Stories - Reflections

Year of the Horse: 5 Inspirations

Adapted from Monica MagnettiChinese3

The Chinese revere Horse as an elegant, graceful creature, full of diverse symbolism representing intelligence, power and beauty.  2014 was the Year of the Horse, and for us an exceptional year when Horse worked its magic for us.

It’s impossible to appreciate the full power of the Horse without knowing its place in mythology.

  • For the Greeks, Pegasus was entrusted by Zeus to bring lightning and thunder down from Mount Olympus so that humans could have fire. The philosopher Carl Jung saw Pegasus as a profound symbol of spiritual energy, gaining access to the kingdom of the gods on Mount Olympus. Pegasus represents the positive instinctual forces of the subconscious that unify polarities, for example, between what is godlike and what is human.
  • In some ancient cultures, the white horse is a shaman’s mount, and in other cultures the personification of water. The white Horse can represent what is good and magical, elevating us to our higher self; its counterpart, the black horse, is to some the dark side, and the connection to our demonic self.
  • The Horse is recognized by the Chinese to be its ethos:  making unremitting efforts to improve themselves.  Horse is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people designated an able person as Qianli Ma, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (500,000 meters or 310 miles).

An animal so symbolically versatile is the perfect connection to our own versatile inner self.  As you move into the Year of the Horse… what metaphor inspires you?

Working Horse WORKING HORSE: Individual Work & Personal Growth
Whether they are munching on grass or working, horses can deliver individually. The working horse shows us how a single unit can make a tangible difference.  In rural areas of many countries we find horses working individually in the fields, plowing land or cultivating crops.

There is something intensely powerful about watching a horse. Horses can relate to other animals and to humans, to their own breed and to other breeds. They lend a calmness and competence to wherever they are and whatever they are doing. They are hardworking, yet beautiful and intelligent in ways that elevate them above the hard work. Ask yourself who you are in your individual work.  How can the horse inspire you to find your inner calm and playfulness in ways that enhance your work? If you were a horse, what would set you apart from all the other horses?

Black StallionBLACK STALLION:  Beauty & Purpose
We all can visualize the black stallion kicking up his heels and neighing, conquering the very air around him and demanding our attention and respect.  We marvel at his beauty and purpose, his power and freedom, and are inspired by his independence.  We’re often inspired by beautiful animals, and some even inspire the soul to match their beauty and personality.

The black stallion represents individual strength and purpose, and the ability to accomplish anything with grace yet potency. He grabs and holds our attention, and gets the job done. Metaphorically, the black stallion is the foil of the winged beauty of Pegasus and its connection to Heaven — the stallion connects us to the deeper and much more challenging dark side of our personality. At the same time, he guides us as we embrace our fears and supports us as we face our challenges.  If you were a black stallion, what would you set out to conquer?

Pegasus WhitePEGASUS: Connecting to a Higher Source
As the bearer of Zeus’s divine thunderbolt, Pegasus soars in the mythological sky and is transformed into a constellation to honor him for his earthly and heavenly deeds.

What better legend for a mystical creature? A  winged horse, born out of the blood issuing from Medusa’s neck when she was decapitated by Perseus, Pegasus was loved and admired by humans, gods and goddesses. Able to fly to the top of Mount Olympus and win Zeus’ trust, Pegasus symbolizes our inherent power and ability to pursue any mission in life, even when the path is strewn with complications. From the legend comes the Pegasus Syndrome, the ability to fly over any situation and conquer realms seemingly out of reach.  Who would you be if you explored your inherent connection to a higher source? If you were fearless and trusting of your powerful nature and purity of spirit? Imagine your life guided by trust and your powerful presence.

WILD HERD: Power in Teamwork
Wild Herd RunningFew of us have seen a herd of wild horses thundering across the terrain.  Free and self-assured, without boundaries yet fully-grounded, these herds of mixed age, size and color show us the power of the diverse team.

With not one member out of step, they cover huge distances in synchronic rhythm, conquering their space, living one day at a time, yet with a strategy that ensures that they all thrive. Who wouldn’t wish for such ability to relate to one’s environment and find balance in their workplace, family and personal life?  What inspiration can you take from the herd of wild horses to free your team to find its best? How can you lead your team of co-workers, colleagues, family, friends so that every member can gain the freedom to stand tall?

WHITE HORSE:  Our Duality
The white horse symbolizes the way in which our inner prince unites with our inner princess.  While fairy tales of “rescue” attribute the Prince on a white horse saving the Maiden Princess  –feminine weakness being rescued by masculine strength–  another interpretation suggests that we all have a weak inner self and a strong inner self. It is only when the two come together that we become the complete person we are. The white horse represents the bridge between these two polarities.                            White Horse DancingWhat parts of yourself feel insufficient?  What parts need to combine in order to manifest your full inner strength? Who would you be if you were the white horse connecting the polarities within you?

Horses are powerful figures in most religions and mythologies. Many myths depict the horse’s clairvoyance and ability to recognize the magic in humans. Some depict the horse as a symbol of strength and allegiance, and as one of the few animals that show sorrow over the loss of a dead master. A symbol of loyalty and deep connection, the horse also embodies the warrior spirit, bravery and courage.

The Year of the Horse continues to ripple.  This year, expand your understanding of your inner self.  Challenge yourself to embrace the qualities Horse evokes in you.  May the warrior spirit and benevolent disposition of Horse nudge you out of your comfort zone and into a year that is extraordinary!