Horse Animal Medicine: Power

Perhaps more than any other animal, the horse has been humanity’s closest partner in the animal kingdom. In ordinary reality, it has carried its rider over distances and made communication possible. It has helped to shift heavy loads, and in the tilling of the soil. In non-ordinary reality, the horse has carried the shamanic journeyer to communicate at other realms of existence, to shifts of consciousness, and to till the soil of deeper levels of the mind.

American Indians honored the horse as a sacred animal. In Britain and Northern Europe, magical fraternities once practiced both the natural and supernatural powers associated with the cult of the horse.

As a power animal, Horse, is primarily a message carrier and is often concerned with traversing “gateways.” It is associated with the power and responsibility that comes from exercising authority, and the wisdom required to use it in a balanced way.   On an emotional level, Horse is connected with the need for compassionate understanding.

Horse is related especially with the power of knowledge and wisdom and with communication and sharing. Communicate.

“Stealing horses is stealing power,” was a statement made frequently in historical native America and a reference to the esteemed role which Horse played in the native cultures. Horse is physical power and unearthly power. In shamanic practices throughout the world, Horse enables shamans to fly through the air and reach heaven.

Humanity made a great leap forward when Horse was domesticated, a discovery akin to the of fire. Before Horse, humans were earthbound, heavy-laden, and slow creatures indeed. Once humans climbed on Horse’s back, they were as free and fleet as the wind. They could carry burdens for great distances with ease. Through their special relationship with Horse, humans altered their self-concept beyond measure. Horse was the first animal medicine of civilization. Humanity owes an incalculable debt to Horse and to the new medicine it brought. It would be a long walk to see one’s brother or sister if Horse had not welcomed the two-legged rider upon its back.   Today we measure the capacity of engines with the term “horsepower,” a reminder of the days when Horse was an honored and highly-prized partner with humanity.

Dream Walker, a medicine man, was walking across the plains to visit the Arapaho Nation. He carried with him his pipe. The feather tied into his long black hair pointed to the ground, marking him as a man a peace. Over the rise of a hill, Dream walker saw a herd of wild mustangs running toward him.

Black Stallion approached him and asked if he was seeking an answer on his journey. Black Stallion said, “I am from the Void where Answers live. Ride on my back and know the power of entering the Darkness and finding the Light.” Dream Walker thanked Black Stallion and agreed to visit him when his medicine was needed in the Dreamtime.

Yellow Stallion approached Dream Walker next and offered to take him to the East, where illumination lives. Dream Walker could share the answers he found there to teach and illuminate others. Once again, Dream Walker thanked Yellow Stallion and said he would use these gifts of power on his journey.

Red Stallion approached, rearing playfully.   He told Dream Walker of the joys of balancing work and heavy medicine with the joyful experiences of play. He reminded Dream Walker that he could better hold the attention of those he taught when humor was integrated with the lesson. Dream Walker thanked him and promised to remember the gift of joy.

Dream Walker was nearing his destination. The Arapaho Nation was close at hand. White Stallion came to the front of the herd. Dream Walker mounted White Stallion’s back. White Stallion was the message carrier for all the other horses, and represented wisdom in power. This magnificent horse was the embodiment of the balanced medicine shield. “No abuse of power will ever lead to wisdom,” said White Stallion. “You, Dream Walker, have made this journey to heal a brother in need, to share the sacred pipe, and to heal the Mother Earth. You have the knowledge through humility that you are an instrument of Great Spirit. As I carry you upon my back, you carry the needs of the people on yours. In wisdom, you understand that power is not given lightly but awarded to those who are willing to carry responsibility in a balanced manner.

“Dream Walker, the shaman, had been healed by the visit of the wild horses, and knew that this purpose in coming to the Arapaho was to share these gifts with them. In understanding the power of Horse, you may see how to strive for a balanced medicine shield. True power is wisdom found in remembering your total journey. Wisdom comes from remembering pathways you have walked in another person’s moccasins. Compassion, caring, teaching, loving, and sharing your gifts, talents, and abilities are the gateway to power. f your ego has gotten in the way, you may have failed to notice the lack of respect you have been receiving from others. You may, on the other hand, be struggling with others who are abusing their power. “Should I say something? Should I fight my desire to put them in their place?” you may be asked. Remember the times in your own life when you have fallen out of grace with Great Spirit, and then have compassion for the brothers and sisters who are now doing the same. If you are overpowering another or feeling overwhelmed, Horse medicine in both the dignified and contrary positions is a simple reminder of how to balance your shields.

In allowing all pathways to have equal validity, you will see the power and glory of the unified family of humanity. This is the gift of the Rainbow Warrior or Warrioress. The “I” has no place in the Whirling Rainbow that comes from the Great Mystery and is replaced by the universal “we.” All colors of the rainbow and all pathways are honored as one.

Apply this knowledge and reclaim the power you have given away by forgetting to come from compassion. Untangle yourself from the present situation and understand that every human being must follow this pathway to power before galloping upon the winds of destiny.

Honor your medicine. Stand tall. Use your talents. Own who you are becoming.

Source: Sams, Jamie and Carson, David. Medicine Cards (Santa Fe: Bear and Company, 1988).

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