Horse symbolism, like a band of wild horses, could be explained in 1,000,000 words yet never be described. We try to capture horse spirit animal in our imaginations, yet fail. Our kinship with horses runs deep in the veins of our ancestry. Shrouded in mystery, subjugation, and liberation no quantification of the power of horses suffices. We always come up wanting for more.
Rather than finding frustration when looking at what does a horse symbolize, turn this cart around and go back to where you came from. Are you able to say what you symbolize? Like your own vast soul, horse spirit animal cannot be fenced in.
Knowing this is knowing that your discovery of the power of horse symbolism will never end. These horses will run to the ends of the earth and back. So, here I endeavor to give you a few precious gems I’ve found in my years of exploration. May these bits of wisdom at least in small part contribute to your ever expanding communion with these mythic beasts.
Horses as Senses
“Know the Atman (soul) as Lord of a chariot; and the body as the chariot itself. Know that reason is the charioteer; and the mind indeed is the reins.
The horses, they say, are the senses; and their paths are the objects of sense. When the soul becomes one with the mind and the senses he is called ‘one who has joys and sorrows.’
He who has not right understanding and whose mind is never steady is not the ruler of his life, like a bad driver with wild horses.
But he who has right understanding and whose mind is ever steady is the ruler of his life, like a good driver with well trained horses,” – from Part 3 of the Katha Upanishad
The Good Driver
Many horse trainers proclaim that becoming a good horseman is about learning to control emotions. This is because horses frequently mirror our feelings immediately and without a filter. Like the bad driver with wild horses, a nervous rider finds herself unable to calm an anxious horse. The energy between the two spirals out of control, and the horse and rider run headlong into a major wreck.
However, this is an oversimplified version of the feedback loop that happens between horse and human. Horse symbolism is not about reining in our fear. It is about dropping the need to hide the fear. The problem is not the fear itself, which is a healthy informative emotion. The issue is the shame, humiliation, and low confidence the fear triggers.
Horse spirit animal, just like actual horses, teaches us how to be with our emotions without judgement. This means not taking how we feel personally. Horse people are notoriously critical of each other, but this is just a microcosm of the greater whole. We encounter disapproving stares everywhere.
Since horses are such giant and potentially dangerous creatures, we have to drop our self-consciousness to stay safe. It is a matter of life and death. When we learn to truly let go of what other people think, we can see our fear and engage with it in a way that leads to a safe and healthy resolution.
Horse symbolism teaches you to be a good driver who doesn’t freeze in fear or run wild with it, but to move in a way that expresses and discharges the tension. This movement invokes changes of speed and changes of direction that paradoxically carry you right back to the ever steady center.
Prey Animal Horse Wisdom
Horses are prey animals, big prey animals, but prey animals none the less. Their wiring is much different than ours because, regardless if we eat meat or not, our make-up is that of a predator. For example, we think in direct lines and like to go after a target. Horses think in circles and meander from place to place. We are more competitive and independent. Horses are more cooperative and bonding. We strategize with our minds. Horses sense with their entire beings.
Horse energy is more sensing and intuitive by nature. Horse spirit animal teaches us to drop the need for reason and release our dependence on planning. In the presence of horse symbolism we let go of the incessant craving for instant gratification that so terribly pervades our technology addicted culture in this day and age.
With the help of horse wisdom, we stand at a distance and take in the situation before cautiously approaching at an angle. We wait for a new herd mate to ask us to approach her. We sense with our whole bodies before analyzing with our minds. Patience is ours. Circle around and come back again.
Horse Dream Meaning
Seeing a horse in dream, shamanic journey, or vision state has many meanings. If it is a wild horse or a loose horse, then contemplate the irrational, unbridled, wild aspect of yourself.
Historically, a man’s status and power were determined by how many horses he owned. A horse in a dream or vision tells us to assess our own power. Are you feeling powerful right now? Or, are you praying for a boost in strength? Horse spirit animal is coming to your rescue. Remember, the power horse brings is interwoven with the herd. A brute display of force using your energy or words may encourage the others to leave you in the dust. Ultimately, you need the safety of the herd, so release the temptation to get pushy. Sure prance around a bit, but quickly settle back to quiet grazing with your tribe.
Just like elephant spirit animal, horses have a long history as slaves and servants of the human race. Spend some time looking at your own relationship to servitude. What might need to change? Is this a healthy exchange of power for service?
Now we ride horses for fun, but we used to do so out of necessity, for transportation. A horse dream meaning may have to do with how you are carried into a new area of your life. Do you feel like you’re going places? Was the horse frozen still or moving freely?
The Mares that Carry Me…
“The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach
rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary
road of the divinity that carries the man who knows
through the vast and dark unknown. And on I was carried
as the mares, aware just where to go, kept carrying me
straining at the chariot.”
– from the ancient Greek poem by Parmenides
in the book In the Dark Places of Wisdom by Peter Kingsley
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, works as a publicist and journalist for Mother Nature and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing. With her deeply rooted experience in the field of shamanism and passion for working with wildlife and rescue animals, Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the world of shamanism easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch is a Spiritual Director who teaches about archetypes and symbolism. Her speciality is working with soul pioneers - those of you who are making it up as you go along the spiritual path. She works with beginner and life-long spiritual seekers. Through working with Stacey, lost seekers find their way home and professional spiritual guides receive mentorship. Stacey empowers people with the ability to explore their purpose and calling. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.