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.” This got me thinking about the symbolism of rainbows and starting over.
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 baseball pitch, a missed basketball hoop, or even losing a game of thumb wars could merit a do-over (depending on who you’re playing with). A do-over is an understood call to start over, and rainbows are Nature’s way of encouraging us to refresh, renew and begin again anew.
Rainbows, Hope and Comfort During Times of Loss
At any rate, the rainbow is a symbol of hope and promise for me personally. As a matter of fact, my father recently passed away, and I was awash will the full gamut of emotions dealing with his passing. From sorting out funeral details to figuring out what to bring to a memorial service – I was so overwhelmed. Moreover, I desperately missed my dad. I just wanted to talk to him again. At that moment, a rainbow appeared. It hadn’t even been raining. To me, that rainbow was like a direct message from my dad, as if he was saying, “It’s going to be okay, I promise. I’m here with you.”
I’m sure many of you might have had similar experiences in which the rainbow is a symbol of hope, or a sign of encouragement to start over. In fact, the rainbow is viewed as a sign of renewal in many peoples around the world. The symbolism of rainbows is synonymous with promise in many cultures and it’s a big cultural sign of getting to start over fresh.
Rainbows and Renewal
For instance, 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-overs 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.
Symbolism of Rainbows and Starting Over in Consciousness
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 eradicate all trace of earthly ties and allow 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.
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 start-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 is achieved, we perceive the world in expansive ways. Therefore, the scholar’s perception is now new after obtaining a higher metaphysical education. This area of thought implies the meaning of rainbows deals with: Attainment, unification, harmonization, elucidation.
Other Noteworthy Rainbows and Do-Over’s in Cultural Symbolism
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. This is because it blocked him from feeding on the offerings placed on earth’s altars.
Furthermore, it’s noteworthy that rainbows and starting over don’t happen 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. Rainbows and do-overs happen after a span of trial, tribulation, error, or long-suffering.
The Last Word on Starting Over and the Rainbow as a Symbol of Hope
In essence, the rainbow is a symbol of hope and promise – it is a sign of reprieve, and a gift of grace. This makes the symbolism of rainbows and starting over a profound statement. So the next time you see a rainbow, consider it a gift of letting go and starting fresh.
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.
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