Adapted with permission from "Soul Sisters: The Five Sacred Qualities of a Woman's Soul," published by Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, a division of Penguin Putnam.

Can you remember the first time you saw a rainbow? How, through the innocent eyes of childhood, you felt stirred to wonder by the sight of an effervescent band of translucent colors arcing across the sky? You probably experienced what humans since the beginning of time have felt--touched by a message of beauty, hope and inspiration emanating from a more heavenly world.

As the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris was considered the swift-fooded "Messenger of Light." She personified the luminous bridge that stretched between heaven and earth; her function was to bear messages from the gods and goddesses who lay beyond the many-hued veils of appearance to humankind. She has been described as "A symbol of the relationship between heaven and earth and gods and mortals--a form of divine speech."

As message-bearer, Iris symbolizes that within each of us that desires direct communication with the Divine. Like her, we each have the capacity to travel to the land of the gods and goddesses, to receive a message, and to translate this "divine speech" into a form of guidance inspiring our everyday lives.

To attune to the goddess Iris, imagine that you are sitting on a mountaintop. A storm has passed, and the sun has burst through the dark clouds, lighting up the sky. Suddenly, a magnificent rainbow appears in the freshly washed, blue sky. Because of your vantage point high up, you can see the rainbow in its entirety, stretching from horizon to horizon. On the current of your breath, imagine that you are a winged spirit able to traverse this rainbow. Travelling quickly along this bridge of light, you go beyond it until you reach a beautiful temple. Once there, you meet with a wise being who embodies for you the spirit of wisdom and all-knowing intelligence. You may sit together in silence, or there may be an exchange of words. At the end of this communion, your guide hands you an envelope that contains a special message--an answer to your heart's deepest yearning. After giving thanks for this message, you depart homeward along the rainbow bridge.

Once back on earth, on the mountaintop, transcribe the message you have received. Perhaps the wisdom inside will take the form of a poem, a journal entry, or even a drawing. Whatever the message contains, honor it in your heart as a keepsake of your visit to the other side. Don't allow the radiant beauty of your rainbow message to fade. Instead, keep it alive by imagining that it is enlivening and inspiring your connections to others with a sparkling rainbow spirit of hope.

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