Newsletter Subscribe
Australian Catholics Subscribe

The story of the Rainbow Spirit

Betty Pike  |  23 May 2018

rainbow serpentWhen God speaks to us, it is not always easy to know and understand just what we are being asked to do. God did promise that the law would be planted on our hearts. However we still often require and ask for signs to recognise it.

Today we will look at a cultural myth story, a sign of God’s presence in our world. For Aboriginal people God’s Spirit and stories is most often seen as being in the land. Here is one from the Sky.

The Creator wanted all living things He created to live and flourish. All tribes of different colours and faiths of every nation to live in peace and harmony.

Once all the colours in the world started to quarrel with each other and claiming each was the best, most important and most useful.

GREEN said, ‘Clearly I am the most important for I am the sign of life and hope, chosen for the grass, trees, and all growing things for people to eat.’

THEN BLUE interrupted, ‘You only think about the earth, but I consider the sky and seas.

It is water that is the basis of life. It is drawn up into the clouds from seas and the blue of the sky gives space, peace and serenity.’

YELLOW smiled, ‘You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, and when you look at a sunflower the world smiles with joy and fun.’

ORANGE, started blowing its trumpet, ‘I am the colour of health and strength, the inner needs of life; all the important vitamins like oranges, pumpkins and carrots. I fill the sky at sunrise and give majestic sunsets. My beauty is so striking.’

RED could stand it no longer. ‘I am the ruler of all. Blood, the life-giver is my colour. Fire is my passion, and my beauty is in the red of a rose.’

PURPLE rose to its full height with great pomp. ‘I am the colour of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs and bishops, chose me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom.’

INDIGO spoke more quietly but very determined. ‘I am the colour of science, I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep waters. You need me for balance, and contrast, prayer and inner peace.’

So they all went on boasting louder and louder. Suddenly a crash of thunder and rain poured down relentlessly, they all crouched down in fear drawing close to each other for comfort. Then rain spoke.

‘You foolish people fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate. Did you not know the Creator made you all each for a special purpose, unique and different and loves you all equally? Join hands together now with one another and come with me. I will stretch you across the sky in a great bow of colour joined together to remind you that you can all live together in peace, and harmony.

‘The Rainbow is my promise, to show that I will be with you always, a sign of hope and love always.’

Betty Pike is an Aboriginal writer from Melbourne.

Pope Francis 


Indigenous cultures can reframe our way of relating with the world, helping us rediscover what has been lost as our society has moved further away from its agricultural roots.

In Chapter 4 of his environmental encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis talks about the historic, artistic and cultural patrimony that is under threat in our modern world.

‘The disappearance of a culture can be just as serious, or even more serious, than the disappearance of a species of plant or animal’, he says.


‘They are not merely one minority among others, but should be the principal dialogue partners’, says Pope Francis. ‘For them, land is not a commodity but rather a gift from God and from their ancestors who rest there, a sacred space with which they need to interact if they are to maintain their identity and values.’

In a speech to native Amazonian peoples in January, Pope Francis re iterated his commitment to preserving cultures and preserving the environment – linking it to the preservation of life.

‘Allow me to state that if, for some, you are viewed as an obstacle or a hindrance, the fact is your lives cry out against a style of life that is oblivious to its own real cost. You are a living memory of the mission that God has entrusted to us all: the protection of our common home. The defence of the earth has no other purpose than the defence of life.’ Pope Francis January 2018


Topic tags: indigenousaustralians, spiritualityandtheenvironment

Request permissions to reuse this article

Interested in more? Sign up to our weekly Catholic Teacher and Parish Life e-newsletters for the faith formation resources you need.

Catholic Teacher sign-up

Parish Life sign-up

This website uses cookies to give you the best, most relevant experience.

Using this website means you are okay with this.

You can change your cookies settings at any time and find out more about them by following this link