Does anyone else think that this picture, allegedly showing king John on a stag hunt, looks strange, and may be hiding something in plain sight?
Well I checked and officially there is nothing special about this picture. It is simply a picture depictint the king who liked hunting chasing a stag day and night.
But maybe, just maybe, there is more in this image than meets the eye.
In Europe, St John's day, (Ivandan, Jovandan in Slavic languages) is Christianized Midsummer, Summer solstice celebration.
In Serbia Midsummer, Summer, Summer solstice day is also known as Vidovdan, day dedicated to Svetovid, sun god. The sacred animal of Svetovid is white horse. This is an image of the solar rider on a white horse is also found on (medieval???) standing stones from Bosnia.
I already wrote about this in my post "The horseman".
The rider of the solar horse on Celtic coins often had solar head, a head with hair sticking out like sun rays. The rider was the sun, sun god. We can see this from the fact that the rider is sometimes the sun disc. John has the ray crown which actually represents the sun rays. The same crown was worn by Sun god in later Roman period of Sol Invictus worship and by emperors who worshiped the sun god. This is Aurelian in his radiate crown on the left with Sol Invictus on the right.
The crown that John is wearing is the same radiate crown, the solar crown.
King John is chasing the stag, another solar symbol.
The same stag hunt scene is represented on many Bosnian medieval standing stones, like this one from Crljivica:
King John is also holding his hand in a very strange way, with the palm pointing up, towards the sky, towards the sun. The reason why palm up means salvation is because sun god and heaven is "up". The reason why palm down means damnation is because earth, devil and hell is "down". And he is pointing up...Towards the sun on the St John's day, the day of the summer solstice. The day when the sun, the king of heaven is on his throne, the highest point the sun reaches in the sky on the northern hemisphere...
Lastly, the corners of the picture are very interesting. They all have the same symbol, "the hands of god" which represent the solar year, divided into four seasons around solstices and equinoxes with three months each...The god whose hands these are is the sun.
This symbol is found on Serbian Christmas cakes. Christmas is the Christianized winter solstice celebration, the celebration of the birth of the new sun, new solar year. This is why there is so much solar imagery on Serbian Christmas cakes which are votive offerings to the sun god.
You can read more about these cakes and their ritual use in my post "Can you see me".
No what about the lanterns? Well officially they are not lanterns at all, but just "patterns"...In Serbia midsummer celebrations and customs have been during Christian time spread through the summer and associated with several summer saints. One of these is St Peter's day which used to be celebrated on the is celebrated on the 28th of June according to Julian calendar but is today celebrated on the 12th of July according to the Gregorian calendar. During St Peter's day celebrations in Serbia people light up special votive torches called "lile".
I believe that these were once lite up on the eve of the summer solstice. In Southern Europe (including Angevin domains in southern France) this is the time when grain ripens and the time when fireflies light up the night.
South Slavic words for firefly are "svitac", "svitnjak", "svijetnjak", "svitaljka", "cvitnjak", "kris", "krijes", "kres", "kresnica"...These are also words used for fire and torches which are lit up on the shortest night of the year, as part of the Slavic summer solstice celebrations...
So that's it.
Well yes and yes.
Overanalyzing of a pretty but otherwise meaningless painting?
That is possible too.
We will never know :)