The horse shows up in almost every mythological writing and the folklore of nations.
There is the mighty winged Pegasus, the eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, of the Norse god Odin, the stallions of the Hindu sun god, the stallions of Apollo and so on. Chiron, the legendary “Centaur,” a half-man half-horse being, is the symbol of the astrological sign Sagittarius. Chiron was a brilliant being and the teacher of the hero Achilles. Legends of centaurs probably started when those cultures who had never seen horses were invaded by men on horseback.
Civilization as we know it would not be possible without the noble horse. Their strength has enabled us to farm and hunt and build and fight and travel, and thereby interact with our fellow humans in ways that would have otherwise been impossible. Without horses’ help, a large section of humanity would still be stuck in the subsistence farmer or hunter/gatherer stage. Horses have enabled the surplus produce. Today, many people think of horses for racing or jumping and just for the sport of the wealthy, but the horse has always been a symbol of true wealth and power because it brought both things and more bounty to human beings.
No single animal has given us the physical freedom of movement. Whether we’re talking about knights or Indian braves, the horse has always been an essential part of the warrior spirit—the brave fighter who brings you safety in your journeys, both physical and in the horse meditation, metaphysical.
For those who interact with them, horses are loving companions and friends, just like all of our animal totem teachers. We’ve chosen them because they are capable of evoking love and friendship in their human admirers. However, the horse is more than a companion—it’s a force multiplier of human intention and so represents not just strength and stamina and great speed, but the ability to control our environment, our awareness of power achieved with true cooperation, the promise of interspecies communication, the extraordinary expanding one’s own potential abilities, and a way of jumping over obstacles.
But don’t forget the wild horse. Before they pulled wagon trains across the prairies opening up new frontiers to be explored, and helped turn the Lakota and Bedouins, and other indigenous tribes, into the powerful mounted warriors and nomads they became, the incredible strength of will of the every horse, especially of the wild mustang horses, had to be “broken.” But taming the horse wasn’t easy, as their spirit for freedom was a fire that burned within them.
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