The rainbow is one of the most beautiful, naturally occurring phenomenons in nature. Scientifically speaking, rainbows appear in the sky when sunlight enters raindrops, causing dispersion and refraction of the light. But rainbows symbolize so much more than just a scientific anomaly.
Rainbows hold deep meaning and significance to the individuals who discover them. People who have suffered a great personal loss, for example, are often deeply and profoundly impacted when they spot a rainbow, especially on an important day or at the time when they need to know they haven’t been forgotten.
And so, because the rainbow is an important symbol, it follows that each of the colors represented in the rainbow also holds important meaning and significance.
Because of the rainbow’s importance across multiple religions and cultural beliefs, the rainbow is packed with symbolism.
Let’s take a look at each of the colors and what they mean.
What Are the Colors of the Rainbow?
When listed, the colors of the rainbow appear in this order:
Sometimes scientists simply refer to this list as ROYGBIV (pronounced Roy G. Biv). Every rainbow you discover in the sky will have each of these colors represented in this order.
But here’s a fun fact: While we only list seven colors in the rainbow, the rainbow is actually made up of over 1 million colors, most of which the human eye cannot see or comprehend. So the rainbow is as mysterious as it is profound.
The Colors of the Rainbow and Their Meanings
Here’s a walkthrough of the seven colors of the rainbow and what each one represents.
Red is listed first because it is the first color in the rainbow’s arc. It also has the longest wavelength of any of the colors represented. It is a color packed with vibrancy and strong emotion.
For Christians, red symbolizes energy and wisdom. For Buddhists and Hindus, red corresponds with the Muladhara chakra, which is grounding.
But even without religious significance, red is a powerful color with strong emotion. It is a heavily pigmented color which naturally links it to strong feelings and emotions. Red is never used to illustrate weakness or subtlety. Instead, it is used in nearly every country and culture to designate danger or to issue a warning.
Red always captures our attention and tells us something important is happening.
Throughout famous literature, red is used to represent passion, hostility, and war. When it comes to roses, for example, red represents the strongest form of love. It is also the color used to represent evil and the devil.
In Japan and China, red is the most revered color of the rainbow, which is why brides in China have traditionally worn red.
The red of the rainbow represents the following:
The second color of the rainbow, orange is a warm, vibrant color. It is typically a happy color that makes people feel friendly and comfortable.
A mix of the colors on either side of it (red and yellow), orange feeds off of both. For instance, the happiness of yellow and the vitality of red combine to make the color orange. According to the chakra system, orange in this context represents the energy often associated with creativity, sexuality, and fertility.
In addition to the chakra system, orange represents creativity and the ability to relax and enjoy life.
But it’s important to understand that not all oranges are created equal.
Burnt orange represents tension and aggression.
Dark orange represents ambition.
Golden orange represents self-control.
Peachy orange represents good manners.
Typically speaking, the lighter shades of orange are most associated with positive feelings and emotions.
The orange of the rainbow represents the following:
Yellow is the happiest color in the rainbow.
The color of sunshine, yellow is a mixture of red and green, and represents energy and warmth. It is often associated with happiness, clear thinking, and communication. Often, yellow is linked with inspiration. If you’re looking to start a new creative project or endeavor, put something yellow where you can easily see and appreciate it.
Yellow occurs naturally throughout our world in the form of egg yolks, sunflowers, lemons, and bees. It is often used to illustrate a happy face.
The most luminous color in the rainbow, yellow is known to capture our attention more easily than any other color. (Perhaps this is why the most common highlighter color is yellow!)
Bottom line: It’s hard to miss something that is yellow.
Note: Use yellow sparingly. Too much yellow can actually send the opposite message. Too much yellow causes people to feel judgmental and critical.
The yellow of the rainbow represents the following:
Located in the middle of the rainbow, green is the color of life. Here in the West, it is also a color symbolizing wealth, which is why our money is green.
It is a refreshing color that symbolizes growth and renewal.
But green is also a bit of a dichotomy. On one hand, green represents life and growth; on the other hand, it represents envy. (Ever heard the phrase green with envy?) Maybe there’s a finer line between wealth and envy than we realize.
Because so much of our plant life is green, this color is often linked to nature and living naturally. Recycling and using natural products is sometimes referred to as “green living.” When people decide to start replacing synthetic products with more natural products, it is said they are going green.
Interestingly, the human eye is capable of distinguishing more variations of the color green than any color in the rainbow.
The green of the rainbow represents the following:
The color of the sky and the ocean, blue represents peace, relaxation, and stability. This is no surprise. When people want to relax, they often seek out water. Even just changing out the wallpaper on a computer background to an ocean scene can be beneficial in this regard.
Because blue is the color of the heavens, it is often associated with divinity and is used to illustrate trust and loyalty.
It is a stabilizing color, but it’s also sometimes used to illustrate melancholy (thus the Monday blues). The Blues is a famous music genre that originated in the deep south and is characterized by mellow sounds.
Blue is a well-loved color with many healing and comforting properties.
Note: Too much blue can make people feel rigid. Blue is a good color to include in moderation.
The blue of the rainbow represents the following:
Indigo is the most disputed color in the rainbow.
For years, scientists and weather hobbyists have argued whether indigo belongs on the list at all since it’s hard to distinguish. Is indigo truly deserving of its own place, or are people simply seeing blue and violet?
Along the same lines, people have long tried to answer this question: Is indigo blue or purple? The answer: it’s both. (Although, if you want to get more specific, indigo is three-quarters blue and one-quarter purple.)
A mix of purple and blue, indigo is the color of the midnight sky. Because of this, indigo encourages individuals to think more deeply about life and has strong connections to spiritualism and inward thinking.
It also represents mystery.
Like other colors in the rainbow, it’s important not to go overboard with indigo. Too much indigo results in a person feeling intolerant, judgmental, and avoidant. Too much inward thinking can result in frustration or angst. Used in moderation, however, indigo can be very useful.
The indigo of the rainbow represents the following:
- spiritual attainment
Violet is one of the most loved colors of the rainbow. And with good reason.
Whereas red has the longest wavelength in the rainbow, violet has the shortest. Located on the opposite end of the rainbow from red, violet is the most subtle color of all. But do not mistake subtlety for weakness. Violet has its own unique superpowers.
People who are around the color violet report feeling more empathetic and kind, for example. Violet is also associated with individuality and selflessness.
Created from red and blue, violet is a lighter shade of the color purple and therefore shares some of the same meaning.
The violet of the rainbow represents the following:
The Bible and the Colors of the Rainbow
We cannot talk about the significance of the colors of the rainbow without mentioning the Bible. It is believed that the “rainbow is a sign from the Almighty that we are not forgotten.” It is mentioned in the story of Noah’s Ark; after God appeared before Noah following the flood, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky signifying His Glory and Power as well as His Covenant.
In the Bible, the rainbow is mentioned in The Book of Genesis, The Book of Revelation, and also The Book of Ezekiel:
- In Genesis, it is described as a sign of God’s Mercy as well as the pact/covenant He made with Noah that such a flood would not be sent again.
- In Revelation, Apostle John compares the rainbow colors to the glory or power of God.
- In Ezekiel 1:26-28, the colors of the rainbow are compared to the glory of God.
Noah teaches mankind the seven basic rules to adhere to, conforming to the seven colors of the rainbow:
- Thou shall not worship idols
- Thou shall not blaspheme
- Thou shall not murder
- Thou shall not have immoral relationships
- Thou shall not steal
- Thou shall respect all living creatures
- Thou shall set up courts of law
These are termed as Noahide Laws, and the seven colors of the rainbow remind us of our obligation to them.
Another important term related to the colors of the rainbow is angel colors. Devout Christians use these to focus on their prayers to the Lord. Like the seven rainbow colors, there are seven angel colors. Some gifted people with ‘sight’ do not just see the refracted light in the rainbow colors but another metaphysical system which they believe to be angels sent to Earth to guide us. These are actually similar to the concept of chakra and aura colors, which we have talked about before.
The seven angel colors include:
- Blue: Angel Michael (Power/Protection)
- Yellow: Angel Jophiel (Thoughts/Wisdom)
- Pink: Angel Chamuel (Love/Relationships)
- White: Angel Gabriel (Purity/Harmony)
- Green: Angel Raphael (Healing/Prosperity)
- Red: Angel Uriel (Wise Service/Energy)
- Purple: Angel Zadkiel (Mercy/Transformation)
The rainbow truly is a beautiful, mysterious, and magical phenomenon. Nothing in nature quite excites or energizes us like spotting a full bow (or double bow!) across the sky. And knowing how much significance each color holds makes it all the more fascinating.
Next time you see a rainbow, stop and take it in. Let its beauty and creativity fill you with peace and joy.
It has been said that no two people see a rainbow exactly the same way. So the rainbow you view in the sky is truly unique to you!