I'm no Monarchist, far from it, but the imminent meeting between Harper and Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean Governor General of Canada in a few hours at least gives me the excuse to post on Her Majesty's (or whatever) ultra-post-modern, totally twenty-first century Personal Coat of Arms which I have always found completely fascinating. From her own website:
In the centre of the coat of arms is a sand dollar, which is a special talisman for Michaëlle Jean. Sand dollars are marine creatures found on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of Canada and Northern United States. The Royal Crown symbolizes the vice-regal function and service to all Canadians. Above the shield, the sea shell and broken chain allude to the famous sculpture Marron inconnu by Albert Mangonès, displayed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, depicting an escaped slave blowing a sea shell to gather and call to arms his fellow sufferers around the whole island. For Michaëlle Jean this image evokes the victory of her ancestors over barbarism and, more broadly, the call to liberty. Beside the shield are two Simbis, water spirits from Haitian culture who comfort souls, purify troubled waters and intervene with wisdom and foresight. Moreover, the Simbis' words are enlightening and soothing. These two feminine figures symbolize the vital role played by women in advancing social justice. They are shown in front of a rock set with a palm tree, a symbol of peace in Haitian history, and a pine tree representing the natural riches of Canada. The motto Briser les solitudes, which means "Breaking down solitudes", is at the heart of the objectives Michaëlle Jean intends to follow.
From the classic Divine Horsemen:The Living Gods of Haiti by Maya Deren:
"(Simbi) is definitely a cross-roads loa, and his symbol, or vever, is a snake in a field of crosses ... In Simbi's case, the cross-roads principle is extended to the concept of straddling the Rada/Petro division in one direction (it is said that, while Simbi is primarily Rada, a "hungry" Simbi would be invoked through Petro) while in the other direction, he is known as Simbi/en/deux/eux and straddles the waters above and the waters below, which are understood either as the heavenly and the abysmal waters, or as the sweet and salt waters. .... Certainly it is a role for which his pivotal position in the cosmos and in the pantheon equips him admirably, for he radiates in every direction from his central location ... Yet, for all his activity, his personality is more obscure that that of many other loa. Songs refer repeatedly to his reluctance to enter the hounfor gate, his loitering outside, like a sociable neighbour newly come to the district, who is still a little shy for all his knowledge and power."