Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Myths, folklore, & symbolism
Horse: Early representations of horses appear in Paleolithic caves. They continued to play a great role in most cultures through the Industrial Age, hence the rich symbolism associated with this animal.

Originally the horse was considered to be a cthonic creature that was associated with fire and water, forces of life and of danger. Thus in many parts of Europe and the Far East it was said that its hooves could strike springs of water from the ground. The horse also appears in relation to the lunar realm. It was closely associated with the realm of death (e.g., in central Asia and among many Indo-European peoples) and consequently appears as a psychopomp (spirit guide); for this reason it was also sometimes buried with the dead or sacrificed when a person died.

The dark side of Zoroastrianism, where Ahriman, the spirit of opposition, is often embodied in the form of a horse. Also associated with the negative aspect of horse symbolism are the part-human, part-horse creatures of Greek mythology (centaurs, satyrs, sileni), the horse component of which usually represents uncontrolled drives.

The winged horse of Greek mythology, Pegasus, is related to the light symbolism of the horse that developed later (e.g., in China, India, and in antiquity), and is complementary to the cthonic. The white horse in particular was regarded as a solar and heavenly animal; it became the steed of the gods and a symbol of force subdued by reason (see, e.g., the well-known simile of the two horses in Plato's Phaedrus, or the representations of joy and victory on the graves of martyrs).

As a symbol of youth, strength, sexuality, and masculinity, the horse is part of the dark and light sides of the above-mentioned symbolism. The horse is the seventh sign in the Chinese zodiac and corresponds to Libra. (Herder)

No comments:

Post a Comment