Rainbows: A Scientific and a MetaSpiritual Perspective
For hundreds of thousands of years, rainbows and their symbolism have been viewed with a sense of awe, wonder, and astonishment. The shimmering and glistening colors that emanate from the famed ‘bridge of the gods’ have been illuminating the mystical insights of philosophers, metaphysicians, poets, and artists for centuries. We thought we’d take a look at rainbows, from their mythology, to the science that creates them, and finally from a golden MetaSpiritual perspective. Enjoy!
The Rainbow Myth
Mythologically speaking, the ‘rainbow bridge,’ or the ‘shimmering path’ as it is sometimes referenced, is seen as the celestial link between heaven and earth. The rainbow bridge was considered a pathway connecting humankind to the gods, and according to the Biblical account (which was ‘borrowed’ from Babylonian mythology), the rainbow was God’s promise to Noah never to flood the earth again.
However, in Babylonian mythology the Goddess Ishtar used her ethereal rainbow necklace to block God from receiving food offerings from humans, to punish God for sending the Great Flood to destroy her earthly children. In her book The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, author Barbara G. Walker reports that the Biblical account mentioned above omits the Goddess altogether and conceals Ishtar’s intervention on behalf of humankind.
In Norse mythology, Bifröst was the burning rainbow bridge between Midgard (the world) and Asgard (and the land of the gods). The Australian Aboriginal people believe the universe has two fundamental aspects – the physical world in which we live and an ethereal world called Dreamtime which underwrites the physical realm. In Aboriginal mythology, the Rainbow Serpent (one of the oldest life-giving motifs) is in the shape of the rainbow and bridges the physical and non-physical planes.
For some traditional native people including the Navajo and Hopi, the Sunbow* (Whirling Rainbow) is believed to be a sign from the Great Spirit that marks the end of an era on Earth. This arc that resembles a rainbow around the Sun, reminds us to respect and live in harmony with all of the Creator’s creations.
The Science Behind Rainbows
Now here’s the science behind rainbows. Rainbows are created by the diffused refraction of sunlight in water droplets. And the brilliant lit-up colors of the rainbow are created by the sun’s photosphere. While each atom in the photosphere emits light at one quantum frequency, the doppler shifting of the light causes the lines to ‘fuzz or blur’ so that you see essentially a continuous spectrum of light. The strictly correct scientific answer for the number of colors that constitute a rainbow, would then be an infinite number of colors!
Isaac Newton believed there were seven colors in the rainbow. Although he admitted he could not distinguish well between colors, he confessed that because rainbows were special celestial phenomena, they would have to have seven colors to correspond to the number of notes in a musical scale.
The human eye generally perceives six colors in the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. However, many people, including us, see indigo as a separate and legitimate color. In truth, there are many more ‘rainbow colors’ in the infrared and ultraviolet spectrums as well.
Rainbows are formed when water droplets in the atmosphere refract, or bend, sunlight in just the right circumstances and at just the right angles. And you, as the awestruck observer, have to catch them at just the right angle to see them in their radiant rainbow glory.
Rainbows, scientists tell us, don’t have a beginning or end because they are essentially circles in the sky. They only seem to connect with the ground because they extend below the horizon. And since you can’t judge distance accurately from a distance, rainbows seem as if they touch the ground. They seem to touch the ground because they extend below the horizon.
Here’s another piece of scientific trivia. According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, you have to be standing at exactly the right angle (42 degrees) relative to the sun’s position. And it’s at that very specific angle that allows you to see rainbows. That fact also explains why all the rainbow chasing in the world won’t get you to the ‘pot of gold’ – or in the presence of leprechauns!
In fact, as far as scientists are concerned, no two people can see the same rainbow – unless it’s in a photo or in social media. Why? Because the rainbow effect is entirely dependent on your own line of sight. That means that no matter how hard you try, you can never get close enough, theoretically, to see a rainbow’s end – or beginning. (You notice we said theoretically)!
Although most people don’t know it, a fainter secondary rainbow is often present outside the primary bow. Secondary rainbows are caused by a double reflection of sunlight inside each raindrop, and appear at an angle of 50–53°. And, if you’ve noticed, the colors of secondary rainbows are inverted relative to the primary bow. (Neat, huh?).
The dark ribbon of unlit sky lying between the primary and secondary bows is called Alexander’s band, named after Alexander of Aphrodisias, who first described it. He was the most celebrated of the ancient Greek philosophers who wrote commentaries on — and bowed to — Aristotle’s works.
Here’s another interesting fact. The 50-53 degree angle of rainbows is also similar to the angle, or outer slope, of the Great Pyramid, which is approximately 51.85 degrees.
Rainbows, From a MetaSpiritual Perspective
Most of the ancient lure about rainbows sees them as a bridge or connecting link between heaven and earth, between gods and humankind. However, we have a different interpretation, a MetaSpiritual interpretation. Because rainbows float between heaven and earth — touching neither heaven nor earth –we believe they represent our spiritual unfoldment from the inside out and not a top down descension from on high — because rainbows don’t come from ‘up there.’ They depend on our perspective ‘down here.’
The rainbow is mentioned twice in the Bible: in the first book (Genesis 9:13-14), and in the last book (Revelation 4:3; 10:1). We’ve already mentioned the Genesis account. The Revelation account refers back to the Genesis story. Metaphysically, a rainbow represents our seven major etheralized spiritual power centers (chakras, the seven levels of consciousness, the ‘many mansions’ the Christ as Jesus referred to) that must be quickened for us to achieve enlightenment. The ‘pot of gold’ at the end of the rainbow motif is not a material treasure. It represents our super-consciousness or Christ Consciousness, the Philosopher’s Stone, and the Holy Grail.
Most of humankind has sought to find the “pot of gold” at the end of the ‘rainbow’ in order to find health, wealth and happiness. In our opinion, the rainbow’s real promise (kundalini’s promise) and its treasure will not be found in the atmospherics of material pursuits, but in the harmonics of our Indwelling Christ Consciousness.
* The sunbow or whirling rainbow is a natural phenomenon appearing as a full 360-degree rainbow circle in a wide ring around the sun. Native American wisdom keepers and Tibetan monks have similar stories about this phenomenon.
© 2016 Bil and Cher Holton, YourSpiritualPractice.com
Photo Credits (used with permission):
– © Pavelvasenkov | Dreamstime.com
– © Rozenn Leard | Dreamstime.com
– © graphicstock.com – XyW6kB
– © clipart.com
– © dreamstimefree_258219eagle-sunset.jpg[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Photo sent in by Bobby Hull in response to this post:
“Taken as we drove out of the painted desert in AZ…it just touched down on the road in front of us…”
Thanks for sharing, Bobby![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]