Year of the Horse

by angeliska on December 31, 2013

The tail end of the year is about to brush past us, this imagined point between now and then that keeps me feeling like I’m dancing on the head of a pin – trying to keep up, to push forward, stay with the beat of the heart of the world. Stay on my path. I feel like the snake’s egg broke this year, and all the most strange and unexpected things kept emerging, slithering through my fingers, too quickly. I remember at the beginning of last year feeling so wobbly and new, sticky winged and winded by the mystery of it all. So many aspects to my life at this point that I never could have predicted or imagined – and I think that if anyone had been able to tell me about them all, I doubt I would have believed them. It’s a funny thing, being involved in the work of fortune-telling – as so many people to me hoping I will tell them their futures, and all the things written in the book of fate. But that book hasn’t been written yet. We write it every day, with every action, every word, every thought. We create our own futures, moment by moment. Nothing is carved in stone about your fate, except that one day, you will die, and everyone you love on this earth will die. Nothing else is predestined about life. Knowing anything about our deaths, the whens and wheres of them – well, that’s useless too. In both cases, I believe that those kinds of knowing do more harm than good. To have your life foretold robs you of your free will, your ability to manifest and create the life you want for yourself. We are the creators of our own realities. But manifestation rarely goes as simply or as quickly as planned: oh no, because then we would lose the surprise of it all! That is one of the biggest and most valuable things I’ve learned this year – that I can still be surprised. Some good ones, some bad – but all things I never would’ve believed if they’d been predicted. I can appreciate surprises so much more now, than when I was a little child. Too much was unknown then, terrifyingly mysterious about the world around me. I wanted to know exactly what Santa was bringing me weeks ahead. Now, I wish deeply to have that sense of wonder and possibility in my life at all times. I want to believe in Santa, still – and the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, fairies, elves, little green men, and all manner of invisible magics at work in the world. I believed fervently in unicorns, largely due to this book: De Historia Et Veritate Unicornis/on the History and Truth of the Unicorn.
I was a horse girl – only, one with no horses. No live ones anyway, although I begged my parents for one constantly (It can live in the yard! I’ll feed it apples! Pleeeeeeeaaase can I have a horse?) We were far too poor for anything like that, or even lessons, but I wasn’t aware of that at the time. I made do with drawing them obsessively, collecting Breyer figurines, and lurking around the stables in my neighborhood (I even stole the faded ribbons off the stalls and hung them on my wall, pretending I’d earned them.) By the time I actually got to ride on anything more proper than some old exhausted carnival pony being led around the ring, I was nearly twenty, and sitting nervously astride a big dappled mare named H.B. (which stood, appropriately, for Hell-Bitch.) We were atop a mountainside in Colorado, and the scent of a bear or puma nearby, combined with being taken out prior to feeding time after a long day on the trail meant that the horses were skittish and pissed. Which is a truly terrible combination of horse moods for an inexperienced rider. I had no clue how one might operate this flesh and blood vehicle, other than coercion with sugarcubees. I suppose that all those years of reading Black Beauty and Serendipity books lured me into the fantasy that the first horse I rode would swiftly become my best friend, and that we would immediately develop a powerful psychic mind-meld, and certainly would both want to go frolic in fields of clover and waterfalls together all day. Imagine my horror when it was suggested to me that I needed to kick my horse harder. We were warned that the horses might try to rub up against a tree trunk in an attempt to break your knee-cap, or find a low-hanging branch to knock you the hell off with. I don’t know why it was so hard to conceive of up until that point that these majestic beasts might have a will of their own – and might not really want to cart you around on their backs. After many misadventures that day, I had to concede humbly that horses were something I had loved and studied from afar for nearly my entire life, but that I truly didn’t understand at all. I respect them now, immensely, in a way that my childish adoration could never fully encompass. They are mighty, and standing next to one always makes me feel puny, curious and shy. I didn’t realize until fairly recently that I am year of the Horse, in the Chinese Zodiac (January birthdays revert to the previous year, so I thought I was a Sheep for a long time!) I felt a thrill when I realized that this is year of the Wood Horse – because I have a hopeful sense that this year will be a game-changer, even more so than the last one. This year is going to be full of surprises, and as much as possible, I want to be completely present with them. My main wish for 2014 is to be more in my body, more in the moment, and more consciously present in every way. I think about dancing a lot more than I actually do it, and I want to change that this year. I want to be more immediate, responding to messages as they come up instead of letting them get buried. I am the most impatient procrastinator, who is learning how to be a very patient do-er.
Horses have no patience for procrastination. This moment is all we have. Expand into it. Breathe deep. Toss your mane and kick the stormclouds open! My mama said she felt a strong kick right before her water broke – I was ready to be born! But when I got here, it took me years to feel like I belonged in my body. As a child, my consciousness always floated outside me, above me – I would narrate my actions and thoughts in the third person instead of just doing and thinking. And I was aware that that was odd. It bothered me, because I was pretty sure that most people didn’t have these kinds of conversations with themselves. Sometimes my awareness would slam back into my body with a shock, knowing: “This is me. I am nine. This is my name. I live in Texas. This is my life, and it is real, and not a dress-rehearsal for some play, or a game. It is real. This is real. I am real. I am this person now.” It’s a really hard thing to explain, but it makes a lot of sense for me now. I don’t have too many memories of my mother, but one of my very favorites is the lullaby she used to sing to me:
Hush-a-by, Don’t you cry
Go to sleepy little baby
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses
Blacks and bays, dapples and grays
A coach and six little horses
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses
Hush-a-by, Don’t you cry
Go to sleepy little baby
When you wake you shall have
All the pretty little horses

I want to be kind and wild and strong and free this year. I want to rest deeply when I sleep, and dream. I want to love my body, and treat it with love. I’m digging in, and unfurling wide. This is just the beginning. In a year, we will stand baffled at how far we’ve come. I’m extending these wishes to you, that you may be kind and wild and strong and free, and that your dreams be sweet. I’m going out to the country to stamp my hooves in the soft old dust and whinny songs to the stars. I leave you with some horse art and music to inspire and delight you. Some star things and word things. Leaden hollows and glancing lights. Fireworks and thick clay. A new day.
Giant ‘Kelpies’ Horse Head Sculptures Tower Over the Forth & Clyde Canal in Scotland
“Currently in the last stages of construction after nearly 7 years of development, the Kelpies are a pair of gargantuan horse heads by public artist Andy Scott that now tower over the Forth & Clyde canal in Falkirk, Scotland. The sculptures measure some 30 meters tall (99 ft.) and are meant as a monument to the horse-powered heritage of Scotland.”
I’ve been marveling at the captured images from Google Street View curated by 9-Eyes (aka. Jon Rafman) ever since he was covered in Coilhouse awhile back (Old 9-Eyes Is Back In Town…) I especially love the pictures of horses.
“My work is not so overtly about movement. My horses’ gestures are really quite quiet, because real horses move so much better than I could pretend to make things move. For the pieces I make, the gesture is really more within the body, it’s like an internalized gesture, which is more about the content, the state of mind or of being at a given instant. And so it’s more like a painting…the gesture and the movement is all pretty much contained within the body.” – Deborah Butterfield
Ulrika Kestere — “The Girl with Seven Horses”
“Once upon a time there was a girl who had 7 invisible horses. People thought she was crazy and that she in fact had 7 imaginary horses, but this was not the case. When autumn came the girl spent a whole day washing all her clothes. She hung them on a string in her garden to let the gentle autumn sun dry them. Out of nowhere, a terrible storm came and its fiercefull winds grabbed a hold of all her clothes and all seven horses. The girl was devastated and spent all autumn looking for each horse spread around the country, wrapped in her clothes.”
Arion on a Sea-Horse – 1855
Wild white horses of the Carmargue
Let us build an expendable day
without winding the hours, counting
only the salient clarity – that day
of all days that came bearing oranges.
The columns close on the niggling particulars,
leaving their chewed scrap of paper
spinning off in the sand,
devoured by winters.
Not a leaf in the forest
survives our recall, though its scent and vibration
stay in the memory: in that forest
I put forth my foliage
and carry its sighs in my veins
with no thought for the hour or the day.
The years and the months betray us
month follows month in the vast of the tunnel
October and April clash like two lunatic stones,
the apples rain into one basket,
the silvery catch into one net,
while night with rapiers precision
cuts through the days splendor – the day
that is ours if we are there to retrieve it tomorrow.

— Pablo Neruda
Uffington White Horse

Photo by Terry Hancock
“Part of the Orion Molecular Cloud, an immense star forming region very close to earth, The Flame and Horsehead Nebulas offer a glimpse into the process from which stars and their planets are created. The colorfully lit areas are being irradiated by the young stars which have formed in the recent past and as a result, the ionized hydrogen in the clouds glows. The dark regions, on the other hand, are areas of dusty material in the interstellar medium dense enough to obscure the glow from behind. The Horsehead is such an object and from our vantage point on Earth, it bears a striking resemblance to the head of a horse.”
Rigel, Betelgeuse, and Orion. There was no finer church, no finer choir, than the stars speaking in silence to the many consumptives silently condemned, a legion upon the dark rooftops. The wind came down from the north like a runner in lacrosse, violent and hard, to batter every living thing. They were there, each one alone in conversation with the stars, mining ephemeral love from cold and distant light.
― Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale
Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is one of my favorite books, ever. It is so, so gorgeous. I am so grateful to all the people in my life who, at one time or another, insisted that I read it. It is being made into film that will come out on Valentine’s Day. Even watching the trailer made me sob, so I’m hoping that the film similarly slaughters and elates me half as much as the book did.
Here are three quotes from the novel about the horse:
He moved like a dancer, which is not surprising; a horse is a beautiful animal, but it is perhaps most remarkable because it moves as if it always hears music.
Truth is no rounder than a horse’s eye.
The horse could not do without Manhattan. It drew him like a magnet, like a vacuum, like oats, or a mare, or an open, never-ending, tree-lined road.
I discovered The Wild Horses of Newbury via Tom Hirons/Coyopa and it stunned me. Please watch:

From the film-maker:
“‘The Wild Horses of Newbury’ was shot by me, Mark Carroll, very early on a single morning in February 1996 at the building site of the Newbury Bypass. (UK) This controversial road was to cut through some beautiful, ancient English countryside and had met with massive and radical direct action protests, hence the number of security guards. The whole episode only lasted a few minutes.. nothing was staged. The security guards and police had circled two very old Oak trees and were preparing to chop them down , when two scruffy, seemingly wild horses appeared and began to interfere with the felling. One of the horses even confronted one of the police horses…..
It was a very magical moment.”
NEW MOON in Capricorn January 1st 2014 (SuperMoon)!
Oh and – for the first time ever, I’ve not been plucking or dyeing my here and there grey hairs. My friend Abe Louise Young is on the same page, and just posted this sentiment, which I share whole-heartedly:
“In preparation for 2014 I am becoming a silver fox. Embracing mortality and the time-limited nature of all of us. Letting my hair grow wild, eau naturale and starlight–full moon-colored. Ask no permissions, hide no facets, grab aging and kiss it.”
Croning on up.
Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss
“and for all our believing, bastards in church alone dry heaving, searching for truce to feed the fear, near the beginning of the year”
Hello Lovers has a new album out, and it is brilliant: Glorified
And here’s a mix I made for your prancing pony disco and dreamytimes. Happy New Year!

Year of the Horse from angeliska on 8tracks Radio.

More to read from New Year’s Eves of yore:
A Bright Blue Wish
New Year’s Redux
Stargazer Honey
Blue Moon
Lone Grove New Year
Pink Moons
The New Year
Lucky Stars and Garters
La Nouvelle Année


so beautiful, and just what i needed to read today. thank you, sweet angel, and happy new year to you.

by lau on December 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm. Reply #

Hi !!! I totally understood what you were talking about the inner conversations and what-not,,, I am still dealing with this and the self-doubt,,, I hope we will both have very beautiful and freeing years !!

by Pat Kozak on January 3, 2014 at 11:35 am. Reply #

I needed this today in particular. You always seem to say just the right thing. I hope I get to see you sometime this year and get a reading finally!

by Stephanie Alice Rogers on January 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm. Reply #

Beautiful post.. loved that image of horses stopping the trees from being cut down. Saw this photo set of polish witches and thought you’d enjoy..

by deirdre on January 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm. Reply #

Dude taking unsolicited pictures of the girl in a restaurant, but he left the flash on so everyone in the restaurant knows he is doing

by beautiful wedding invitations on March 30, 2017 at 2:49 am. Reply #

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