Do you remember the first time you looked at a rainbow? All the singular bright colors merging together. Remember the awe of looking at the sky encompassing the spectral fusing tones, all different and unique. Yet all working collectively, iridescent and blending, each one transforming into the other.
After seeing the first rainbow, we may wish to see another again, so we become attuned to its emerging conditions — cloudy, rainy days with sudden bursts of sunlight trespassing the grey-dense clouds. Our curious eyes looking all over the skies, for it felt like magic meeting a rainbow. Or even two! Double magic!
The word rainbow, or bow of rain, in Portuguese translates something like the iridescent arc, a vibrant bow of sky colors. In Galician, it translates as old woman’s arc, and in Portuguese, this expression “old woman’s arc” means strange events, outlandish and peculiar happenings. Something otherworldly and odd. The rainbow could be seen as an ancient passageway into other dimensions where anything can happen, a crack in reality. A magical realm, a mysterious and enchanting time and place, guarded by the old woman’s ancient wisdom.
Growing up, we are educated to perform the incredible magic of separation. To understand and comprehend, we are told to embark on a cultural-one-way-trip of dividing and cutting the world into pieces. So, we atomize, sever, and consequentially narrow our grasp of things. Suddenly, we lose our ability to see the rainbow’s merging colors, and we count and name them instead: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. How many colors are in a rainbow becomes the critical question. We lose sight of the threshold, only focusing on the pure hues.
Taking our gaze away from spectral changing between colors, we ignore the rich amplitude and scope of life itself. Only admiring the confines and frontiers of each individual color and taking it as the whole truth, we avoid the breath and range of every possible transformation, dialogue, and exchange.
Shutting down the liminal transmutations between colors, categories, relations, events, or places, we restrict and collapse our perception of existence. In reducing the richness complexity to binary contrast such as good or bad, right or wrong, man or woman, the manifold mutation and changes happening all around all the time become veiled. The spectrum fixed, hardened, and solidified. Not a spectrum anymore.
Next time you see a rainbow, honor the threshold, allow yourself to be welcomed by the old guardian enabling the wisdom of the spectrum, the peculiarities merging in-between two (or more) edges. Get entangled in its rich diversity.
Do you dare to pass the portal?
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[Disclaimer: all these words and weaved concepts are birthed through my lived, biased, and always limited perception of things, not supposing to bring any absolute truth.]
By Sofia Batalha
Mammal, author, woman-mother, question weaver and dismantling global-colonial-technological-capitalism one day at a time. Awkward prose-poet with no grammatical knowledge. Pilgrim through inner and outer landscapes, remembering ancient earth practices, in radical presence, active listening, ecopsychology, art, ecstasy, and writing. Author of seven books, editor of the free online magazine, Wind and Water, Re-member the Bones Podcast, and Beyond the Sea Conversations — all in Portuguese.
More information: sofiabatalha.com