Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The first rainbow flag

Rule of thumb: The devil is the ape of God. Everything Satanic is a perversion of something divine.

In my first Joan of Arc post I reproduced a picture of Joan I had seen at The Thinking Housewife, showing Joan on a white horse holding a red banner on which is written "Au nom de Dieu" ("in the name of God"), and noted its similarity to the Rider-Waite Sun card.

The real Joan's banner was not red, though, but white, and bore a different device. Here is how she described it at her trial (all quotes and images are from

I had a standard whose field was sown with lilies. There was a figure of Christ holding the world and on each side of Him was an angel. It was made of a white fabric called “boucassin”. Written above: Jhesus Maria, as it seems to me, and it was fringed in silk.

Joan's banner has not survived (it was, appropriately, burned during the French Revolution), but here is how one artist depicted its central figure.

Jesus is seated on the rainbow -- called, perhaps not coincidentally, l'arc-en-ciel in French. A few historical accounts back this up.

In 1440, Eberhard Windecke a businessman from Mayençais wrote: "And the girl left with her banner which was made of white silk. Painted there was the image Our Lord God with His wounds, Who was seated on the rainbow. On each side (of Christ) was an angel who held a lily."

The city of Tournai, Flanders, (modern day Belgium) was in Jeanne's time loyal to the King of France. This city's 1455 chronicle states: "Standard of white satin, in which Jhesus Christ sitting on a rainbow, showing His wounds, and on each side (of Christ), an angel hold up to Him a fleurs de lys."

And here is a modern description by Jean-Claude Colrat.

Painted on the broadest part of the standard, the part closest to the pole, was the Apocalyptic image of Christ Who was seated on a rainbow, with the wounds in His side, hands and feet exposed. He was shown wearing a light red tunic and a bright red cloak. His right hand held the world (a blue sphere) and His left hand was raised in blessing. Christ was surrounded in an iridescent golden 'mandorle.' 

Here is another artist's depiction.

For all the details -- and I do mean all the details -- about "the Apocalyptic image of Christ," featuring the rainbow, the reader is referred to my very long post The Throne and the World. It is from this image that the final trump of the Tarot evolved -- called The World and numbered 21, the number of the coming year.

I note that this card is prominently featured in the Grateful Dead's new "Ripple" video (discussed here), but that the human face in the upper left has been replaced with a crow.

No comments:

Above Majestic (with an excursus on turban jokes)

Last Halloween, I posted " Francis Bacon, papal keys, triple tiara, Denver Airport ," which included a meme referencing that airpo...