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The horse was used as a psychopomp, to transport the shaman to mediate with souls of the dead and to return messages from the other world to the living. Ritual has been well documented by Eliade Some shamanic ritual involved horse sacrifice although Eliade considers the shaman was not primarily a sacrificer , stylised sacrifice or symbolic presence of the horse, for example the burning of horsehair or sitting on a horse hide. Shamanic practice with equine involvement has been noted throughout Asia, and also from North America.

In an interesting reversal of Asiatic shamanism, the Haitian shaman is said to be the horse ridden by the possessing spirits Bourguignon Shamanism has survived in its original form to modern times and Lintrop reports on Tubyaku Kosterkin, one of the last Nganasan shamans of Siberia.

Through the horse, the shaman purported to be able to directly act upon the state and its development. Although the Korean ritual has developed in a different direction to that of Siberia, both can be traced to a common origin some 2, years ago. Bronze Age Greek culture attributed the horse with drawing the sun chariot across the sky.

White horses were sacred to Neptune, and were sacrificed into the sea at Rhodes as an offering to the sun god, the sun apparently setting below the sea. Pegasus, the winged horse, is taken to be the source of poetic inspiration — the Hippocrene horse spring created where he struck the ground with a forefoot gave the gift of verse to those who partook of its waters. Pegasus also provided the gods with rapid transport between worlds.

Famous Named Horses and Horse Types from Mythology

Centaurs from the east and probably their Chinese counterparts, the Ting Ling from the west may have developed from early contact with the nomadic horsemen of the Asian steppes. Centaurs were endowed with great wisdom and learning, but also showed a warlike nature. Neither Greeks nor Romans were proficient equestrian peoples, nor did they depend upon the horse for military supremacy, and this may account for the minimal significance attributed to the horse in their religion.

Celtic peoples developed a horse-based society, and as such were dependent upon the horse for their success through Europe. This is reflected in the fundamental and enduring role given to the horse in Celtic mythology. Epona, a triple aspect goddess, was the protectress of the horse and horse keepers; she was paralleled by the Irish Macha and Welsh Rhiannon Powell Epona has been hypothesised as evolving from a water fertility goddess, and certainly she has a clear iconographical link with water Green There is a continuous association between horses and water from Greek marine sacrifices through to the Kelpies and Each Uisge water horses of recent Scottish folklore.

Witches Fairies and Horses. The Gods and Patron Saints of Horses. Other Sacred Horses. The Hobbyhorse. The Hooden Horse.

The Bridal Horse. The Horseloosed.

ISBN 13: 9781494059132

The Funeral Horse. The Horse and Metempsychosis. The Horse in Creation Myths. The Moraland Legal Responsibility of the Horse. Jack Tresidder says in his Complete Dictionary of Symbols that every year in the fall, Romans sacrificed a horse to Mars, who was not only a god of war but of agriculture as well. This was done in thanks for a bountiful harvest, and the horse's tail was kept in a place of honor over the winter, to ensure fertility the following spring. Later, the horse evolved from a fertility symbol into a role as messengers from the spirit world.

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Hang an iron horseshoe , open end facing down, to keep evil spirits out of your home. A horseshoe found along the side of a road was particularly powerful, and was known to provide protection against disease.

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In addition to the horseshoe, the skull of a horse is often found in folk magic. In some countries, it is believed that the horse is able to detect malevolent spirits, so keeping a skull around once your horse has died makes sense. Horse skulls have been found under hearthstones and doorways in several locations in England and Wales. In fact, in Elsdon, Rothbury, an interesting discovery was made in during the renovation of the town church. Possibly placed there as a pagan protection against lightning or to improve the acoustics or even as an act of sanctification they are now in a case in the church.

In his work Teutonic Mythology, Jacob Grimm explains some of the magic behind the head of a horse. He relays the tale of a Scandinavian bard who was banished from the kingdom by King Eirek and Queen Gunhilda.

Catalog Record: The horse in magic and myth | HathiTrust Digital Library

As revenge, he created what was called a nithing -post, designed to put a curse upon an enemy. He placed a stake in the ground, stuck a horse's head on it, and turned it to face into the kingdom, sending a hex to Eirek and Gunhilda. This apparently wasn't a new idea, even at that time. These were the heads of Roman horses which the Germans had sacrificed to their gods.

Share Flipboard Email. Patti Wigington is a pagan author, educator, and licensed clergy.