An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Common Themes, East & West:

Floods & Rainbows:
Mythologies & Science
22 April 2001: sections on Northern Lights, Green Flash, & St. Elmo's Fire
have been moved to my new Fire: Sacrality & Lore page;
the "General Weather Lore & Science" section is now on my new Air: Sacrality & Lore page.

Author's Note:
Late morning, Thursday, 30 December 1999 --

When I put more links on this page online last night, I thought it was finally complete.  That's the second time this week that I've been wrong about this page.  A few days ago, I thought I only had four links left to do on this one.  Instead, once they were done on Tuesday afternoon, I unexpectedly discovered more than a dozen still untouched in my bookmark file.  Well, I thought, they'll have to wait until spring or summer.  Maybe I'll have more time then.  Maybe my eyes will be less tired.
But a curious obsession gripped me Tuesday night and yesterday morning: all I could think about was adding those links, finishing the page by the end of the year.  But why? -- I wondered.  Why should I want to complete this page when I have so many others demanding my attention?  Besides, my thoughts ran on, I honestly don't want to complete any particular page in these last few days.  I'm tired.  I just want to continue updating a few stray broken links and leave it at that.
I couldn't, however.  For whatever the reasons, I had to finish this one -- and so I did -- annotating the links much of yesterday until I could finally publish the page late last night with 50KB more than when I'd started.
I only slept about 4 hours before I awoke and found myself still haunted.  Oddly, phrases concerning wishes and curses kept emerging as I fought to sleep.  I finally got up and scribbled a few down on the wrapper from a bar of herbal soap (I didn't want to wake myself up enough to go downstairs for notepaper).  Good, I thought, now I can sleep.  But this happened three or four more times before sleep reclaimed me.  During this process, I finally realized why this page was so important --- and why the implications of weather mythology hold such an important key.
As much of the human race measures off one millennium and prepares to cross the threshold into the next, perhaps we need to remember those old, angry, powerful storm-deities who destroyed entire worlds when humans lost respect for the sacredness of weather, land, and other species of life -- El Shaddai (the mountain storm god of the early Hebrews before his name became Yahweh), Baba Yaga, Odin, Thor, Sekhmet, Poseidon, and so many others from around the world.  Many of their stories are in the links on this page.  But the page itself won't be complete until I add my Crone's Curses and Prayers that emerged in the wee hours of last night:
In the new millennium, may abuse of the environment bring swift public humiliation, not power or wealth, to the politicians and CEOs of the world.  If logic and common sense fail to sway them, may unrelenting nightmares in the privacy of their own bedchambers "scrooge" them, sober them, exhaust them, weaken their resolve.
We are all part of a larger web of life.  May we live more wisely within our overlapping ecosystems.  May we fully awaken to the madness of overpopulation and greed.  May we protect the remaining great forests whose tragically decreasing numbers necessarily impact weather patterns everywhere.  May we respect the nature of floodplains and avoid pushing whole populations onto them.  May we build more skillfully and ethically in quake-prone regions.  May we not build in areas that are the natural habitats of species with as much right to live as we, if for no other reason than that in clearcutting or draining lands that are theirs, we again impact our global weather and create more disasters.  May we cherish anew the wonder of clean waters and winds.
May the powerful Storm Spirits of all lands and peoples show us their kinder faces as we come into a new balance with our Earth.


From "The Creation Story"
Copyright © by Hungarian-born artist, Judy Racz
(used with permission)

This excellent page is Mark Isaak's "Flood Stories from around the World" --  an impressive, extensive listing, region by region.  Some stories are just a few lines, others are much longer, all are intriguing.  Isaak uses reliable sources and provides his bibliography at the end.
            [Broken link 8/23/00; unfortunately, still broken 6/22/02 -- if anyone has an update, please let me know]
[Added 12/28/99]: This site's long page looks at flood (and creation) stories from the following peoples and traditions: the Aymara (near Lake Titicaca), Greece, Sumer, Babylonia, China, the Maya, India, and the Yoruba.  (Note: this is double-listed on my Creation Myths page.)

From "The Creation Story"
Copyright © by Hungarian-born artist, Judy Racz
(used with permission)[Updated 8/23/00]
[Added 12/28/99]:  This is a page of well chosen links to worldwide flood mythology from N.S. Gill, the Ancient/Classical History guide at She includes science, theories, as well as comparisons and contrasts between various flood myths.  Some of her links are the same as mine but there are also many on her site that I'm not annotating on my own -- of special interest are the Morgana's Observatory pages (Puck & Titania); and an academic paper from Hungary.

Noah's Ark
Artist: Kornilova
Lacquer box courtesy of Russian Sunbirds
[Added 12/29/99]:This is the famous flood story from the Gilgamesh epic -- the translation is by E. A. Speiser.
[Added 12/29/99]: Frank Lorey, a member of a Christian missionary organization, offers this comparison of elements in the Gilgamesh and Noah flood stories.  I thoroughly disagree with his conclusions:
...The Genesis account was kept pure and accurate throughout the centuries by the providence of God until it was finally compiled, edited, and written down by Moses....The Epic of Gilgamesh, then, contains the corrupted account as preserved and embellished by peoples who did not follow the God of the Hebrews....
Despite this, some of his data (and his comparison chart) is useful.
              [Broken link 6/22/02]
[Added 12/29/99]:"The Flood is Found" -- although less overt, this site from "Mysteries of the Bible," by D. Laing, also takes a decidedly scriptural slant.  Nevertheless, the data and charts on the Black Sea are quite fascinating and useful.
[Added 12/29/99]:This site from the National Geographic also looks at recent Black Sea discoveries.  It's far too brief, navigation (at least on my browser) was a bit quirky, especially in trying to link to recent dispatches from this home page, but at least facts are presented as they are and without a narrow theological agenda.


The Rainbow
© Sandra Stanton, 1984
[Note: this one is not on Sandra's website,
but you can see her powerful paintings of Goddesses there.]
[Added 12/29/99]:From Beverly T. Lynds comes this literate, well researched (with tons of great sources), and easy-to-understand introduction to the basic science of rainbows:
...We will discuss the formation of a rainbow by raindrops. It is a problem in optics that was first clearly discussed by Rene Descartes in 1637....
Using well chosen quotes from Descartes, along with colorful graphs and charts, Lynds unravels many puzzles about rainbows -- for example, why no two people can see the same one. [Updated 4/12/10]
This "Rainbow Maker" site looks at rainbow myths from all over the world.  The data is lovely, but no bibliography is provided so there's no way to check any sources.  The author, Fred Stern, is an artist:
...who uses large scale pumps and the sun's light to create natural rainbows as large as 2000 feet across. He is committed to creating rainbows only for organizations and events in support of Global Unity and Peace and will travel anywhere in the world....
(Updated 4/12/10:  click HERE for his home page.  There is actually an enormous amount of intriguing information on this site.) [Updated 4/12/10]
Another Rainbow Maker page looks at such things as the rainbow's colors (3 to 1000, depending), sizes, double rainbows, and constant changes within each one.  It's a fascinating little essay.
[Added 12/29/99]:This is "Rainbows: problematic images of problematic nature," an insightful, well argued academic paper (with many clickable illustrations of rainbows in art) by George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History at Brown University.  He discusses the use of rainbows among 19th century artists and poets -- for some, the rainbow is a sacred symbol of promise and hope; for others, it is simply nature and should not be encumbered with Old Testament symbolism.  Landow concludes:
...Like Tennyson and Browning, Turner realizes that the 'thoughtful eye' demanded by Fairbairn no longer can see in this optical phenomenon an unambiguous covenant-sign.  Like these poets, he transforms the rainbow into a powerful symbol of man's problematic relation to problematic nature.
[Note: this paper was originally published in Nature and the Victorian Imagination, U. C. Knoepflmacher and G. B. Tennyson, eds., (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 519 pp.), pp. 341-369.] [Link updated 5/12/01]
[Added 12/29/99]: This is an announcement of a new book from Pennsylvania State University Press, The Rainbow Bridge: Rainbows in Art, Myth, and Science, by Raymond L. Lee, Jr. and Alistair B. Fraser.  The book not only covers the role of the rainbow in science and myth, but also in art history, fine arts, advertising, and culture.  The book's Preface as well as chapter 8 (on the colors of rainbows) are included online -- some of chapter 8's illustrations are color versions of some of George Landow's images [see the site directly above].  I only had time to scan this chapter but was impressed with its wealth of information.  For example, I never knew that the larger the raindrops, the brighter the rainbow's colors:
...Bows can be generated by any of these drops, but only a rain shower that has quite large drops can produce a bow with vivid colors. Indeed, only when the drop radius is larger than about 1/3 mm can we see red in the bow.  For the smaller drops found in drizzle, rainbow colors become quite pastel....

Natseelit, the Navajo Rainbow Goddess,
whose protective energies surround Navajo sandpaintings
[Detail of Plate VII, Navajo Medicine Man Paintings, written by Gladys A. Reichard,
Dover Publications, 1939/1977]
[Added 12/29/99]:  "After the Rain: Rainbows" comes from the Heard Museum in Phoeniz, Arizona.  This is a marvelous, multi-facted site of rainbow lore, science, and art based on the traditions of the Navajo and other Native Americans of the American Southwest.  The site's lesson plans (for a total of 6 units) are designed for both teachers and students from kindergarten through grade 3.  What I especially love about this site is that it teaches science in the context of rich cultural material -- or as the authors express it, one of their goals is to  "promote cross-cultural understanding through a focus on rain, a universal requirement for life on earth...." (Note: this site is double-listed on my Teachers' Reference page.)

Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Guides
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore
Land: Sacrality & Lore  (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Sky Goddesses & Gods
Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
Fire Goddesses & Gods
Water: Sacrality & Lore  (water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
Water Goddesses & Gods
Green Men
Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
Rituals of Death & Dying
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre, Dance & Ritual
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(Calendars, Clocks, Natural Temporal Cycles, Attitudes toward Time, & Millennium Issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weaving Arts & Lore (Cosmic Webs, Spinning, Spindles, Clothing)

Down to Geographical Regions: Africa

My complete Site Map is on the Home Page.
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This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01.
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and layout copyright © 1998-2010 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.

Put online 13 November 1998 with the rest of MythingLinks,
but not really begun until my mother's birthday, 2 August 1999
Latest updates:
1999: 7 August 1999; 28 December 1999; 29 December 1999; 30 December 1999;
2000: 23 August 2000 (checked & updated all links; added new ones); 28 September 2000.
2001: 21 & 22 April 2001: moved sections on Northern Lights, Green Flash, & St. Elmo's Fire
to new Fire: Sacrality & Lore page;
moved "General Weather Lore & Science" section to new Air: Sacrality & Lore page;
12 May 2001: updated a link, checked all others.
22 June 2002: minor formatting changes; checked all links; excerpted opening mini-essay for CronePapers; updated Nedstat.
12 April 2010: Updated Rainbow Maker's 3 links.  Also, in opening Author's Note, 4th paragraph, 2nd sentence, changed a few words for the sake of clarity.  On rest of page, changed quoted passages that had been in peach color to turquoise, which is easier to read.

Credits: background is from Mermaid's Rest Graphics