#druidanimaloracle #Creatures #Animals #BillWorthington #Oracle #Cardmeanings #Druidry
- ☽ ✧ - Δ - ✧ ☾ - A closer look at the Horse card in the Druid Animal Oracle deck with...
... drawing card meanings. Although there is a lot of good things in the book, half of it is christianized propaganda but the deck itself is stunning. The art is by Bill Worthington and I have taken close up snaps for viewing. I have also extracted the good bits of the book but when it comes to interpretation, I also recommend looking at the critter as a spirit guide and studying it for a better card reading. Eventually I will write posts on the animal guide and will link them in the correspondences of the pagans magi site. The sight link is towards the right of this blog site. The Horse is Each in Old Gaelic (Pronounced Ech) and the overall tone of this card is The Goddess, The Land, and Travel. From the chapter 'the druid animal'
The card shows a grey mare with the chalk hill figure of the White Horse of Uffington, Oxfordshire, in the background. Great images of the horse were carved in chalk hillsides of Britain. In the foreground, and, to the left, horseshoe vetch. Carved on one rock is the symbol of a key, and on the other a mounted warrior. The sun is prominent in the sky above.
The horse is associated with luck and the association of horses with luck, continues to this day from pre Roman Gaul and Britains and is symbolic with the lucky horseshoe, to bring prosperity. Since the horse is sacred and brings prosperity, it has to be protected from the evil eye with horse brasses. The Druids, and later country folk, would bless a horse by leading it sunwise three times around a cairn, which would be known as Cairn Nan Each.
'One horse was lithe and swift-leaping, high-arched and powerful, long-bodied and with great hooves.
The and shining, slight and slender in hoof and heel' From 'The Cattle Raid of Cooley'
These were the two horses that drew the chariot of the Ulster hero Cu-Chulainn. Their names were Grey Sea and Black Seagull. Grey Sea was clairvoyant and when she foresaw her master's death she wept tears of blood. Cu-Chulainn rode into battle on a wood and wicker chariot, as many Irish and British warriors did long after chariot warfare had been abandoned elsewhere. There was a Celtic custom of headhunting in battle - fastening the enemies' severed heads to their horses necks - making them terrifying opponents.
The Horse Goddesses
The horse-goddess Epona, from whom is derived the word 'pony', originated in Gaul. But she was so popular she was revered to Britain and as far east as Bulgaria, and she became the only Celtic deity worshipped in Rome, with a feast day December 18th (Just before Yule in the Northern hemisphere). In the Welsh tradition, her equivalent is Rhiannon, and in Ireland the goddess Macha and Etain.
To cavalrymen the horse-goddess was a protectress, but to civilians she was the mother-goddess who presided over the life-cycle. In images of bounty and fertility she feeds two foals from corn on her lap. In other images she holds a key which unlocks the gateways to the Underworld/Otherworld. Shapeshifting into the form of the horse, she would carry the souls of the dead to the Summerlands or to Hy Breasil, an Irish paradise in the West. As a horse of the dead, she is sometimes seen as a phantom creature or the provoker and appears like a sleek pony, offering its back to travelers to help them cross the water. But once the victim is astride, becoming creature with huge teeth and long wild hair, plunging deep into the loch carrying the rider into the Underworld. In Skye it is said that unicorns live within certain lochs, and an eel-horse with twelve legs swims in Loch Awe. Lochs are waters/pools/rivers/depths of waters, basically arms of the sea.
Gateways of Birth and Death
In the Druid tradition the time of Beltainne (Summers beginning) was also called a time of mating at May. The month of May/Summers beginning symbolizes the gateway for the soul to enter the world (Northern hemisphere - the Southern hemisphere is October 31st onwards). And the time of Samhuinn is the time of death/Winters beginning at the other side of the year in October's end (Northern hemisphere - the Southern hemisphere is May 1st onwards). Samhuinn symbolizing the gateway for the soul to leave the world. These two gateways act as fundamental points in the life-cycle. The horse-goddess opens the gates of life at Beltainne, allowing in a great flood of ebullient energy which makes men feel like stallions and makes women refer to them as 'studs'. As the gates are closed at Samhuinn, she carries the soul to the afterlife, and back to Summer-lands to be renewed again.
The association of the horse-goddess with the life-cycle of birth, death, afterlife and rebirth is confirmed when we discover that ritual Hobby Horses are ridden either at Samhuinn and or at Beltainne (Winter or Summers beginning). The The Padstow and Minehead Hobby Horses bring in Summer (May in the North or October in the South respectively). While the Hodden Horse of Kent, the Wild Horses of Cheshire and Shropshire and the Mari Lwyd of Wales usher in the beginning of Winter.
Being associated with the life-cycle and hence sexuality, the horse represents not only human fertility/virility, but the power and fertility of the the land itself. As well as symbolizing the power of the land, the horse also had a close affinity with the sun. As a solar animal, it was depicted pulling the sun's chariot across the sky, making it not only sacred to the Goddesses but also the sky and Sky Gods. Whether allied with God or Goddess, the horse provides the power and ability to journey - in this world or the next. And with shoes, the horse can ride even faster and further. Horse-shoeing was first developed in the Celtic world, and the smith was considered an important figure: undr old Welsh law it was he who took the first drink at any feast. And in Ireland the smith god Goibhniu was host at a feast which rendered his guests immortal. By taking us to Hy Breasil and back, the horse does provide the means to transcend the limitations of mortality.
Thank-you for sharing and saving,
By Druid and Witch of the old ways,
And Priestess of the Morrigan,
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The Horse Oracle card reading is in two parts (Due in pat to my waffling)
February 22nd 2019-02-22
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