Any youngster subjected to vacation Bible school remembers the story about God sending a rainbow to the world after the Great Flood.
I was enchanted by this idea. I remember hearing my Bible school teacher talking about this magnificent “bow made of light to make the world right.”
In my simple-minded youth, I took this to be synonymous with a big “do-over.” You know…a do-over is when something gets botched, and you get to try again. A foul pitch, missed basketball hoop, or even losing a game of thumb wars could merit a do-over (depending on who you’re playing with).
As a fat kid with a gruesome skin condition and a slight stutter, I wished with all my heart God would grant my life a do-over. I imagined God wrapping me in a big bow of light, and magically turning everything wrong into everything right.
Of course, that didn’t happen, and I was a little crushed when my Science teacher quashed the idea that rainbows were a magical gift-wrapping accessory from God, but actually a product of light refracting off water particles.
As it turns out, do-over’s and the meaning of rainbows aren’t too disparate in symbolism. How so?
Well, rainbows are intrinsically connected to rain or water. Water is symbolic of cleansing and healing. Consider the legendary healing waters that flow from the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. The water of Lourdes has purported to provide miraculous do-over’s by healing the sick. A simpler example is water washing away dirt and debris – that which is soiled is made clean by water. In this respect, the meaning of rainbows addresses themes of: Renewal, cleansing, rebirth and healing.
The “rainbow body” achieved by some Yogi master’s is the highest state of illumination, enlightenment and realization. It is the penultimate level of samsara – a very big deal – and typically achieved at the time of death. This (in my mind) is like a do-over. It is the ultimate clean slate. At the moment of death, the light and energy of the rainbow body eradicates all trace of earthly ties and allows the soul to restart its experience at a whole new level. This Hindu tantric phenomenon is the ultimate do-over and associates the meaning of rainbows with: Transformation, ascension and enlightenment.
We see a global do-over not only in Genesis, but also in the Epic of Gilgamesh. In this account, the Babylonian goddess Ishtar gave the world a do-over by creating a rainbow to restore the earth. Her rainbow also prohibited the god Enlil from ever wreaking more floods or havoc upon the earth because it blocked him from feeding on the offerings placed on earth’s altars.
Numerically, the meaning of rainbows is like a re-start in reality. How? Because the rainbow expresses the number seven in its colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). The number seven in numerology represents a turn-over in our consciousness. It’s because seven is a number of esoteric studies and knowledge. Once a level (known as the seventh level in many secret learning societies) of education has been achieved, the way we perceive the world and our lives changes. In essence, the scholar’s perception is made anew after obtaining a higher metaphysical education. This area of thought implies the meaning of rainbows deals with: Attainment, unification, harmonization, elucidation.
It’s noteworthy that there can’t be a do-over without some sort of fumble preceding it. This implies that the meaning of rainbows is synonymous with grace. Why? Because a do-over is a gift. Rainbow’s and do-over’s happen after a span of trial, tribulation, error or long-suffering takes place.
In essence, the rainbow is a symbol of reprieve – a symbol of hope and promise – a gift of grace.
I hope this post prompts your awareness the next time you see a rainbow. Maybe its presence will signify a gift of reprieve, and allow a healing space for you in your life.
Read more about the symbolic meaning of rainbows on the website.
Thanks for reading!
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