☙ My coat of arms ❧

Party per fess wavy Purpure and Argent, a bunch of grapes hanging from a pair of antlers counterchanged, in chief three mullets of the second.
A demi-otter rampant proper, bearing in its forepaws a caduceus Argent.
Assume no malice
You can hover over or tap on text with dotted underlines to get a translation from jargonese to English.

↑ The above is my very own personal heraldic achievement.1 It’s not registered with any relevant authority (do i look like i’m made of money?), but heraldry is fun, so if the College of Arms want to sue me, that’s their problem.

I. The escutcheon

A purple and white shield decorated with a wave across the middle and a bunch of grapes beneath a pair of antlers.

The shape of the field is generally inconsequential — shield, oval, loz­enge, square, whatever.2 I do like to emblazon it as a triangle on occasion, such as on this website’s homepage, for some extra pride-themed pizzazz.

Purple has always been one of my favourite colours; the connection with the LGBT community, as well as the grapes (of course), help bolster its symbolic value. When combined with gold, it looked a bit too, ah, Ukip-y for my tastes, so silver it was instead.

The wavy division of the field is a subtle cant on genderfluidity, as well as referring to my general affinity for water and the ocean (more on that later).

The grapes symbolise my devotion to Dionysos, young old God of wine, merriment, effeminacy, general debauchery, and more.

The tree-like antlers represent the two sides of my family, split by the North Sea, with the deer being a common animal across Europe.

The three stars originally represented three national identities — English, Dutch, and European — and though that interpretation no longer resonates with me as it once did, they provide a vital balance in the design of the shield, and may well open themselves up to emerging symbolism in the future.

II. The crest

An otter bearing a silver caduceus.

Me and the water have a long history. In the low-lying, flood-prone 3 Nether­lands, all schoolchildren have to take mandatory swimming lessons, just in case the dykes ever break again. Britain, too, has a famed history of seafaring; from Anglo-Saxon longboats to the Windrush generation, traversing the water has been a necessity for this island nation.

So, why an otter? Much like the otter, i’ve been referred to as “semi-aquatic”, for all the above reasons. Plus, on the side, i’m a part-time furry,4 with an otter as my fursona. (Forgive me.)

It carries in its paws the mythological caduceus. Carried by Hermes, God of commerce, trickery, language, travel, and many more things far too numerous to list here, the snake-ensnared staff has naturally gained a great many meanings over the centuries.

It’s most often5 used as a symbol of international logistics, coöperation, and translation — which i hold in great regard, as someone who hails from two countries myself — and has also picked up an odd connection to us transgendered folk, thanks to the story of Tiresias (a legendary seer who lived as a woman for seven years and, in some tellings, caused the staff’s creation) and the androgynous Hermaphroditos.

III. The motto

Assume no malice

This motto — Assume no malice — is a rephrasing of Hanlon’s razor, the idea that things are more often explained by misunderstanding and ignorance than deliberate malice and, thus, one should assume good faith on the part of the actor. It’s a concept i try to live my life by.

IV. Supporters

Being a mere plebe, i’m not entitled to supporters under either of my home nations’ heraldic traditions.6 Were i ever to be elevated to a rank of such distinction, though, i’d choose a roebuck and a goat: a roebuck as an animal that spans both England and the low counties, and a goat for the Dionysian connection.7

For a compartment, i would specify a dogger, nodding to the sunken North Sea plains of Doggerland as well as the two countries’ maritime traditions.

V. History

I went through quite a few designs for my arms before the current iteration. You can find the previous versions in the table below.

VI. Armigerous .com-panions

Many others around the web have also armed themselves. An incomplete list of those who have detailed their heraldic achievements on their website:

If you own a personal website with detail of your coat of arms and would like to be listed, leave a comment and let me know!

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