Maybe it’s the sunshine slipping through the window next to my desk, but everything feels magical right now.
Probably the most magical, mystical thing–the one phenomenon than can always stop me in my steps and make my jaw drop open–is a rainbow.
A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colours. Traditionally, however, the sequence is quantised. The most commonly cited and remembered sequence, in English, is Newton’s sevenfold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. “Roy G. Biv” and “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” are popular mnemonics.
Rainbows can be caused by other forms of water than rain, including mist, spray, dew, fog, and ice. Moreover, rainbows can have shapes other than a bow (arc), including stripes, circles, or even flames.
In Greek mythology, the rainbow was considered to be a path made by a messenger (Iris) between Earth and Heaven.
A supernumerary rainbow is an infrequent phenomenon, consisting of several faint rainbows on the inner side of the primary rainbow, and very rarely also outside the secondary rainbow. Supernumerary rainbows are slightly detached and have pastel colour bands that do not fit the usual pattern.
Another ancient portrayal of the rainbow is given in the Epic of Gilgamesh: the rainbow is the “jewelled necklace of the Great Mother Ishtar” that she lifts into the sky as a promise that she “will never forget these days of the great flood” that destroyed her children.