Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rounding up the wild horses

I am the master of a vast stretch of wild country. Wealth here is counted in horses, and the wild horses that have not been claimed and branded belong to whoever catches them. There is fierce competition between rival ranchers to round up the best of the wild horses in this season, when huge numbers come thundering down from the hills to feed by the rivers.
    I am dashing around my stables in high boots, whip in hand, organizing my stockmen in teams and giving them directions. I tell a teen who has been mucking out the stables, to get mounted up and join the men; this will be his first roundup.
    Everyone is in a lather of excitement.

I wake from this dream in the early hours of this morning with a continued sense of excitement.
The dream location could be either the American West or my native Australia, where wild horses are called "brumbies". I used to own a property in the Hudson Valley of New York that became a horse farm and is now (very happily) an equine rescue center. I don't recognize the boy in the stables.
    I associate wild horses with the "windhorse", the term used by the shamans of Siberia and Mongolia for vital soul energy. I have noticed that the condition of horses in dreams - especially in women's dreams - very often reflects the state of soul energy.
    I once worked with a woman who was distressed by dreams in which she saw a starving pony tethered to the porch of her childhood home. She came to recognize in the starving pony her childhood self, who had been starved of spiritual and emotional nourishment and literally made to go hungry because of her controlling mother's insistence on her idées fixes about diet and appearance. When she decided she would feed the starving pony in her body and her life, literally and figuratively, her dreams changed. She now saw herself galloping into grand adventures on a great battle charger worthy of a knight in armor, "a little broad in the beam," as she reported, laughing, "but capable of getting me anywhere."

I am currently writing a book on soul recovery and I posted an article on cultural soul retrieval, for the benefit of a whole community, here on Friday.


Irène said...

In one of my favorite horse dreams that I had not so long ago, I am a man wearing elaborately embroidered military clothing of black, red, yellow and dark blue. I am sitting in a mounted saddle with finely detailed silver and gold inlay to match my reins as well as my horse's headress. I am sitting in front of an empty, vast snow-covered landscape with a single, dark blue mountain visible miles ahead along the horizon. I am in Mongolia. There are seven or eight men riding with me. I can see and feel them just behind me, waiting for my orders. At that moment a blizzard unfolds before my eyes and I feel the sharpness of powerful, almost intentional, wind and ice hitting my face, blowing violently from right to left. Within seconds I can see nothing but the blinding white that surrounds me. I think I hear my horse's breath as I hold the now internalized image of the blue mountain in front of me. I decide, immediately, with no hesitation, no doubt, to go directly to the mountain where I know I will find refuge. I gallop off in utter blindness knowing my men will follow me, or not. I am utterly fearless, even lost in bliss, on a singular path.

Just a note: I had this dream on the evening of the 1st and last day I entered, and was forced to, walk through an Ikea store. While moving through this space, someone's concept of a modern shopping experience, I was overwhelemed with a violently wild and savage reaction that was almost uncontrollable. I remember stating to my husband, "I have to get out," as I slipped into survival mode following the hated floor arrows, praying to God that everyone should stay out of my direct path for fear that I would at best trampel, at worst kill someone, anyone who got in my way.

Wanda Burch said...

Probably typical of a girl child, I was passionately in love with horses when I was a child and loved the children's books about the wild horses, always on the side of the one that was not so easily tamed except finally by love and passion. As you know, when I was a young girl, in my day-dreaming imagination I created wild horses, one black and one white. These horses became the Spirit or Energy vehicle for rescue adventures between Skyworld and Earth when I and my imagined friend were called on adventures of Soul. These horses never needed saddles and bridles and all the accoutrements for riding; they were body, soul, and spirit part of us.

If this were my dream, and I am the master of a stretch of wild country, then I can easily move to the resemblance of my work with soul recovery which is its own vast stretch of wild country. Claiming and branding, in my dream, is, as you have always said, all about soul and the care of it. You are changing the language of how we speak of dreaming and soul recovery and creating a "brand" that becomes the dreamer's own when they come to an understanding of the energy, healing, and recovery possibilities inside their dreams and dream imagery.

Coincidentally I just saw an old John Wayne movie in which he was driving wild horses to a location for sale. These horses, he stressed, were the best; and the first offers were not good. He finds out if he takes them into the bordering country [Mexico] there will be a better price and better recognition for the horses' value. He must cross a river in order to do that but the horses are strong and make it across. Lots more adventure but a constant reminder in every scene that he has rounded up the very best and will not devalue the quality of the horses under his charge even if he has to resort to extraordinary measures to do that. Interesting imagery in that thinking!

nina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cobweb said...

Seeing this picture was quite startling as only a couple of nights ago I dreamed of 3 horses the same colour as the 3 in your photograph. My horses ranged in size from the very large black, the regular size brown to the smallest and most friendly white one, this was a happy dream with my horses playing around me as if we were all one!
Applying the idea of them being part of my soul energy makes sense and makes the dream even more special, thank you for this bite of wisdom.

Anonymous said...

I have always loved horses! What girl doesn't? I think it's a chromosomal thing. At any rate, this image brings a waking moment to life when one of our neighbor's horses jail broke (went through/over a paddock fence) and had great fun running through our neighborhood (we are on a private drive in a rural area, where everyone is on about 10-12 acres). This could be the three escapes very easily, except their owner - a very tiny lady would have to be chasing them with halters... I see these three or the three who gallivanted through this summer and immediately think freedom. Thanks for a lovely memory on a very cold day!

Robert Moss said...

Grace - there definitely is a special relationship between women and horses, in dreams and in regular life. Thanks for the fine dreamlike image of the tiny woman chasing the three horses running wild through the neighborhood. There's a balance to be struck in horse dreams, as in embodied life, between freeing primal energy and keeping it on a coherent path.

Robert Moss said...

Cobweb - If this were my dream (now reinforced by a similar image on this blog) I would seek to identify those three color-coded aspects of my vital energy, and think about what I may need to do to ensure that they are with me, as a team, in regular life.

Robert Moss said...

Nina - Thanks for constantly encouraging us to canter across cultures on the windhorse of study and imagination. Yes: the idea of windhorse as vital essence is shared across Central Asia. In Buryat (Mongolian) it is khiitori; in Old Turkic it is Rüzgar Tayi; in Tibetan it is rlung ta pronounced lung ta, as you say. In adapting and popularizing this understanding, Chögyam Trungpa drew on what early lamas had in turn borrowed from the old shamanic traditions of Tibet.

Robert Moss said...

Wanda - "Tamed by love and passion". Woo-hoo!Yes, you evoke very well what for me is a central element in my dream of rounding up the wild horses. The "branding" has a double, benign resonance: of helping people develop their own "brand" of identity and of putting my own "brand" on a model and practice of soul recovery healing, for communities as well as individuals.

Robert Moss said...

Irène - I'm glad Ikea did not have to suffer the full wrath of that mounted Mongolian khan. I'm struck by the colors. I think blue and yellow when I think of Ikea; the dream horsemen galloping snowblind but certain also wears black and red. My mind goes to a Mongolian method of soul retrieval, in which the shaman has personal objects belonging to a sufferer of soul loss placed in a bag that is tied with bright-colored ribbons to encourage spirit to come home.