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When It Rains, It Pours: The Surprising Symbolism Of Rain

When It Rains, It Pours: The Surprising Symbolism Of Rain

There is something magical about rain. From the misty autumnal rain that soaks you to your bones to the incredible downpours that crack open the sky after a hot day, rain has always been a source of pleasure and pain for humans. 

Have you ever wondered about rain symbolism? You probably have noticed rain being a key plot device in literature and film, but did you know that there are so many different spiritual and symbolic meanings for rain? 

In this article, I want to look at the different ways society, cultures, and individuals have connected with rain. 

What Does Rain Symbolize? 

What does rain symbolize

Rain is such a complex and complicated phenomenon. It can be refreshing and kind, but it can also be destructive and threatening. Because of this, there are so many ways we can understand rain symbolism. 

Let’s look at some key rain symbolism and what we can learn from them. 

Fertility and Rebirth 

If you enjoy gardening and the natural world, you probably have huge respect for rain.

During the summer months when long, hot days wilt flowers and dry out the soil, an oncoming downpour provides relief and nourishment to your garden. 

Because many cultures and societies go through desperate droughts during the summer, rain symbolizes fertility and rebirth. 

Water is the source of life. Both animals and plants need water to survive, with rainwater encouraging and supporting life on earth. 

Rain symbolizes growth and life, falling from the sky when we need it. It reminds us that, when we are feeling stuck and unhappy, the rain will come, and we will find a source of life once more. 


There is something magical about being out in the rain. I love to go out running in the rain around the countryside where I live.

It feels refreshing and helps me draw a line under my struggles and worries that are bringing me down. 

Because of the refreshing nature of rain, it is often seen to symbolize cleansing and renewal. 

I totally connect with this interpretation of rain. Being out in the rain feels incredible, as if the rain itself is washing away my worries and woe. 

Rain cleanses the air, refreshing the environment where it falls. It allows us to begin again, our souls cleansed and renewed. 

The Power of Nature 

When I am out in the rain, I always feel small. Not in a negative way, but in a pretty refreshing way! 

Rain reminds us of the power of nature, and how we are small in comparison. This is not to diminish who we are and the fantastic things we do. Rather, the rain reminds us of the bigger picture and the world as a whole. 

Rain allows us to put things in perspective. We are connected with nature in an incredible way, and its power can teach us a lot. 


Rain symbolizes sadness and despair for many people. When it rains, the sun goes away and the clouds fill the sky. The world becomes dark, and everything feels kind of heavy. 

When it rains, you may have the urge to cancel plans and stay inside. The outside world may seem unwelcoming under a rain cloud. 

Interestingly, there are studies that have linked feelings of sadness to rain. In a 2020 study, researchers found that people reported more feelings of sadness and depression on rainy and overcast days.


When it rains, the natural world feels different. Because of this, rain symbolizes change. 

We may have negative connections with rain, such as sadness and depression. However, the rain reminds us that things change. 

After the rain comes the rainbow, reminding us that there is always hope even during the darkest of days.

Everything changes and transforms, and rain serves as a symbol of this. 

What Does Rain Symbolize in Literature and Film?

Rain symbolism in literature and film

Have you ever heard of the term pathetic fallacy? This is a literary device where the feelings and emotions of someone are linked to the weather. 

Rain is a common type of pathetic fallacy in films and books.

The rain symbolism discussed earlier are used as plot devices, allowing the person reading the book or watching the film to really understand the characters' emotions. 

Let’s look at some famous rain symbolism in literature and film. 

Summer Shower by Emily Dickinson

This beautiful poem by Emily Dickinson describes drops of rain on a hot summer's day. The rain comes slowly, with one drop after the other. The rain ‘helps’ the brook and the sea, providing the water they need. 

Summer Shower symbolizes the cleansing nature of rain. Rain is necessary for the earth's ecosystem, and it is refreshing the warm day. 

It also is linked to fertility and rebirth as it tells of how water helps the planet. Everything is renewed when the rain comes, and we can start afresh.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights is probably the most iconic pathetic fallacy novel. This Gothic novel continuously uses the weather to represent the characters, revealing their moods and feelings. 

In Wuthering Heights, rain usually represents the dark moods of the characters, mainly Heathcliff. It also is a poignant plot device at the end of the novel when Heathcliff dies. 

‘The following evening was very wet: indeed, it poured down till day-dawn’ is a line towards the end of the novel, predicting Heathcliff's death. 

However, instead of representing his emotions, the rain here symbolizes change and renewal. Heathcliff is passing over to the other world, with a new generation making their home at Wuthering Heights. 

Rain reminds us that life changes and everything is a cycle. Just like the rain being evaporated into the sky and then pouring down from the clouds, life is a cycle. 

Four Weddings and a Funeral 

Ahh, kissing in the rain. Everybody loves these stunning scenes in a romantic film, but what do they actually symbolize? 

Like the scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, the kiss in the rain usually occurs after a realization.

They realize that they love this person, and they want to be with them for the rest of their life. 

Rain in romantic films usually symbolizes rebirth and renewal. The characters have realized that they are in love and therefore are starting their new life together. 

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption follows an innocent man imprisoned for a crime that he did not commit. At the end of the film when he finally escapes, he stands in a downpour of rain. 

It is a pretty amazing scene, with the rain representing his emotions and his feeling of freedom. The rain symbolizes cleansing and change, with the character going through a rebirth.

He is washing off his past in the rain, embracing his new life. 

Jurassic Park 

Rain is often a symbol of battle and survival in many films. Have a think about all the epic movies you have watched. How many battles take place in the pouring rain?

In the 1993 film Jurassic Park, the characters face T. Rex in a dramatic fight scene. The rain is coming down hard in this scene, representing the fight that is on their hands. 

The rain symbolizes the determination of the characters in the film. They are determined to fight and survive, overcoming the obstacles in their way. 

What Is The Spiritual Symbolism of Rain?

Spiritual symbolism of rain

Rain has a lot of spiritual meanings for many cultures and religions around the world. Let’s take a look at the spiritual symbolism of rain. 

Pagan Beliefs of Rain

In Paganism and other earthly religions, rain represents the element of water. For a lot of spiritualists, the four elements are really important in connecting with mother earth and her energy. 

The element of water is used for healing and purification. It represents emotions and unconsciousness, revealing our intuitions and higher powers. 

Because of this, the rain is an amazing symbol for many spiritualists. It reminds them of the importance of cleansing and rebirth. Rain allows us to dispel negative energy, being refreshed by its power. 

As rain nourishes and provides for the earth, rain symbolizes fertility for many Pagans and spiritualists. It is important to be thankful for the rain and what it does for the planet. 

Rain Symbolism in the Bible 

Rain symbolism can be found throughout the bible and in the Christian religion. 

There are references to the powerful nature of rain throughout the bible, and it is often symbolized as God's power over the earth.

In the Gospel of Mathew, Jesus says that God makes the ‘rain falls on the just and unjust’. 

Furthermore, in Acts, it is written that God ‘has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons’.

These references to rain show us the power of God, representing his ability to control everything around him. 

Of course, the rain is also a symbol of destruction and transformation. The story of the Flood and Noah's Ark is one of cleansing and transforming the earth. It washes away the sins of the world and therefore allows new life to grow. 

Hawaiian Rain God 

In Hawaiian religion, the God of rain and fertility is called Lono. Many Hawaiians believe that Lono causes the rain to fall, assisting in the growth of crops. 

Lono dwells in the waters and clouds and is associated with storms and rainfall. There is a festival in his honor, asking for him to help with the harvest. 

Rain Symbolism in Hinduism 

Rain is also a symbol of growth and abundance to many Hindus. In Hinduism, the God of rain is called Indra and controls the weather. 

Because of this, many Hindus in ancient times used to pray to Indra before the rainy season to ask him to provide the right amount of rain for their crops. 

Storms and floods are said to be caused when Indra is angry. 

Rain in Native American Cultures 

As we need rain to survive, many Native American cultures have a history of performing rain dances.

These are ceremonial dances performed in order to summon spirits who will help with the rainfall. 

With the help of the spirits, Native Americans can receive the rain that they need in order for their crops to grow. 

Rain is also a symbol of forgiveness in certain Native American cultures. Rain is a healing force, providing growth and support.

Is Rain a Good Omen?

Rain as an omen

You probably know that song by Alanis Morissette. In the song Ironic, she sings, ‘it’s like rain on your wedding day’. For her, rain is ironic, annoying, and definitely not a good omen!

However, rain is actually a good omen for many people, even on their wedding day. According to superstition, rain on your wedding day means that your marriage will last.

It is also a sign of fertility, suggesting that there will be children coming your way. 

Rain is a good omen as it symbolizes washing away the past to embrace the future. 

What Does it Mean if it Rains on Your Birthday?

Rain on your birthday can be annoying, especially if you have plans! However, rain on your birthday is a good sign. 

When it rains on your birthday, it reminds you of the importance of change and growth. 

The rain washes away the last year of your life, allowing you to embrace your future. Rain on your birthday allows you to reinvent yourself, becoming who you truly are. 

What Does Rain Mean For You?

Rain symbolism is incredibly deep and powerful. Rain can represent so much to us, from sadness and regret to cleansing and rebirth. 

There are so many interesting beliefs about rain across the world, with rain having a huge spiritual meaning for loads of different religions. 

So, what does rain mean for you? Do you feel refreshed and renewed every time you go out into the rain?

Or perhaps rain always reminds you of the power of nature and how we must always respect mother earth.

Whatever rain means for you, it is important to remember the beauty and power of rain. Plus, we should never forget that after the rain comes the rainbow.