From the species Equus
cabauus, which distinguishes
it from the ass and zebra, he same genus family. There is a great
number of breeds of horses, each possessing distinctive characteristics not
common to the others. The modem horse has descended from three basic stocks: the
Libyan horse of northern Africa; the common horse of Upper Asia and Europe; and
the Celtic pony.
This animal was
known to the Babylonians as far back as 2300 B.C.E. and was used by them to draw
war chariots beginning in about 1700 B.C.E. The horse was used for riding by the
Greeks, Alaric, Attila, and Genghis Khan among others. It was brought to the New
World by Cortez.
Because the horse was such a valuable animal, only the rich could
afford to sacrifice it. This creature symbolized the Sun and the Moon, the sky
and the Underworld, according to its color and the deity with which it appeared.
The white horse was connected with the Moon; red, white, or golden ones with the
Sun. Black horses, such as the one ridden by the Wild Huntsman, accompanied
deities of death and the Underworld. The horse in general symbolized power,
swiftness, wisdom, prophetic abilities, magickal powers.
In Persia, Greece, Rome, and Scandinavia the white horse was
especially sacred. The Chinese Cosmic Cloud Horse, an avatar of Kuan Yin, was
white, as was the horse of the Japanese deity Kwannon. The Celestial
Charger, the Horse King
Ma-wang of China, was considered to be
the ancestor of all horses. The Chinese Ancestral Horse was always accompanied
by a dragon, a phoenix, and a crane. The Middle Eastern goddess Anahita drove a
chariot pulled by four white horses that represented wind, rain, cloud, and
sleet. In India, the horse signifies the cosmos, wind, sea foam, fire, and light
The Romans had an annual horse sacrifice called the October
Horse, or Cut Horse (Equus curtius). The severed bleeding tail was taken to the
Temple of Vesta where the blood was allowed to drip on the attar (the closest
the Vestals ever came to blood sacrifice). The chariots of Apollo and Mithras
were drawn by white horses.
The Muslims call the horse a "god-sent" animal, believing it can
prophesy, foresee danger, and see the dead. The Atharva Veda of the Zoroastrians
tells of a snake-killing horse, Pedu, who was the enemy of Ahriman and the
protector of the pure animals. In India, the Sun god Surya had seven red mares
to pull his chariot.
Among the Norse and northern Germans, the horse was sacred to
Odhinn; he had an eight-legged gray horse called Steipnir that could run on
land, sea, or in the air. The Skalds used the kenning "high-chested rope-Steipnir"
to mean the gallows on which sacrifices to Odhinn were hung; the Old Norse word
drasil meant both horse and gallows, while Yggr was one of Odhinn's names. The
Eddas mention special horses with golden manes, such as Freyfaxi.
Gray cloud-horses were said to be an alternative method of travel
for the Valkyries. In the ancient festival called May Riding, a woman
representing Freyja rode on a white horse, while a man representing Freyr rode
on a black one. Very ancient Swedish kings were sacrificed by being ritually tom
apart by horse- masked priestesses of Freyja; these priestesses were called
Valkyries in the texts. The volva, a priestess of Freyja, was said by medieval
writers to be able to transform herself into a mare. They believed the volva
took on the personification of the death-goddess who rode the Valraven, a winged
Sacred to the goddesses Epona and Rhiannon, the horse was thought
by the Celts to be a guide to the Otherworlds. This animal was an emblem of war
and solar deities. Epona was a version of the Cretan Leukippe (White Mare), an
Amazon horse goddess. The ancient Welsh horse god was called Waelsi or Waels,
whom the Slavic cultures knew as Volos.
Some of the older houses in Jutland still bear a double-headed horse
carved into the rafters for luck. Horseshoes are widely believed to avert evil
and bring good fortune; this belief is also held by the Jews, the Turks,
and many others around the world. Ornaments woven from horsehair are said to
protect the wearer.
a gray horse is considered to be a death omen, as is
dreaming of a white horse in England and Germany. If you meet a white horse, you
can break the spell if you spit on the ground. Gray horses and
horses with four white feet are considered unlucky in racing. Non-racing horses
that have spots or patches of color are said to have magickal
talents. It is a general
superstition that horses will tremble and refuse to go on if they come
near a dead body, even though they can't see it.he herb moonwort is supposed to cause horseshoes to fall
off the horse's feet. However, if the rider happened to be at the
stones of Wayland Smithy in Berkshire, England (near the famous White
Horse), he could place a coin on one of the stones. Leaving the
horse there, and withdrawing out of sight, he could then expect
the horse to be magickally shod.
A holed stone (known as a hogstone in England) was hung
over the stable door to protect horses against witches and faeries riding
them to exhaustion at night.Originally, the tail was plaited with ribbons to keep the horse
safe from witches. Horse brasses were considered to be magical in
such far-apart places as China and Scandinavia. They were used to protect
horses from witches and the evil eye.
The deeper a
horse dips his nostrils while drinking, the better a sire he will be.
When n its master
dies, a horse will shed tears .
At one time there were
groups of horsemen who passed along secret words. It was believed that if these
words were whispered in a horse's ear it gave the person immediate command over
Magickal Attributes: Stamina, endurance, faithfulness. It
symbolizes freedom when it runs free; when it works with humans, it represents
friendship and cooperation. Travel, journey, swiftness, friends, loyalty. Astral
traveling. Companion and guardian when taking a trip. Guide to overcoming
obstacles. Checking a situation for possible danger.
Pounding hooves, tossing mane,
Take me swiftly on my life's journey.
Loyal friend, carry me to a place of safety.
Lift me over the obstacles in my path.