Iris, goddess of the rainbow


Fragrant Iris.  Guillaume Seignac (1870-1924).  Public domain.

In the mythology of ancient Greece Iris was the personification and goddess of the rainbow with which she is identified. Isis was the daughter of Thaumas and the Oceanid nymph Electra (Elektra) according to Hesiod (1981). The wife of Zephyrus, the God of the West Wind, she was the mother of Eros, and some say Pothos. Other sources claim her brother was Hydaspes. Her sisters were the Harpies or Harpiae , the ‘Storm Winds’ called Aello and Ocypete.

Iris vase

Iris portrayed on a Greek vase.  Public domain.

In Homer’s Iliad (1871) she is described as the messenger of the gods and meaning she could journey at will to and from the Underworld, through the heavens and the deep seas. As the agent and winged messenger of Hera (Hesiod, 1981) and Zeus (Homer, 1871), she carried the caduceus or herald’s staff.

Iris Bedford

Statue of Iris in Bedford.  Public domain.

As Hera and Zeus’s winged herald Iris had a number of epithets. These were: Chrysopteron or ‘Golden Winged’; Podas Okea or ‘Swift Footed’; Podaemor Okea or ‘Wind-Swift Footed’ or ‘Wind Footed’; and Thaumantos or ‘Daughter of Thaumos’ and ‘Wondrous One’.


Morpheus and Iris (1811).  Pierre-Narcisse Guerin.  Public domain.

Portrayed as a winged maiden Isis could travel with the speed of the wind, like the ‘Storm Winds’,  as she carried an urn or pitcher of Stygian water to Olympus in order to put perjurors to sleep and for the solemn oaths of the gods.

Isis water

Iris carrying the water of the Styx to Olympus.  Guy Head (1762-1800).  Public domain.

For Isis the rainbow was a bridge and the highway she used on her travels and errands between heaven and earth. When not delivering messages Isis was the ‘bedmaker’ who slept under the bed of Hera and Zeus. As the goddess of the rainbow Isis was the link, the mediator with the gods, who restored peace to nature, and who joined the heavens to the mortal world.


Midsummer Night, Iris.  Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-1893).  Public domain.

Called a Virgin Goddess she was the source of the high waters who supplied the clouds with rain. Isis was also referred to as a ‘Mother of Love’ who gathered the souls of women as the carrier of the divine will to mankind. This suggests a close association or affinity to Hecate and indicates a duality, a darker side to her role as a goddess of hope.

References and sources consulted.

Hesiod,  (1981).  Theogony, Works and Days.  Penguin.

Collins, W. L. (1871).  Homer – The Iliad.  William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.






10/09/2014 · 10:28 am

6 responses to “Iris, goddess of the rainbow

  1. Greetings,
    Multiple goddesses,

    or any label ..or myth..

    Vagina Dentana,
    being a long years,male,yoga practitioner,presently landed in born again experience.

    Based on my experiences,I interpret it as a body
    purification process,in male practitioner’s skull.
    which is a practice used to reverse the direction of
    raised kundalini serpent fire,downwards,similar to
    locomotive engine turn table in skull,towards spine,
    true experience of birth again using true third eye.
    using useless body parts,to awaken the tail bone..
    thus shifting it from front body to backside..
    to activate Solar plexus which is a mystery
    of 17 Th rib(Adam’s Rib) on back side of body..which is awakening of backside of body using useless
    body parts…

    List of things human no longer needs, wisdom teeth, goose bumps, the coccyx, the vomeronasal organ (a part of the nose), and Darwin’s point (a “minor malformation” on the ear) etc….which are used for re birthing..

    – Man is created from the tailbone
    – The tailbone will not decompose
    – On Judgment Day the resurrection will be from the tailbone
    from link,
    The Tailbone Miracle

    Other labels are suspended animation/DNA repairs..
    I interpret Holy bible theme as born again..
    Human body has provision to experience immortals in
    mortal body,for living healthy and to die majestically.
    These are my interpretations for academic discussion.
    God uses useless parts for such almost impossible work way to HOME.
    Being a Hindu,practitioner meshed up with many failures,
    found biblical teaching is a true experience,though new
    student …
    palms together,appreciating artistic link..yogi.

    • practitioner passes through multiple goddess experiences,his body too
      experiences femininity till tailbone awakening,a male pretended pregnancy
      experience similar to Eve separated from Adam by God..mystery
      of Adam’s rib,upper part of body becomes almost 100 % pure,
      mind is not part of this experience mind vanishes,

      • N.B. Opinion 3 in following link ..
        going beyond,
        Killing/defeating, Kundalini and prana both (everything) is born again
        Goddesses shakti/Isis/Mary/Cow goddess Kamdhenu as in churning ocean of milk Hinduism myth..poison to milk female child birth experience as a true experience birthing new child in world..for male pretended
        child birth..Eccl 12 6 gen 3 15 1 cor 6 13, etc. common verses for both.
        experience…on backside of body Mystery location..
        palms together..

  2. greetings
    other scientific labels DNA repairs ,please click bible in it..
    sr no 2 DNA repairs and sr no 8 suspended animation (mummification?)
    in following link,

  3. Hi, under the Morpheus pic & then again under the following pic the name used is Isis?? Typo??

  4. Pingback: Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow – Townhomestead

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