Ehwaz – horse – In the year that I’ve written the Weekly Rune feature, Ehwaz has never visited before now. For its introduction, safely fall back on our common understandings of the horse: it is transportation, taking us from one place to another. In that light, the horse allows us access to accomplish what would ordinarily be beyond our capabilities. It works for us, yet despite domestication maintains a wildness of spirit humanity admires and can never touch. In all, the horse allows humans power. It gives us strength greater than our own, and provokes questions of our own domestication.
That’s enough insight to derive compelling meaning for why the horse would visit us at this time. The last few weeks have focused on personal empowerment, encouraged us to be aware not only that our process is happening, but to be actively involved with how it manifests. Where, then, does the horse carry us? What work is it empowering us to journey more deeply into?
Few know that in Nordic mythology the horse was humanity’s fylgia, or “spirit guide,” one who fetches us to wisdom. This totemic image becomes particularly significant coupled with that of Sleipner, Odin’s eight-legged horse, who carried him to traverse the realms of the Yggdrasil–the World Tree, from which he gained insight into the Runes. This movement between worlds, torment of enlightenment, then inability to return to every day life the same hearkens shamanic death. This metaphor of traveling from the everyday into an etheric expression of it is the original healing story, the ouroboros shamanic narrative we all participate in.
What we need to remember at this time is that initiation is upon us. This time means a piercing of the heart with insight from which we cannot turn away will bring us to a more suitable awareness, that which we crave at our deepest levels. Our travel on the back of awakening is in the process of depositing us on the doorstep of new wisdom.
Let it be. Don’t try to manhandle the rein and control the outcome. This is neither the time to enslave a beast of burden, nor to glide obliviously through scenery without being active in the journey. We are being called to be aware and engaged, to see this journey through to the end. Remember, when the Aztecs and Incas first saw a mounted conquistador, they interpreted it as one animal, a kind of “two-headed centaur. ”  While we know the miraculous technology of riding horseback comprises human and horse, let us not forget the animistic bond of seeker and totem. We’re not alone, and we’re not without guidance.