The Rainbow


Alaskan Rainbow   photo: Joseph Rolph 2005

What are a "rainbows" varied meanings?       What can be some of the varied referents assigned to this sign?



What Constitutes a Rainbow?





1.  suspended water molecules, e.g., raindrops, in the air



2.  angle of light, e.g., sun, interacting with water molecules



3.  viewing the resulting interaction - a physical perception, i.e., positioning of eyes relative to the interactions with light and water molecules



4.  recognizing and assigning meaning to the interaction - a mental conceptualization, i.e., creating a culturally meaningful experience



Is not a "rainbow" a transitory intersection composed of all those participating (water, light, angle, your perception, your conception, and ??), a momentary event always in the making?


And we ask: how fundamentally different is a "rainbow" from a "tree" or forest of trees, or any other phenomena, other than a "rainbow" is on a rather rapid time scale, while the "tree" is on a slower time scale?

Noah builds an alter to God after the flood, and receives a sign from God of their covenant.    Painting: Joseph Koch 1803


A symbol can be a "shining through of the sacred," an hierophany, a "swirling."

the transitory confluence, the convergence of water, light, angle, your perception, your conception, and God


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