Wind, or aeolus (Period)

Wind, or aeolus (Period)

Winds are masses of air in natural motion.  Invisible in nature, they’re depicted in art as a human heads issuant from cloud, usually shown visibly blowing air from their mouths.  Frequently depicted in period art (e.g., on maps), we know of a single example in period armory, in the canting arms of de Zeffiro, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 268:233].

In Society blazon, the generic wind may also be called an “aeolus”.  Other types of wind include the “boreas”, an icy-bearded old man; the “zephyr”, an androgynous youth; and the female “mistral”.  Winds face dexter by default, and should be shown in profile (though some are affronty); they should never be in trian aspect.  For related charges, see head (human).

The Canton of Elvegast bears:  Per chevron azure and vert, in chief two aeoli with breaths conjoined at fess point argent, in base a laurel wreath Or.

Mistral de L’Isle sur Tarn bears:  Per fess wavy vert and azure, issuant from chief a mistral and from base four piles wavy inverted conjoined at the fess point argent.

Cassandra de la Mistral bears:  Azure, a boreas affronty argent.

Æsa Þorarinsdottir bears:  Azure, a zephyr argent and a bordure rayonny Or.

This entry was posted on June 8, 2014, in .


Thunderbolt (Period)

Thunderbolt (Period)

A thunderbolt is a winged, swirling pillar of flame, thrown from the hand of God or the gods.  It may be shown with lightning bolts behind it, crossed in saltire; the pillar is palewise by default.  Described in de Bara’s Blason des Armoiries, 1581 [128], and Guillim’s Display of Heraldrie, 1610 [99], the thunderbolt is accepted for Society use… but Your Author knows of no actual examples of the thunderbolt in period armory.

Caris Maniske bears:  Per fess argent and purpure, a thunderbolt counterchanged.

Huldah von Jal bears:  Per bend sinister sable and gules, a thunderbolt Or.

Marcus Marius Leontius Britannicus bears:  Gules, a thunderbolt and a chief embattled Or.

This entry was posted on June 5, 2014, in .


Sunburst (Period)

Sunburst (Period)

A sunburst is a group of sun’s rays, issuing from clouds.  It has been a Royal badge of England since Edward III [HB 96].  The sunburst has its rays to chief by default.

At one time, sunbursts Or were disallowed in Society armory, as being unique to the Plantagenets; but as sunbursts Or were later shown to have been used by others as well, they are now as permissible as sunbursts of other tinctures.

See also heavenly bodies.

Dag Eriksson bears:  Per pale purpure and azure, three sunbursts Or issuant from clouds argent.

Konstantin von Bayern bears:  Per pale azure and sable, a sunburst inverted Or clouded argent.

Tigranes of Bezabde bears:  Argent, a sunburst gules issuant from clouds sable, a bordure gules.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .


Sun in his splendor (Period)

Sun in his splendor (Period)

The sun is a heavenly body, the day star around which the planets revolve.  It began to be used as an heraldic charge early, in the arms of de la Hay, c.1255 [ANA2 550].  The sun is most commonly drawn as a disk with multiple rays emanating from the edge; these rays are normally drawn as alternating straight and wavy rays.  However, many period depictions (especially in early period) made all the rays straight, and showed no disk; other depictions (especially on the Continent) showed only wavy rays.  A sun is thus negligibly different from a mullet or estoile of many points.

A sun “in his splendor” or “in his glory” is depicted with a human face; this artistic nuance seems to have begun in the early 15th Century and had come into common use by Tudor times.  A “sun eclipsed” in mundane blazonry is simply a sun sable; in Society blazonry, a “sun eclipsed” is one whose center disk is another tincture than the rays, or whose center disk is obscured by a roundel.  In early Society usage, the eclipsed disk was sable by definition; current practice is to explicitly blazon the tincture of the eclipsing.  The eclipsing may be of any tincture, but eclipsing of a divided tincture is deemed a step from period practice.

Ray of the sun issuant from dexter chief (Period)

Ray of the sun issuant from dexter chief (Period)

A “ray of the sun” is a demi-sun issuant from the edge of the shield, with one ray elongated to cross the field.  The arms of Aldam, 1632 [Guillim2 120] explicitly state the ray’s direction, and this must be done in Society armory as well; the illustration shows a ray of the sun issuant from dexter chief (and therefore bendwise).

The King of Atenveldt bears:  Azure, a sun in his splendour Or within a laurel wreath argent, in chief a crown of three greater and two lesser points Or.

The Prince of Insula Draconis bears:  Per fess sable and azure, a demi-sun in splendour issuant from the line of division within a laurel wreath, in chief a crescent Or.

Wendryn Townsend bears:  Azure, a sun in glory Or.

Esteban San Buenaventura bears:  Or, three suns in splendor sable.

Kourost Bernard of the East Woods bears:  Sable, a sun eclipsed Or [i.e., a sun Or eclipsed sable].

Gairovald Eburhard bears:  Sable, issuant from dexter chief a demi-sun argent.

Pascal Brendan Merredy bears:  Vert, a ray of the sun bendwise Or, in sinister chief a chalice argent.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .


The term “star” was once used in Society heraldry as a synonym for “mullet”, particularly in the phrase “stars au naturel”:  mullets of various sizes and shapes, so as to represent actual heavenly bodies.  Such natural depictions of the night sky, along with constellations (e.g., Orion), are no longer permitted in Society heraldry; and the ambiguous term “star” has been discarded in favor of “mullet“, “estoile“, or “comet“, as the case may be.

Petr Aleksivich of Novgorod bears:  Azure semy of stars, a hawk volant contourny wings addorsed argent.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2014, in .


Rainbow (Period)

Rainbow (Period)

A rainbow is a multi-colored arc found in the sky in rainy or misty weather.  As depicted in heraldry, it’s an arc fesswise, embowed to chief, the ends terminating in clouds.  The default heraldic rainbow has four bands; when blazoned “proper”, these bands are Or, gules, vert, and argent, with argent clouds [Parker 488].  On a light field, the bands’ order is changed:  azure, vert, Or, and gules, with the tincture of the clouds to be specified.  The rainbow is a period charge:  a rainbow throughout proper is found in the arms of von Mosen, 1605 [Siebmacher 159].

The “natural rainbow proper”, a Society invention, has white clouds, and seven colored bands, as found in nature:  red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  As it’s the rainbow, not the clouds, that must be recognized, a natural rainbow proper may not be used on a color field.  Its use is considered a step from period practice.  See also heavenly bodies.

The Baron of Sundragon bears:  Argent, a rainbow gules, argent, azure, Or and purpure, clouded within a laurel wreath azure.

Adriana of Hawkwood bears:  Ermine, a rainbow proper clouded azure, a bordure sable.

Gabrielle Cartier bears:  Or, a natural rainbow proper clouded sable, a chief indented pean.

This entry was posted on June 2, 2014, in .


Mullet (Period)

Mullet (Period)

Spur rowel, or mullet of six points pierced (Period)

Spur rowel, or mullet of six points pierced (Period)

A mullet is a geometric figure, originally meant as the rowel of a spur, but commonly used to represent a star or other heavenly body.  It’s an ancient charge, also called a “molet” in early blazons; it dates from at least 1244, in the arms of de Vere, Earl of Oxford [Asp2 221].  All mullets have a point to chief by default.

The default mullet has five points, as in the illustration.  Mullets of six or eight points were also very common in period; examples with seven or nine points are found.  Indeed, Society heraldry has seen mullets with as few as three and as many as twelve points.  No difference is granted for the number of points.

Note that mullets with unusual numbers of points may be too readily confused with other charges.  For instance, a mullet of three points is indistinguishable from a caltrap, and is only barely recognizable as a mullet; it is no longer permitted in Society armory for that reason.  On the other end of the scale, a mullet of more than eight points is indistinguishable from a sun, and gets no difference from it (indeed, it will frequently be so blazoned).

A mullet may be “pierced”, with a circular hole in its center.  In particular, a mullet of six points pierced (as in the illustration) may also be called a “spur rowel”.

Mullets are found “voided and interlaced” in period, as in the arms of Degelin von Wangen, 1605 [Siebmacher 119].  For many years, Society heraldry did not permit mullets of five points to be voided and interlaced:  the motif was seen as a mystical or Satanic symbol.  Currently, with the wider acceptance of wiccan religion, the motif is acceptable under the same guidelines as other religious symbols.  Mullets with more points may likewise be voided and interlaced:  in the case of six points, the result is the star of David.

Mullet of eight interlocking mascles (SFPP)

Mullet of eight interlocking mascles (SFPP)

Period armory shows us rare examples of a multi-pointed mullet with a single point elongated (usually to base):  cf. the arms of Beneditti, c.1550 [BSB Cod.Icon 275:137].  These are considered to be an artistic variant of the comet, and are treated as such.  A “mullet of four points elongated to base” is acceptable, based on this pattern, but is considered a step from period practice.  At one time, Society practice also allowed mullets to be “elongated palewise”, i.e., with one point elongated to chief and another to base; this is no longer permitted.

Society practice allows other charges to be combined to form a mullet, although the combination’s outline must resemble a mullet to be blazoned as such.  Thus the Society has examples of, e.g., a “mullet of five pheons, hafts conjoined”, or a “mullet of eight interlocking mascles”.  The latter is considered a step from period practice.



Compass star (SFPP)

Compass star (SFPP)

Rivenstar (Disallowed)

Rivenstar (Disallowed)

There are other variants of the mullet, unique to Society heraldry.  The “compass star” is a mullet of four greater and four lesser points; its use is considered a step from period practice, and not permitted at all when elongated to base.  (Likewise, any mullet of greater and lesser points is deemed a step from period practice: e.g., the “mullet of five greater and five lesser points”.)  The “riven star” is essentially a compass star disjointed per bend sinister; as it has no period exemplars, the riven star is no longer registerable.

Some mullet variants are blazoned as though they were other charges:  A “cross estoile” is a mullet of four points elongated to base; the usage does not appear to be period.  A “sword of Höflichkeit” is an obsolete Society term for a mullet of four points elongated to base, gyronny Or and sable.

In English cadency, the mullet is the brisure of the third son.  For related charges, see compass rose, cross estoile, estoile.  See also sparks.

The King of Ansteorra bears:  Or, a mullet of five greater and five lesser points sable within a laurel wreath vert, in chief a crown of three points, all within a tressure sable, overall issuant from base a demi-sun gules.

The Prince of Tir Mara bears:  Argent, a compass star within a laurel wreath azure and a base engrailed barry engrailed azure and argent.

The Baron of Rivenstar bears:  Azure, a riven star between in bend sinister two laurel wreaths, all argent.

The Baron of Brendoken bears:  Per pale vert and sable, a mullet of eight points within a laurel wreath Or.

Áine ingen Néill mec Lugdech bears:  Gules, three mullets argent.

Selivia de l’Estoile bears:  Gyronny of six purpure and argent, a mullet of six points azure.

Aelfwine Denedom bears:  Quarterly vert and sable, a mullet of four points throughout argent.

Paul of Sunriver bears:  Azure, a compass star Or.

Robert FitzNorman bears:  Azure, a mullet of eight interlocking mascles argent.

Michel le Blanc bears:  Barry sable and argent, a mullet of three points pallwise throughout Or.

Katerine Rowley bears:  Quarterly azure and Or, four spur-rowels counterchanged.

Ailis Linne bears as a badge:  A mullet of five points voided and interlaced within and conjoined to an annulet azure.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .


Moon in her plenitude (Period)

Moon in her plenitude (Period)

Increscent moon (Period)

Increscent moon (Period)

The moon is a heavenly body, Earth’s natural satellite, and may be emblazoned in several ways.  A “moon in her complement” or “in her plenitude” is essentially a roundel with a human face; this form is found in the arms of de Fontibus, c.1225 [Parker 414], and the arms of Stein, c.1340 [Zurich 400].  An “increscent (or decrescent) moon” is a crescent with a human face in profile; this seems to be a later form, as in the arms of Weber, 1605 [Siebmacher 39].  (The illustration shows an increscent moon.)

According to Parker, a “moon proper” is argent, and a “moon eclipsed” is sable; but Society armory doesn’t recognize these definitions, permitting the moon to be in any tincture.

The Shire of Malagentia bears:  Purpure, a moon in her complement within a laurel wreath argent.

Doniphan non Sequitur bears:  Barry argent and sable, a moon in her plenitude azure.

Lourana Moonwind bears:  Gules, a decrescent moon within an orle of mullets Or.

This entry was posted on May 22, 2014, in .


Lightning bolt (SFPP); lightning flash (Disallowed)

Lightning bolt palewise (SFPP); lightning flash palewise (Disallowed)

Lightning is a huge electrical discharge common in violent weather.  It was often represented in period art as “fire from heaven”.  In Society heraldry, lightning is represented as “flashes” and “bolts”.  The distinction is made in blazonry to denote two different styles of emblazonry, one of which was common in early Society armory but is no longer permitted.

A “lightning flash” is a tapering bevilled stripe, found in modern comic books; for that reason, it’s sometimes termed (only half-jokingly) a “shazam”.  As a purely modern depiction, this form is no longer permitted in Society heraldry.

A “lightning bolt” is an embattled stripe with barbs at either end.  The depiction is period:  two lightning bolts in saltire are found in the standard emblazon of the thunderbolt [de Bara 128].  This form is still permitted in Society heraldry, though it’s considered a step from period practice when not used as part of a thunderbolt.  As it has no default, the orientation must be explicitly blazoned; the illustration shows both forms of lightning palewise.

Japanese lightning flash lozengewise (probable SFPP at least)

Japanese lightning flash lozengewise (probable SFPP at least)

Japanese Mon represent lightning (inazuma) in a distinctive stylization, as borne by Yamashina [Hawley 75], but this has not yet been dated to period.

Algarth of Mount Coruscation bears:  Per chevron azure and gules, two lightning flashes in pile argent.

Rosaline Weaver bears:  Argent, a lightning bolt palewise azure.

Phillip of Ghent bears as a badge: Sable, issuant from a single strand, double spiral Japanese lightning flash lozengewise, in chief and in base two scarpes argent.

This entry was posted on March 17, 2014, in .

Heavenly bodies

This category of charges includes all phenomena seen in the sky, both astronomical and meteorological.  A large variety are found in both medieval and Society heraldry.  These are always stylized; representational depictions should be discouraged.  For specific examples of heavenly bodies, see: cloud, comet, crescent, estoile, moon, mullet, rainbow, sun, sunburst.

This entry was posted on February 10, 2014, in .