The trident flag
Like the flags of some other nations of the Caribbean islands, the flag of Barbados is the result of a contest in order to select the most suitable emblem. The winning emblem was a maritime coat of arms par excellence, that already appeared on the colonial coat of arms and which was kept after independence from the British islands in 1966. It depicts the trident of the sea God Poseidon (Neptune) drawn on an ochre background and flanked by two blue stripes. The reference to the Greek (Roman) antiquity will even become clearer after the following lines.
The trident is the attribute of the sea God, Poseidon (Neptune). Its prongs look like lightning illuminating the sky and ablazing earth. The two lateral prongs, sharpened on one side only, symbolize the ascending and descending paths between the celestial and terrestrial worlds. The central prong, with both sides sharpened, incorporates both lateral paths. It symbolizes the “Middle Path”, the direct way between both worlds.
With its two sharpened profiles, the central prong evokes the double face Roman God Janus. He is looking forward and backwards, towards the past and to the future, but his true face is invisible, beyond time. The elevation beyond the manifestation opens the being onto the non-manifested, the mutation of time into space, the global perception of the world in the perfect simultaneity of the eternal present.
The trident and, more particularly, its central prong symbolizes at once:
- The “Middle Path” transcending both ascending and descending paths between Heaven and Earth.
- The “eternal present” beyond the ordinary temporal distinction between past, present and future.