Last week, as I drove up the motorway into the Cumbrian landscape, encompassed by spectacular dark clouds and dazzling sunlight, I encountered a rainbow.
Rainbows, for me, are always very special. The unbelievable magic of rich, pure colours appearing out of nowhere, consisting of nothingness, timeless in their beauty yet so brief in their existence, vanishing piece by piece back into the invisible world from which they emerged – well, I think you can see why I choose to express the moment by describing it as an encounter.
And I have encountered some amazing rainbows over the years. I have seen double, and even triple, rainbows, complete from end to end, arching over the mountains of Skye and plunging into the sea. I’ve witnessed a rainbow that sat steadfastly planted on a highland main road as a huge lorry ploughed through it, changing from red to orange to yellow … as it passed through.
Once, walking along the beach in Morcambe Bay, I watched a series of rainbows build in the sky ahead. First, merely a segment, which gradually stretched itself across the clouds to rest on the headland, calling its partner to follow it as it went so that by the time it landed, it was already becoming a double. Then, just as I stood, gasping in awe of its pristine beauty, a third began to form – this one dancing its way underneath the other two. at right-angles to them, making a gyroscope! How privileged I felt to witness such a divine display.
In comparison, last week’s rainbow might have seemed a trifle mundane. It was a single, and much flatter than the usual complete arch, as if its feet were sunk well into the earth and I was only seeing the uppermost segment, perhaps. Its far end was playing the trick that rainbows are so good at: the further towards it I drove, the further away it moved, always maintaining the same distance, beckoning me on towards its ‘pot of gold’. True to the myths, always out of reach, a fool’s ambition.
But the end nearer to me played a different game. It suddenly jumped over the hill it had been hiding behind, rushed up to the side of the road next to where I was driving and proceeded to travel with us – ‘us’ being me and my two dogs. Rowan, my younger, sat entranced, staring out of the window. I, of course, could only keep glancing, as it was my job to keep the car safely on the road.
For the next mile or so, the rainbow remained our companion, colouring the view through the side window as we went, escorting us – it seemed – as we headed towards our day’s adventure. Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, it was gone, leaving me with the memory of yet another precious rainbow moment.
Those of you who have been following my blog, may have been wondering about the title I’ve been using for the last couple of weeks: Indie … Indi … Go! I have a life-long fascination with the colour Indigo, ever since discovering my first rainbow as a child and being taught its colours. What a strange name! What an unusual way to describe the bands of colour created by splitting white light through a prism.
Everything starts off with familiar ‘practical’ shades – the ones we use every day. Red – orange – yellow – green – blue. The primaries, as they are known, and their blends. Basic colour theory. Then suddenly these two surprising additions: Indigo and Violet. Almost as if they’ve been made up.
I began, inevitably, to ask questions. Where did the names come from? Who chose them? Why was it decided there were seven bands of colours when the last two could easily have been labelled as a composite? There’s no space in this blog to chronicle my discoveries and reflections in full. For now, it’s enough to record that I have come to live with a rich understanding of energy, how it works in the world and how it works in humans.
I have learnt about the wisdom that is available to us through our own energy centres – the chakras – of which there are seven, each with their own rainbow colour. And I have practised the wonder of manifesting my own inner rainbow from red to indigo and violet, discovering in the process that when one builds towards personal authenticity, one no longer needs to go chasing after ‘fool’s gold’ because the true pot of gold will find its way to you. Just as the rainbow did last week.