The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Three Worlds

Drawing: Jannoon028
Each of us interacts with three worlds:

  • The World Around Us.
  • The World Between Us.
  • The World Within Us.

How we relate to each of these is different for each one of us. Some of us may give priority to one world and neglect the other two. Some may even attempt to undermine or dismiss one of the worlds, contending that it is either irrelevant or non-existent. Whatever the relationship we have with these worlds, our wellbeing, the wellbeing of others, and the wellbeing of the entire planet, are dependent upon our being able to balance each of these worlds in a harmonious and compassionate manner.

If we suffer from anxiety, depression, or trauma, we may decide to seek professional help via a psychologist or other helping profession. Yet, more often than not, this help will seek to adjust the “sufferer” to the norm of society. This turns out to be only a partial, and insufficient, treatment. This is so because only one of our worlds is being considered.

Jiddu Krishnamurti (20th century Indian philosopher, writer, teacher, and speaker) is attributed with this quote:

‘It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profanely sick society.’

Although there is no reference in any of his writings or speeches to this exact quote, the sentiment contained in it was a theme that Krishnamurti often referred to.1 Essentially, he was alerting us to the limitations of seeking health and healing through only one of our three worlds.

The Hungarian-Canadian psychologist, Gabor Maté, takes up this theme in his latest book – The Myth of Normal.2 Maté has spent decades working with trauma sufferers and has written extensively about his work and research. He is convinced that ‘behind the epidemic of chronic afflictions, mental and physical, that beset our current moment, something is amiss in our culture itself.’

We cannot heal one of our worlds if we do not also heal the other two. Or, looking at this from a slightly different perspective; we cannot remain healthy in one (or two) of our worlds if the other world(s) are unhealthy.

When we honestly consider each of our three worlds, we notice that each of them contains elements that are healthy, yet also elements that are unhealthy.

The World Around Us contains much beauty, serenity, and diversity. Just look at the butterflies, the waterfalls, the distant vista of a mountain range, or the majestic sand-waves of a desert.

Yet, the World Around Us is in an unhealthy state, and becoming steadily worse. Look at the pollution of rivers, lakes, and the ocean, or the massive deforestation of rainforests, and the extremely high rate of species extinction (between 100 – 1,000 times the ‘normal’ background extinction rate.)

The World Between Us has many examples of love, compassion, kindness, and empathy, in our personal lives and at a social level. The plethora of voluntary organisations and charitable trusts gives proof to this.

Sadly though, our human relationships are also plagued with racism, misogyny, bigotry, violence, and exploitation of many forms. War still seems to be the default go-to solution to international disputes

The World Within Us has the capacity for fulfillment, contentment, happiness, and inner peace. Many of us manage to discover meaning and identity in our existence.

Unfortunately, many do not. Rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm (including suicide,) isolation, and addiction in many parts of the world are staggeringly high.

If we wish to heal one of our three worlds that is presently unhealthy we must do so recognising that the health of the other two is vital in that healing. Jiddu Krishnamurti and Gabor Maté, both mentioned above, make the connection between our World Within and our World Between.

The (healthy) connection between the World Around Us and our World Within Us is strikingly evidenced by the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (forest bathing.) Forest bathing is a slow, deliberative, mindful way of interacting with nature (especially in a forest or bush.) Each of our senses are focused and paid close attention to.

Japanese (and other) research over the past 30 years has shown the benefits of shinrin-yoku.3 The benefits vary from individual to individual and include: lower stress, decreased blood pressure, relief from various illnesses, boosting of the immune system, and many others.

Forest bathing is a reciprocal arrangement. We (humans) can only obtain the health benefits of the forest if we in turn, are willing to enable the forest to heal.

Again, as before, we cannot heal just one World by itself. All three are connected, and all three can only heal in a mutually supportive manner.


1. For example: Is society healthy, that an individual should return to it? Has not society itself helped to make the individual unhealthy? Of course, the unhealthy must be made healthy, that goes without saying; but why should the individual adjust himself to an unhealthy society? If he is healthy, he will not be a part of it. Without first questioning the health of society, what is the good of helping misfits to conform to society?’ Commentaries on Living: Series III, published in 1960, and written in the early 1950s.

2. Gabor Maté with Daniel Maté, The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture, Vermillion, London, 2022.

3. See especially: Miyazaki, Yoshifumi, The Japanese Art of Shinrin-Yoku, Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, 2018.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Colourful Revolutions

"Colourful Revolution" Macedonia 2016
Often when people think of revolutions they are thought of as violent uprisings. Indeed, it is interesting to note that those revolutions best known by the country in which they took place – the American, French, Russian, and Chinese for example – were all violent.

But, revolution need not be violent. In fact, there are probably more examples of non-violent revolutions than there are of violent ones. Intriguingly, many of these non-violent revolutions are known by a colour. Consider these revolutions that have taken place over the past few years.

Yellow Revolution. This non-violent revolution took place in the Philippines in 1986 as an uprising against the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Protestors wore yellow ribbons, influenced by the 1973 hit song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Orange Revolution. Following the disputed 2004 Ukrainian presidential elections civil disobedience, sit-ins, and general strikes took place arguing that Viktor Yanukovych had rigged the election. Yanukovych’s opponent, Viktor Yushchenko had orange as his campaign colour – giving the name of the revolution.

Rose Revolution. Following another disputed election, this time in Georgia, saw the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze and the end of Soviet leadership in the country. The name comes from the final days when protestors stormed parliament with red roses in their hands.

Purple Revolution. Although the term Purple Revolution did not gain widespread use in Iraq, it became known by this colour after the US President George W Bush used it. The colour refers to the colour of dye used to stain the index fingers of voters to prevent multipole voting.

Blue Revolution. This revolution, in 2005, began in Kuwait in support of women’s suffrage. The name comes from the colour of the signs that demonstrators carried. Eventually, the Kuwaiti government acceded to the demands and women were given the right to vote in the 2006 elections.

Saffron Revolution. Named for the colour of the robes worn by Buddhist monks who were the leaders in this non-violent protest. The protests were a series of economic and political ones that took place in Myanmar in late 2007.

Yellow Vest Revolution. Sparked initially by French motorists upset by increased fuel costs, this movement grew to incorporate a number of other grievances. So-called because many of the protestors wore the hi-vis yellow vests associated with construction workers.

Tulip (Pink) Revolution. This revolution in Kyrgyzstan in early 2005 became violent (the “exception that proves the rule.”) The revolution was sparked by a disputed parliamentary election and the name refers to the yellow and pink colours adopted by the protestors.

White Paper Movement. A fire in an Urumqi apartment building on 25 November 2022 killed at least 10 people. The apartment had been locked down as part of China’s covid response. The fire and the deaths sparked demonstrations, with many participants holding up blank white paper. As one protestor said, ‘The white paper represents everything we want to say but cannot say.’ The lock-down was subsequently lifted, but other grievances have re-kindled the White Paper Movement.

Colourful Revolution. This Macedonian revolution in the middle of 2016 got its name from the different coloured paintballs thrown by protestors at government buildings in the nation’s capital, Skopje. The revolution was in opposition to the country’s Prime Minister (Nikola Gruevski) for his part in wiretapping thousands of Macedonian citizens.  

The names of other revolutions also had not colourful, but symbolic or metaphorical names. Think of the Kitchenware (Pots and Pans) Revolution in Iceland between 2009-11 protesting the handling of the financial crisis. In late 1989 the Velvet (Gentle) Revolution in Czechoslovakia ended the 41-year rule of the one-party Communist regime. Another revolution to stand up to Soviet rule was that of the Singing Revolution from 1987 to 1991 in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The three Baltic nations obtained their independence by almost literally singing for it.

All but one of the revolutions mentioned above (the Tulip Revolution) were inherently non-violent. Violence is not necessary for revolution. It could even be argued that violent revolution tends to simply bring in a different form of authoritarianism.

We might also observe something else from the naming of these revolutions. Symbols, colour, fun, and parody are significant features of non-violence. There is no fun in a violent revolution. But, I can be fairly certain that if I was to speak with a participant in the Baltic states Singing Revolution, they would tell me they had fun and that they felt a sense of communality with their revolutionary friends.

Monday 12 December 2022

Startling Starlight

Photo: Petr Horálek
Have you recently looked up at the night sky? If you have, and you are aged over about 40 years, you might be forgiven for thinking to yourself: Where is it?

Where has the night sky gone? Where is that thing called the Milky Way?

It is estimated that today over 80% of the world’s population live in “skyglow” (diffuse, scattered skylight attributed to scattered light from ground sources.) That means that four out of five people in the world do not or cannot see the night sky in its full, natural, startling, brilliance. Furthermore, in some parts of the world this percentage is significantly greater. In the US and Europe, the figure is 99%.

That Milky Way mentioned earlier. It is hidden to more than 2/3 of the world’s population.1

Losing this experience and being unable to see the stars has enormous consequences for us (humans) as well as for the non-human species that share this planet with us.

For well over 99% of our time on Earth as Homo sapiens we lived without light pollution. Our bodies, behaviours, psyches, and emotional states adapted to the circadian rhythm of life. Essentially, that rhythm is: day is light, night is dark.

However, over the past 100 years or so we have seriously disrupted that circadian rhythm. This has impacted our health and wellbeing.

Melatonin is necessary for our health. Melatonin is produced in our bodies in response to the circadian rhythm of life and helps to regulate and maintain our immune system.

When the circadian rhythm is disrupted, so too is our supply of melatonin.

[Could there be a correlation between the rise of diseases that our immune system would normally deal with and the disruption of our circadian rhythms? I am not in a position to be able to answer that, but the question is certainly worth asking.]

Not only is night light pollution disruptive of our health and harmful to wildlife, but it is also an enormous contributor to the world’s increasing electricity consumption. Visual Capitalist (whose aim is to help cut through the clutter of data in the world) claims that lighting makes up 19% of the world’s total electricity consumption.2 Presumably, night lighting is a significant proportion of that 19%.   

Why? Why do we light up our cities at night? Why do we think that lights at night are a good thing?

Many will claim that night lights reduce crime and make us safer.

Yet there is little, if any, evidence to support this. Indeed, some research suggests entirely the opposite.

Research in England and Wales concluded that there was, “little evidence of harmful effects of switch off, part-night lighting, dimming, or changes to white light/LEDs on road collisions or crime in England and Wales.”3

Indeed, research in Chicago found a 21% increase in offending following the installation of lighting in Chicago’s streets and alleys.4 This staggering figure seems counter-intuitive, until it is pointed out that lights at night (when there are fewer people around) make victims and property easier to see!!


The increasing light pollution of our world is not good news for those of us who wish to be startled by starlight.

Our sense of place in the world, our identity of belonging to the Earth, is promoted and stimulated by our wonder, our awe, and our ability to be startled by nature.

When we lose that ability to be startled by one half of our ecosphere (the night sky) then we lose our sense of wonder. We lose who we are as humans.

Let’s turn off the lights and learn to be star-tled again.


1. Fabio Falchi et al. The New World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness, Science Advances, 10 June 2016, Vol 2 Issue 6.

2.  Accessed 12-12-22

3. Rebecca Steinbach et al., The effect of reduced street lighting on road casualties and crime in England and Wales: controlled interrupted time series analysis, Journal of Epidemiol Community Health, 2015;69:1118–1124. doi:10.1136/jech-2015-206012

4. Erica Morrow & Shawn Hutton, The Chicago Alley Lighting Project: Final Evaluation Report, Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, April 2000.

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Butterfly Speak

A friend recently posted, on facebook, the graphic that goes with this piece. It is a phrase redolent
with insight, meaning, and possibilities. Some in what it says, and some in what it doesn’t say. Let’s begin with what it says.

The image of a butterfly, and the reference to a caterpillar, as metaphors for two different stages of human development is a useful one. Indeed, the metaphors have been used by many seers, spiritual teachers, psychologists, and others for centuries.

So, who or what, is a Butterfly Person? The graphic seems to suggest that such a person is spiritually advanced, is now able to fly, and has surpassed the crawling stage of life. I suspect this is how many will interpret this metaphor.

As our human journey develops we do learn new language. We surely come to understand the larger stories of life and the cosmos that surround us. Those stories can contain language that may have been difficult for us to understand at an earlier stage of our journey.

Hence, to that extent, there is some validity in the message of the graphic.

However, let us delve deeper.

Let us read between the lines. Let us discover what is not said.

As humans, we do indeed, at birth, embark upon a developmental journey. Along that journey we may pass through a number of stages in our development. Or – we may not (I’ll come back to this.)

One of those who has extensively applied the metaphor of the butterfly’s life cycle to that of the human development journey is eco-psychologist, and soul guide, Bill Plotkin.1 As a biologist will tell us, the butterfly is the fourth stage in its journey. The first stage is the pupa (egg.) Following this is the lava (caterpillar) stage, as this graphic alludes to, but crucially, there is the third stage, a highly transformative stage – the chrysalis.

This is the stage, and metaphor, that Bill Plotkin most often refers to. It is a stage in the human development journey often not reached, and even less, not completed.

This is why, in today’s world, there are so few true Adults, and woefully less true Elders. A number of writers alert us to the lack of true Elders in society, notably Bill Plotkin, Stephen Jenkinson, and Robert Bly.2 They, and many others, would agree with Jenkinson’s assertion that:

‘If becoming an elder was a consequence of aging, we’d be awash in elders right about now. But it isn’t so.’

In terms of the metaphor, our society seems to have a desire to either remain a crawling caterpillar, or to jump straight to the flying butterfly stage. This is where Plotkin’s insight, and life’s work, holds the key to enabling, nurturing, and extending the numbers of true Adults and true Elders in our society.

His insight is simply this: the need for the chrysalis (Plotkin prefers the term cocoon) stage. In his magnificent book, The Journey of Soul Initiation,3 Plotkin outlines his conception and understanding of this crucial stage of the human development journey. Although not the first to outline this stage (see Carl Jung’s Red Book for instance) he has perhaps done more than any other psychologist to describe and witness it. As an overall title for this stage Plotkin refers to it as The Descent to Soul and describes it as:

‘an ecstatic and hazardous odyssey that most of the world has forgotten – or not yet discovered – an essential spiritual adventure for which you won’t find clear or complete maps anywhere else in the contemporary Western world. This journey, which begins with a dying, enables you to grow whole and wild in a way that has become rare – and yet is vital for the future of our species and our planet.’

Dying? Yes. That is what happens to the caterpillar inside the chrysalis. It dies, undergoes metamorphosis, and emerges as a butterfly.

There is a further lesson we can take from the butterfly/caterpillar metaphor. The biological term for the butterfly is the imago and inside the caterpillar there are imaginal cells – cells that understand that the caterpillar is to become a butterfly.

We could say then that the butterfly is imagined into existence.

The same is so for humans. We go through our first stages of life as children and early adolescents as caterpillars. Then at some point in our lives, whether it be in late teenage years or many years later, we enter the cocoon.4 Therein (spiritually, mythopoetically, psychologically, ecologically, socially, and soulfully) we imagine ourselves into the butterfly we are to become. This metamorphosis is possible if we are enabled, supported, and encouraged to do so by true Adults and true Elders.

Herein is what the graphic does not say. A butterfly that simply flies off, speaking its own language (maybe with other butterflies doing the same) is akin to the proliferation of olders (as distinct from elders) within our society.

One of the important tasks of true Adults and true Elders is to remember the language of the caterpillar, and to guide and support caterpillars into, and through, the ‘ecstatic and hazardous odyssey’ of the cocoon/chrysalis, so that they too might emerge as butterflies.


1. Two of Plotkin’s books are relevant here: Nature and the Human Soul (2008) and The Journey of Soul Initiation (2021), both published by New World Library, Novato, California.

2. As well as Plotkin’s books (n. 1) see especially: Jenkinson, Stephen, Come of Age:The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 2018; Bly, Robert, The Sibling Society, William Heinemann, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1996.

3. See my review of this book here.

4. Although as Plotkin acerbically notes, most people in our modern industrial-consumerist society get stuck in an early stage, and instead of emerging into an eco-centric view of oneself, remain stuck in a pathological ego-centric stage. Hence, never reach the butterfly stage, because the metamorphosis of the chrysalis is not undertaken.