Musings: Rainbow Spirit

The rainbow appearing in the sky is a hopeful sign no matter where you travel around the world. Although I cannot say for sure, I’ve yet to come across any culture with an ominous story to tell about this magical band of colors arching way into the clouds.

Only divine foresight could have placed this symbol for hope and harmony high above us on the canvas of the universal sky to be viewed by all races, yet claimed by none.

I especially like the French word for rainbow — arc en ciel (arc of the sky) — for capturing the uplifting quality that rainbows inspire. Rainbows attract our attention upwards, even if only for a brief moment. It’s hard not to feel a bit lucky when you happen to glimpse a rainbow in the sky, either slowly appearing color by color, or instantly visible in full array. Its appearance may feel like a confirmation that life is good, or a positive omen for future events to come. In the book of Genesis (9:15) in the Bible, it is written that as the waters of the great flood receded, God placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign to Noah and a covenant to humanity that the world would never again be destroyed by water. To this day, rainbows stand as a sign of hope, promise and magical possibilities.

While legends of leprechauns and pots of gold are commonly linked with the good fortune of seeing a rainbow, in my opinion, it’s the reminder that a connection exists between heaven and Earth that really fascinates us most. Only something as magical as a rainbow — invisible one minute, then appearing in the next as a gigantic archway of shimmering, colored light in the sky — could serve as the bridge to heaven itself. Even Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz knew that somehow all her hopes of returning to Kansas and the life she loved lay “somewhere over the rainbow.” Rainbows remind us to keep reaching for the heavens and our dreams — even through the darkness of a passing storm — for what was previously invisible or impossible can suddenly materialize right before our eyes. These are the magical possibilities that rainbows inspire.

There would be no rainbow without each of the individual colors; no one color is more important than the others. Yet science tells us that the source of all these colors is pure white light, with no color whatsoever. Like the rainbow, the variety of races populating Earth is a cavalcade of colors and diversity, all sharing the same invisible spark of white light at its source. The human race is a rainbow nation scattered all over the planet. We can choose to band together and raise ourselves up into something beautiful, or we can continue to clash against each other and never rise above the ground. With every rainbow we see, we are encouraged to keep aspiring towards our higher goal and hope for living in a better world.

Many indigenous cultures of today speak about the rainbow times we are living in and call upon rainbow medicine in their prayers and ceremonies. Prophesized long ago as a time when all the spiritual traditions of the world would need to come together to work with each other for the advancement of humanity, these teachings encourage acceptance and respect for others and their traditions. Perhaps it is no accident that the gay and lesbian communities have adopted the rainbow as their symbol, too. Being targets of so much violent persecution these days, they are greatly in need of the wide embrace that rainbow medicine provides. Displaying rainbow colors in the form of material, ribbons or artwork around your home, office or other personal spaces can be helpful inspirations to encourage open thinking, love and acceptance.

We also find the rainbow right within our bodies. Ancient spiritual traditions describe the chakra system of seven main energy centers located in and around the body. Although the details vary from culture to culture, each of these centers corresponds with one of the seven colors of the rainbow as well as areas of the body. They are often visualized as spinning wheels of colored light. Just as a rainbow could not shine without all seven of its luminous colors in order, the seven chakras of the body work together to maintain overall good health.

Knowing the natural order of these colors helps in creating healing visualizations for each hue to work its magic. Start with red at the base of the spine, the root chakra. Orange is slightly below the naval, and yellow slightly above. Green is the heart chakra, blue lies at the throat. Indigo sits between the brows (also called the third eye), and violet rests at the very top of the head, and even slightly above in the auric area, known as the crown. Sometimes the violet chakra is also visualized as white light since the crown is the gateway for divine energy to enter the body. My fourth grade piano teacher shared a little secret with me about how to remember the colors of rainbow. Just think of a little man named Roy G. Biv, a name not easy to forget, and you will always have the first letters of the rainbow colors in order!

The chakra system governs the flow of healing energy, life force, creativity and transformation in each person. It is the basis for many forms of alternative medicine, and has thousands of years of research behind it and ages of experience to draw upon. Light is a rainbow. Without light we die. Fortunately for us, there are rainbows everywhere. We hope someday to shine as one human rainbow, connected by light and love.

Carol Bedrosian is publisher and editor of Spirit of Change.