The Rainbow - Myth, Symbol and Meaning

Our wonderful NHS has adopted the symbol of the rainbow during the Covid19 pandemic. 

The rainbow in this instance is a universal symbol of support, hope and peace.  How wonderful it is to see the drawings displayed in the windows of homes around the country.

The symbol of the rainbow has long been used around the world; as a mythological bridge connecting the earthly realms with heaven and the gods, a vehicle for Hindu deities to pass along the coloured bands during life and after.

In Norse mythology, Bifrost is the rainbow bridge that leads from earth to the home of the gods; only the gods could cross the bridge. After a great battle, the bridge shattered, the gods and those on earth perished under the sea.  Earth rose from the sea and life began once more.

In the Hindu religion, the goddess Maya is said to have created the world from seven rainbow coloured veils. In Sanskrit, Maya means magic or illusion.  The veils refers to the many perspectives of belief or memory of who you are.

In Japan, the rainbow is the bridge humans descend to earth.

In Greek mythology, Goddess of the Rainbow is Iris. She is the messenger between heaven and earth.

For Buddhists, upon reaching the rainbow, all desires and individual consciousness dissolve before reaching the final step, Nirvana.

In Maori mythology the rainbow usually appears and represents omens or times of war.

Native Americans; the Cherokee believe the rainbow forms the hems of the sun’s coat.

The Celts believe in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; representing spiritual renewal and fulfilment.

In Australia, the rainbow serpent is the creator of all beings and the world.

When Noah saved the animals from a great flood, a rainbow appeared.

The Whirling Rainbow prophecy predicts the day will come bringing harmony to all races, colour and creed.  Joining together in love, unity to heal humanity and the world.  Like a whirling rainbow bringing healing, understanding and regeneration. There will be a flourishing of all.

Carl Jung identified the ‘pot of gold’ to be the result of inner transformation.

In Turkish, rainbow means bridge, many myths predict that as Domesday approaches the rainbow bridge will be destroyed, cutting the connection between heaven and earth.

The chakras follow the colour of the rainbow and represent ‘wheels’ of energy within the subtle body. Free flowing energy between the 7 rainbow coloured chakras brings harmony to mind-body-spirit.

Seven colours of the rainbow, 7 chakras, 7 days of the week, 7 deadly sins, 7 wonders of the world and lucky 7 the jackpot number.


Seven is the number of completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual). It derives much of its meaning from being tied directly to God's creation of all things.

In many myths, the number 7 is used for both good and bad events.

Certainly it is clear, the rainbow is a bridge, a vehicle, a veil, a communication highway, a sign of war.  It brings the colour of the sun’s rays, renewal, new beginnings and regeneration.

Maybe the rainbow is a metaphor for re-establishing our own consciousness, renewing ourselves and preserving the planet.


Helen Johnstone is a therapist and yoga teacher who focuses on the mind-body-spirit connection. 

Helen Johnstone yoga teacher and therapist

Her work helping people with trauma and anxiety began through her training as a hypnotherapist.  Travelling to India, she became a certified Yoga Teacher at Ashiyana and has since offered private classes and retreats that incorporate her work psychologically with movement, mantra, breath and meditation.

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