Tag Archives: rainbow

Double Rainbow

Main Piece:

Informant: I’m starting the story now. Ok, well there is like a lot of different things that rainbows represent. One of them is that if you see a double rainbow, never look in between the double rainbows because that is the darkest point, or one of the darkest areas. People say that is where spirits and other things enter into the world.

Interviewer: So, it’s like a portal?

Informant: Yeah, it’s like a portal.

Interviewer: Whoa. Can you elaborate on that? Do you know anything else about it?

Informant: No, that’s just about it. I don’t really know exactly how she said it. But she said the singular rainbow, like we see in the Bible, represents happiness and peaceful, hopefulness. But this double rainbow is just like, not really cursed, but a darker version of it.

Interviewer: Like a shadow world?

Informant: Yeah, exactly. Like a shadow world.

Background:

The informant is a sixteen-year-old Native American girl from the Lakota and Navajo Nations.

She was born in South Dakota, grew up in Tennessee, and frequently travels out west to visit family and friends. She is a freshman in high school and frequently spends her time reading conspiracies and odd stories on the internet (don’t we all?).

Context:

During the Covid-19 Pandemic I flew back home to Tennessee to stay with my family. The informant is my younger sister. She was in the kitchen making a salad when asked if she knew any interesting stories or legends. 

Thoughts:

Rainbows have played a significant role in narratives across time. From Noah’s Ark to Pride, they have been a beacon for hope and positive change. For others, an omen to be wary of. One common belief is that rainbows are a bridge, a portal between worlds, a path between heaven and earth. With the popularization of the multiverse, inter-dimensional travel, and long standing traditions that acknowledge the spirit world, it is interesting to imagine other worlds, especially the unseen one that lingers just out of sight.

Searching for the pot of potatoes at the end of the rainbow

The informant and I were talking about superstition, tradition, and Irish heritage, so he told me the following anecdote.

“In the Irish superstition, if you see a rainbow and you follow it, you’ll find a pot of gold. I remember as a kid, literally going and walking after a rainbow trying to find it. But I think because it’s Irish… I heard somebody say that one time it came from… basically saying you have to search for like, gold, and like search really far, but in Ireland gold is like potatoes, because they grow a lot of potatoes and they make money with that, but I heard somebody say that’s where it came from, like searching for a bunch of potatoes to sell, something like that. They call it gold just like they say ‘black gold’ for oil… I remember hearing that as a kid, so that was like a fun story”

This was a twist, at least to my knowledge, to the well-known myth of finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. I hadn’t heard this version before, although I’m sure there are many variations to the myth.

 

Rainbow Superstition

If you see the reflection of a rainbow on the ground and cross over it, you would turn into the opposite gender.

My informant told me about this superstition when we were talking about the weird quirks that our mothers had.  She told me that when she was a child, her mother had told her about this superstition.  Hearing this, she would always avoid stepping over reflections of rainbows because she did not want to turn into a boy.  When I asked her was her interpretation of this superstition, she told me that she thinks it derived from the belief that rainbows have magical qualities.

I do agree with my informant that this superstition has an association with the belief that rainbows are magical.  However, at the same time, I definitely think there is a connection between this superstition and homosexuality.  Currently, rainbows are commonly associated with the gay rights movement.  This superstition seems to reflect a fear of becoming a member of the opposite sex and gaining the traits that are associated with the opposite gender.  With this interpretation in mind, it is easy to see why the LGBT community has chosen the rainbow as a symbol to demonstrate their non-fear of crossing gender roles and stereotypes.