the rainbow encircles the earth and is a guardian to heaven.

- In German mythology the rainbow is a bowl God used to hold his paints while he was coloring the birds

- In Buddhist myth, the rainbow is the highest state before Nirvana. And is thought by some to be the halo around the Buddha's head.

- The Incas believed that rainbows were a gift from the sun god


Did you learn something new today?

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    • beaworkathomemom profile image

      beaworkathomemom 5 years ago

      This is very interesting.

    • lclchors profile image

      lclchors 5 years ago

      I learned a lot thanks

    • profile image

      wayne_luvinlife 6 years ago

      "be a rainbow in some one else's cloud" I really like that! very uplifting lens