General - A natural phenomenon in the form of an arc of 7 colours in the sky. The rainbow is woven into many cultures with many different interpretations. (1) One story from Africa says that, if one cuts the rainbow in half, one half goes up into the heavens while the other half goes down into the earth, making a hole that leads to an underworld paradise. (2) Christians liken the seven colours to the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost. (3) The general belief in Europe is that a pot of gold lies at the rainbow's end, treasure which was placed there by an angel which can be claimed only by a naked man. In Brittany, the rainbow is spoken of as a snake with a bull's head. Others say that any person passing under a rainbow will be changed to the opposite sex. (4) In Hebrew tradition, the rainbow symbolises god's covenant with Israel, rebirth, etc. (5) In Inuit lore, the rainbow is a bow wielded by the thunder-god. (6) The Irish regard the rainbow as Lugh's sling. (7) In Japan it is a bridge, the one on which Izanagi and Izanami stood when dipping the spear into the primaeval waters to create land. (8) In Malaya, people avoid the places where the rainbow touches the earth, believing them to be unhealthy but they also believe, as do many others, that treasure is to be found there. (9) The Mongols regard the arc of the rainbow as the bow of a great hero from which he fires shafts of lightning. (10) In Norse mythology, the rainbow is the Bifrost Bridge which leads from Niflheim to Asgard. This bridge is guarded by Heimdall and will be destroyed by the pounding footsteps of the giants crossing it at Ragnarok. (11) Some North American Indian tribes allege that, if one uses the index finger to point to the rainbow, that finger will swell up. Other tribes regard it as the road to the land of the dead. Other tribes say that the rainbow causes drought by preventing rain from falling; that it is a means of transport for the Cloud People or a bridge to some afterworld; that it is a sign of ill-fortune or a shaman who paints himself with the colours of the arc. (12) In Persia, its position in the sky is significant in terms of one's future and the intensity of the colours also plays a part, red indicating war, green wealth and yellow death. (13) The Romans regarded the rainbow as a symbol of Juno's blessing. (14) In Siberia, some tribes regard the rainbow as the hem of god's coat, others say it is the sun's tongue or the bow of the thundergod. (15) In South America, the Arawak say that the rainbow over land brings evil but over the sea it is beneficial. Another story says that the rainbow is a serpent which, when small, was caught by a young girl and kept as a pet which escaped and grew to an enormous size, swallowing people as it travelled all over the country. It was finally killed by a huge flock of birds and went to the sky. In some accounts, known as rainbow.


North American - Wife of Hinum. In some lore, occasionally referred to as Rainbow.
South American - An incarnation of Bochica. On occassion, called Rainbow.

Nearby Myths