Are any of us not thrilled to see a rainbow, catching a glimpse of the bright hues through the lifting rain, or pointing out the rare double arcs in the sky? "I imagine rainbows to have been signs of something important. They may have come after strong storms or only show up in certain areas of the world where conditions were right. Or they arrived when the sun shone across the sea’s waves. Or they fell on a piece of paper when it was in the right place at the right time. And rainbows have become a messenger of so many things:
hope, love, diversity, pride, and strength. (Introduction)" Many of us read our Greek (and other) myths as children and I'll best few of us gave much thought to Iris, a minor deity associated with rainbows and a kind of messenger between immortals. In this new offering in the Pagan Portals series, Irisanya Moon offers a unique, deeply personal, and compelling introduction to Iris.
The reader is first introduced to Iris as a part of opening up to the messages found in the world around us. Moon asks the reader to think about why they feel called to work with Iris, which may be only a vague interest or an intense connection. The intent is to notice and contemplate rather than rush through. We are then asked to examine our expectations for this relationship, before releasing them. In doing so, we open ourselves to larger possibilities and deeper connections. Thereafter, we begin to cultivate our relationship with Iris by becoming aware of the messages found all around us (and Moon doesn't mean the manufactured ones from the media). This chapter ends with a guided meditation to help you meet Iris more directly. I found all of Moon's guidance is valuable for meeting any Deity, or even other people.
Subsequent chapters provide the reader with Iris' stories, symbols, and offerings. I particularly enjoyed the description of how rainbows are formed, the science of it underscores how magical rainbows are, how special. Moon then shifts gears a bit and gives readers practices for working with rainbows as symbols of Iris. The chapter, Traveling the Rainbow, is phenomenal. Its a whole practice in and of itself and unusual. Frankly, even if Iris doesn't call to you, Traveling the Rainbow is valuable enough that I urge you to get the book to have access to it. The last two chapters offer rituals for working with Iris and cultivating your relationship with her.
I was intrigued by Moon's use of the word godd to help the reader move away from the gendered limitations we place upon Deity. I deeply appreciated Moon's emphasis on how her experience is not likely going to be ours, but nonetheless offers a way to find our own path and connection to Iris. As she says,
"One thing that I’d like to make clear before this book continues is that my experience of the godds* is my experience. I am clear that there is no ‘one way’ to experience the divine or mystery or whatever you decide to call this. Though you might have a way of relating to the godds that I don’t understand, it doesn’t make it any less valid or true. . .
. . . the world needs to remember the godds in all of their forms. In all of their roles. In all of their service. And in doing so, readers and seekers will remember and recognize they too have roles, however big or small, to play. She wants to remind us that we are not alone. That there are messages everywhere if only we are willing to listen. (Introduction)"
Iris: Goddess of the Rainbow and Messenger of the Godds is a book that absolutely needs to be in the "to read" pile for anyone looking for a relationship with Deity.
~review by Lisa McSherry
Author: Irisanya Moon
Moon Books, 2021
pp. 96, $10.95