What is a "rainmaker"?



n.1. Informal One who is known for achieving excellent results in a profession or field, such as business or politics.

2. One who is believed to be capable of producing rain, as through magical or ritual actions.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

rainmaker [ˈreɪnˌmeɪkə]

n1. (Non-Christian Religions / Other Non-Christian Religions) (among American Indians) a professional practitioner of ritual incantations or other actions intended to cause rain to fall

2. (Business / Commerce) Informal chiefly US an influential employee who creates a great deal of business or revenue for his or her firm

rainmaking  n

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

The Story of the Rainmaker


The function and role of the rainmaker is best described in a story. The role of the rainmaker comes from a story from Jung, taken from the Tao of Psychology by Jean Shinoda Bolen and was told to Jung by Richard Wilhelm. It is the story of the rainmaker of Kiaochau:

"There was great drought. For months there had not been a drop of rain and the situation became catastrophic. The Catholics made processions, the Protestants made prayers and the Chinese burned joss-stick, and shot off guns to frighten away the demons of the drought, but with no result. Finally the Chinese said, "We will send for the rainmaker." And from another province a dried-up old man appeared. The only thing he had asked for was a quiet little house, and there he locked himself in for three days.

On the fourth day the clouds gathered and there was a great snow storm at the time of the year when no snow was expected, it snowed an unusual amount, and the town was so full of rumors about the wonderful rainmaker that Richard Wihelm went to ask the man how he did it.

In true European fashion he said, "They call you the rainmaker. Will you tell me how you made the snow?" And the little Chinese man said, "I did not make the snow, I am not responsible." "But what have you done these three days?" "Oh, I can explain that. I come from another country where things are in order. Here they are out of order. They are not as they should be by the ordinance of heaven. Therefore the whole country is not in Tao, and I also am not in the natural order of things because I am in a disordered country.

So I had to wait three days until I was back in Tao and then naturally the rain came.

C.G.Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis 

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