Saturday 9 May 2015

The horseman

This is a medieval standing stone "Stećak" from Boljuni, Near Stolac, Bosnia. The stone has an engraving of a "man" sitting on a white horse. He is sitting between two sets of two clovers or shamrocks. What does this image represent?

His head is a disc with 12 rays. I believe that this disc represents a solar year with each ray representing one of the 12 months of the solar year. The clovers or shamrocks are often found on the top border of the stećak stone monuments. I wander if in this case, because of their arrangement, they have a special meaning. I believe that in this case, each clover or shamrock represents one season of three months. This means that this picture represents  the day in the middle of the solar year:

6 months (2 clovers, shamrocks X 3 leaves) after the previous winter solstice morning (the birth of the new sun god, the beginning of the new solar year) 


6 months (2 clovers, shamrocks X 3 leaves) before the next winter solstice eve (the death of the old sun god, the end of the old solar year). 

This means that this engraving represents the summer solstice day. In Serbian tradition the Summer solstice the day is called Vidovdan, the day of Sveti Vid, Svetovid.

Well at least it was once. And not just among Serbs. In "Ta Slovenski Kolendar" published in 1557 by Slovenian Protestant cleric Primož Trubar, we can read that "Sveti Vid has the longest day and shortest night"...Sveti Vid here is Summer Solstice, the day of Svetovid (Sventevith), Slavic Sun God...  

Svetovid is the Slavic sun god whose name comes from Svet + Vid = Light + Sight. Interestingly the word "svet" also means world, which does't exist until it is lit up by the light ("svet") of the sun. 

Also the word "cvet", pronounced "tsvet" means flower but also color. 

Sun's light (svet) is white (bel). But that white light contains inside of itself all the other colors (cvet). A color (cvet) is just a part of the frequency specter contained within the light (svet) of the sun. Material things which make up the world (svet) absorb most of the sun's light (svet). The frequencies which are not absorbed are reflected back to our eyes and we see (vid) them as color (cvet). 

Color ("cvet") also does not exist until the world ("svet") is lit up by the light ("svet") of the Sun. 

Interestingly in Sanskrit, the word "श्वेत" zveta means white, and white is the color that contains all other colors (cvet)...

Have you ever been outside in the late evening watching the sun go down? The west is bursting with color and then the sun disappears. What happens when the sun goes behind the horizon? The color disappears too. The world becomes gray and then black. 

And when does the color return to the world? In the morning, when the sun reappears. I don't think that it took our ancestors too long to link the sun light (svet) with color cvet (pronounced tsvet and probably coming from to + svet = that + light, world) and to derive the word for color from the word for light? 

We can't see ("vid") the world ("svet") and colors ("cvet") until the light ("svet") of the Sun falls on them. This is why the Slavic Sun god is called Svetovid. The  holy animal of Svetovid was a white horse. A white horse was kept in Svetovid temples and was used for divination. 

So does the engraving on this standing stone represent Vidovdan, the day of Svetovid, Summer solstice, the middle of the solar year???

Svetovid is also known as Beli Vid, Belbog.

Beli, Bel, Belenos, was the Celtic sun god. 

Is the horseman from the standing stone the same horseman which was depicted on the reverse of so many Celtic coins, like this one?

In Sanskrit the word "राग" (rAga) means "sun, color, beauty, prince..."

In Serbian the word for a very old, almost dead horse is raga. 

Is this why the sun rides on a horse in Serbian and Celtic mythology? 

Maybe the word "raga" once meant solar horse. And maybe it acquired its negative meaning through the influence of Christianity? Who knows, but it is definitely and interesting "coincidence"...

PS: When I originally wrote this article, I didn't know about animal calendar markers...Basically using animals, whose mating or birthing season always happens at the same time during the solar year, as symbol for that part of the solar year...Now I know...

What does this have to do with solar horses? Well, wild horse mating season starts in April and ends in September, peaking on summer solstice, because mare fertility is directly driven by the day length...

I wrote about this in my posts "Trojan horse" and "Unicorn"...


  1. Very interesting! A binary calendar based on solar cycle (6/6). Some think that is what we have with the 35,000 year Lebombo Bone, with its 29 marks. The center mark is the larger - represents the rider on the white horse? The solar cycle is a 28-year cycle of the Julian calendar. That is the calendar borrowed from the ancient Egyptians.

  2. This is so like the Uffington White horse - a figure carved in the northern slopes of the Berkshire Downs.
    Dated to the bronze age, it is suggested that "the horse could have been cut by worshipers of the sun god Belinos or Belenus, who was associated with horses."

  3. Very nice information about European culture. this kind of information very hard to fetch.

  4. Tim, I'm certain you are correct. I made the same connection.
    Dear Serbian Irish, I've been studying these gods and the bit with Svantovit's name coming from light and sight is incorrect. It's Sveti Vid or Saint Vid/Vit better known as Saint Vitus who took over this god's feast at the Summer Solstice. Which is why you have Vidovan, celebrated at the Summer Solstice. However, that doesn't change the fact that Vid is one of the versions of the sun god. I'm making lots of great connection on this deity and I can't wait to get it all written up in a coherent manner and get it to you, so you can figure out clearer connections to the Celts! - Robin (Join my Facebook group, The Roots of Slavic Magic.

  5. Kalasha shrines to the Gods Mahandeo and Varin ( avitars of Indra ) and to the Goddess Jastak use the horse symbol - on Mahandeo shrines 4 horse heads on top give the apperence of a chariot .