Something More on Symbols and British Perfidy


In light of the scandal with the revealed tough US pressure on the European Union regarding the conclusion of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the recent quite “juicy” visit of the American head of state in London has been somehow forgotten. We recall that on the eve of the arrival in the United Kingdom, Barack Obama published in the "Daily Telegraph" an article, in which he clearly told the US “special partners” that EU Brexit is unacceptable and actually threatened to decrease the level of financial and economic cooperation between the US and the UK should it happen.

This step provoked a very negative reaction from British social and political circles, and the mayor of London (now, the ex-one) Boris Johnson even said that Obama seems to be driven by his hostility to everything related to the British Empire inherited from his Kenyan ancestry. Nevertheless, the visit took place, and the American (although not without some reproaches) congratulated the Queen on her 90th birthday, and had a joint press conference with the Prime Minister David Cameron, during which he broadly repeated what he had wrote in the notorious article. After that many experts started to talk again about the irrevocable end of the British power and the British being relegated to the status of an “ordinary European country” that is under overseas hegemony, regardless of its imperial past. Meanwhile, some of the details of the visit show that the relations between the two Atlantic powers are not so plain, and that, in many cases, they remain “special”, even in the context of the “subject-object,” “power-subordination" correlates.

While one looks through the shots of the Obama family’s visit to Windsor Castle, one photo catches the eye. In this photo we can see against the background of the rather informal, almost home, furnishings standing from left to right: Elizabeth II, Barack and Michelle, and Prince Philip. Behind the American president there is a mirror, in the reflection of which we can hardly see the edge of his head, and the main position is taken by the statuette of a rearing black horse with its head turned to the viewer. In other words, the US president, almost like a vampire, nearly is not reflected in the mirror. Instead of him we see the enraged or unbroken black horse. Interestingly, in the photo the equestrian statue is also visible behind the Queen, but it is not the reflection, but the real one (that is, it really stands behind the Queen, and not in front of her, as is the case with Obama, and looks sideward).

The horse figure has been deeply symbolic since the ancient times. It is enough to mention that from the Latin “caballus” (“horse”) takes its name the Hermetic Qabalah - the language of the Birds and Gods, the true one, at least from the perspective of the Hermeticists and the alchemists, the language of Being, that is available not to all, but only to the selected few. From here also originates the word “cavalier” ("knight") - again, one, who has been initiated. The Hermetic doctrine (as well as Orthodox, and almost any other tradition) teaches that the manifested outer world is not the true one, and offers to break through to the true meanings and to what really exists. From this perspective, the British photographers in a sense call to ignore the visible political events and relationships, but behold what is behind/before them. As far as the photograph is concerned, they actually dehumanise Obama: instead of him we see in the mirror the unbridled (a reference to the scandal with inappropriate advice?) black horse.

If we remember that, in heraldry, art and psychology, the horse is often interpreted as a symbol of the powerful, but animal power subjected to emotions and far from intelligence, the British message becomes even more obvious: the US president is not the subject of world politics, and his impulsive instincts must be tamed and guided by the people, to whom the "nonbifurcating" royal family seemingly belongs. (A similar technique was used by the British Royal House in case of the appointment of Angelina Jolie a honorary dame).

One can look at the whole mise en scene in a different way. The horse is an animal of European colonizers, which neither America nor Africa knew before their arrival. Here the black horse, which is also a symbol of a nightmare and death, prepares to unleash its hooves on the head of the American president. One may guess whether it was a hint about the TTIP leak being prepared and what other “surprises” Obama will face before the end of his term. In any case, the facial expressions of the British queen and her husband did not promise anything positive for the American parvenu, who had gone beyond any reasonable borders...

In general, the British seem to have once again demonstrated their superiority over the straightforward Americans. And yet we must not succumb to the charm of their sophisticated mind and subtle perfidy. After all, in the Russian fairytale, Sivka-Burka, the magic horse, opening the way to the depths of the sea and the heights of heaven, surrenders only to Ivan the Fool as he is poor in spirit and pure in heart. So his is the kingdom of Heaven.