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Rainbow symbolism: What is the spiritual meaning of rainbows?

Rainbow symbolism: What is the spiritual meaning of rainbows?

Rainbows occur naturally after the rain. As the light passes through the droplets of water, it refracts and exposes the seven colors of white light.

But what’s interesting is that rainbows don’t form all the time when the storm or rain is over. Hence, its manifestation comes with a message represented by established symbols.

When you see a rainbow, it usually means that good things are coming around. It symbolizes positive events such as the fulfillment of a promise, new blessings on the way, and another chance for a better life or relationship.

The arch formed by the rainbow, along with its vibrant color signify the unwavering promise of God to leave you out of trouble.

While it is calming to see a rainbow, especially near the grey clouds, recognizing its message is even more fascinating. 

What Does a Rainbow Symbolize?

A rainbow symbolizes different things depending on where you are in your life. But to get a clear understanding of the spiritual message behind a rainbow, it is essential to know when and how rainbows occur.

For example, as rainbows can only occur with the presence of light, it is often linked to the guidance coming from the divine.

If you see a rainbow, it could mean that a promise is yet to be fulfilled, giving you hope and a brand-new start. To provide you with more clarity on these meanings of the rainbow, check out the following.

1.   Good Luck

In many cultures and beliefs, rainbows symbolize prosperity and fertility. However, one particular belief links rainbows with gold. That’s right. We’re talking about a Celtic folklore, where a leprechaun hides a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The pot of gold represents a gift of good luck. It is also assumed as the gift of a new life, naturally, in the form of offspring or second chances.

2.   Hope and New Beginnings

If you are experiencing an unfortunate or less pleasurable episode in your life, seeing a rainbow can signify that good things are about to come, and the situation will turn around.

One of the reasons why a rainbow catches anyone’s attention is that it appears along with a dark storm. The vibrant colors are reminders that there is always something good that can come out of a bad situation.

3.   Peace

There’s a rainbow after the rain – that’s a common saying that suggests peace after a war. The appearance of a rainbow symbolizes that conflict is over and order is about to unfold. 

If you are troubled and have been fighting with someone for a long time, seeing a rainbow is a perfect reminder that it is never too late for peace to ensue.

4.   Death

In some cultures, a rainbow symbolizes death, specifically the transition to the spiritual realm. Thus, rainbows are perceived as bridges to the afterlife.

Hence, when war broke out in the earlier history, and a rainbow appeared, it meant that fallen soldiers were moving out of the physical world.

What Does The Rainbow Mean in Christianity

For christians there is plenty of biblical reference and so there is a strong rainbow meaning spiritually in the religion.

But, as the Old Testament shares a lot of narratives with other Abrahamic religions, it’s safe to say that the rainbow has a familiar manifestation in Judaism and Islam.

The flood narrative in the book Genesis wherein a rainbow appeared at the end, covers the story of Noah. 

In the story, the great flood lasted for weeks, and Noah, together with his family and selected animals, was kept safe in the ark.

After the nonstop rain was over, one of the first things they saw outside the ark was a rainbow. Based on the narrative, God created the rainbow in the sky to reassure humanity that no flood will ever destroy the earth again.

Simply put, rainbows in Christianity symbolize promise and mercy. It is a physical reminder of God’s covenant and faithfulness to His word.

Rainbows in Buddhism

Buddhists have an interesting take on the meaning and symbolism of rainbows. Their belief focuses more on the colors rather than the form.

In Buddhism, before Nirvana (the state of enlightenment and freedom from rebirth) is achieved, a person must attain the attributes associated with each color of the rainbow body.

Once all the colors are realized, the highest form of meditation wherein matter transitions into pure light can be experienced.

What Does Rainbow Mean in Different Cultures

We may not see rainbows every day, but their existence has been witnessed and widely recognized worldwide. As a result, cultures associate several beliefs with rainbows. But it is interesting to know that most cultures share similar spiritual connections with rainbows.

For one, the rainbow’s bridge-arch is widely considered a link and even gateway or portal to the spiritual world. Various culture has different takes on what waits at the end of the rainbow.

Others see it as a call from the light, similar to how moths are drawn to the light.

Rainbows in Norse Mythology

In Norse mythology, a rainbow is believed to be the bridge from Earth to Asgard, the home of the gods. It is referred to as Bifrost and is guarded by Heimdall, the watchman.

Although the belief lies in mythology, rainbows are still highly associated as a gateway to another world.

Rainbows in Celtic Mythology

We often hear about the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. This idea was widely popularized by Celtic lore.  

Back in ancient times, Celtic druids perceived the rainbow as a symbol of feminine powers. It is referred to as the curve of the sky or kambonemos.

A curve in Celtic wisdom is associated with femininity as it closely links to the shape of the belly during pregnancy.

As a result, rainbows are considered a symbol of prosperity and fertility. In fact, it is believed that conception and successful pregnancy will be more successful once done under a rainbow.

Rainbows in Greek Mythology

In ancient Greek culture, the rainbow was personified by the goddess Iris. She was a messenger with gold wings.

As the goddess of the rainbow, she connected the sea and the sky.

This connection is often considered a marriage between heaven and the earth primarily because of its seven colors. To point out, the number seven is the sum of numbers three and four. Three symbolizes heaven, and four represents earth.

Rainbows in Native American Culture

The Native American Navajo tribe has a different interpretation and wisdom around rainbows. Instead of seeing the rainbow as a bridge, they view it as a multi-colored spirit serpent that only the brave get to ride.

Once the serpent is tamed and ridden, it will bring you to the spiritual realm, where you will receive spiritual guidance. The entire process is a tribal initiation considered to be designed by the Great Spirit. 

Rainbows in Chinese Culture

Just like the Native Americans, the Chinese consider rainbows as the manifestation of a spirit animal. In this case, the rainbow is drawn by a double-headed dragon acting as the mediator between heaven and earth.

One head hears out the prayers from the earth and intercedes by relaying them to the other head that points to heaven.

This mythology is often associated with the general symbolism of rainbows for hope and faith.

Rainbows in Japanese Culture

A Japanese myth has mentioned the rainbow as a floating celestial bridge that allowed the divine ancestors to descend from heaven to earth and form land from troubled waters.

Hence, a rainbow is treated not just as an essential element in Japanese literature. It also became associated with creation or fertility

Rainbow Dream Meaning

When you dream of a rainbow, brace yourself because it means that you will experience positive changes in your life.

Since rainbows are elusive in nature, appearing randomly and not automatically after rainfall, there is a huge chance that these changes can be unexpected.

Nevertheless, you can expect a sort of magical or spiritual feeling around this transition.

Aside from the excellent gift or positive events coming in your life, dreaming about rainbows is also a reminder to keep in touch with your inner self.

Rainbows can symbolize creativity, productivity, and joy. It may be high time to recognize your strengths and use them to confront issues that hold you back from success.

Spiritual Meaning of Rainbows

There is a deep connection between rainbows and your spirituality.

Dreaming of seeing a rainbow is a reminder to check on your spiritual connection as it could be a significant reason for the unpleasant experiences you have.

You may be overlooking the divine message of hope and positivity that makes you blind from the blessings bestowed upon you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when you see a rainbow in the sky?

When you see a rainbow in the sky, it’s a symbol of fortune and new beginnings after a period of hardship or pain. Just as the rainbow appears after the rain, you will see great things happen in your life too.

What does a double rainbow symbolize?

To see a double rainbow is a call for you to have and hope after dealing with a crisis of faith. Whether spiritually or otherwise, this is a sign to take stock and reestablish your values.


Seeing a rainbow triggers positive feelings. Also, it reminds you of the goodness that is on its way.

Rainbows may be unpredictable, but they do show up in times when you need to see them.

Your spiritual guide will let you pay more attention to the message behind the rainbow, whether it physically manifests or shows in your dreams.

The best thing to do when a rainbow appears is to assess the wellness of your inner self. Then, dwell on the hope of new beginnings and unexpected blessings.