Egyptian Sun god Horus and Mother goddess Mut are both typically represented wearing a red and white crown called the Pschent or Double Crown of Egypt. This is a crown formed by combining the red crown (Deshret) of Lower Egypt with the white crown (Hedjet) of Upper Egypt. Horus’ father, Osiris, wears an Atef which is the white crown of Upper Egypt surrounded by two Ostrich feathers, and sometimes with a gold disc on top. In the coded imagery of the Game, it seems that alternating red and white colors symbolize unity.
The red crown of Lower Egypt is associated with the letter “N” (N red crown). It features a stylized Uraeus that, in art and hieroglypics, looks like a “curl” springing forward from the back part of the crown, extending forward. In later crowns, and on the sarcophagi of pharoahs like Psusennes, Ramses, and Tutankhamun, the Uraeus “curl” springs from the center of the forehead. The “curl on the forehead” is a sun symbol, no doubt related to the uraeus (or its absence) and to the idea of a “third eye” (or its blindness).
Wars of the Roses and the Tudor Rose
The Wars of the Roses (1455-1487) were wars for the throne of England which followed on the heels of the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). The Hundred Years War involved France, England, Spain, and the Low Countries around the English Channel. For England that makes about 150 years – or five generations – of war.
During the Wars of the Roses, the House of York was represented by a white rose, and the house of Lancaster by a red rose. The war ended with the victory of Henry Tudor over Richard III. After assuming the throne as Henry VII, Henry Tudor married Elizabeth of York, uniting the two warring houses. This unification was represented by the Tudor Rose: a sun-yellow center surrounded by 5 white petals which are in turn surrounded by 5 red petals.
Red and White as a representation of unity
The idea of red and white as a representation of the reunification of a divided and war torn kingdom connects the red and white Tudor Rose to the red and white Pschent. I believe it may also be the reason why red and white stripes are used as a design element on the United States flag, shield, and seal.
Japan’s “sun disc” and “rising sun” flags are red and white as well.
Whether Japan’s rising sun flag design is related to the mythology of Ancient Egypt or something more traditionally Japanese (or both), I have a strong hunch that Japan has been part of the Game since 16th century when the Francis Xavier and the Jesuits began to do missionary work there.
The Tarot deck was developed in Europe about the time the Wars of the Roses ended in England. The final ruler associated with the Tudor family was Queen Elizabeth I, about a century later. Her reign, 1558–1603, was known as a relatively peaceful “Golden Era” where the arts flourished.
The sun is often represented as white and/or black, or when it is invisible, grey. There may be different values attached to white and/or black, but since both are Sun colors, and it is likely that the meaning of red and black stripes, or red and brown stripes, is very close to that of red and white stripes.
Decoding the candy cane
One of the common places to find sun symbolism is imprinted on coins around the world. Because the Sun is called “pepper” and money is made at the “Mint,” I think it’s interesting that in the United States, white and red striped peppermint candy canes are traditionally associated with Christmas. They are also traditionally curved into a “hook” on top. It has been said, but never historically proven, that the curved shape is supposed to represent a shepherd’s crook or a “J” for Jesus.
There is obviously a very old conflict at the center of the Game, I would say between the “pagan” gods of Rome (who’s lineage can be traced to ancient Egypt) and the relatively new “Son of God,” Jesus Christ, who replaced them. The idea of a cyclic/sacrifical Sun King is, from what I can see, a point of connection between both of these worlds. Another point of connection is December 25, the date we celebrate Christ’s birthday, which occurs about the same time as the winter solstice and the Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun.” This is the time of year the days are shortest and getting ready to extend again.
One other possible connection to December 25 is that is the date that Norman King William The Conqueror became king of England.
Because of those red and white stripes on Christmas peppermint sticks, I think the candy cane shape may represent the “curl” on the double crown of Unified Egypt and/or the letter J for “Jack” as well as a hook or shepherd’s crook.