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Ursula Stockder Busch - The Spiritual Dimension of Horses

Luis Fernando Villegas and “Paris”, working in absolute liberty, and Marlène” his inseparable Shetland shepherd dog.

(Photographer: Alejandra Hernández Stockder)

 

Yesterday was a truly inspiring day in my life. At 11 o’clock in the morning we arrived at the ranch where my friend Luis Fernando Villegas trains his horses. What an experience! First the music, “Farinelli´s” soundtrack, then the forest and Luis Fernando guiding his horses, dancing and elevating the whole experience to a spiritual encounter with the gods.

Although Luis Fernando Villegas feels very close to the Renaissance and Baroque period, his horses carry the names from Napoleon’s period. A truly romantic time, where idealism was one of the main purposes of life, going back to the Roman values and Greek influence.

Before analyzing Luis Fernando’s relationship with his horses, lets see what history and the symbolic language has to say about the meaning of horses throughout times.

For Plato, they are a presence or ideas of everything that exists, the “Topus Uranus” Gods and Heavens. The soul is like a carriage: representing the intellect, reason or the part of the soul that must be guided to truth. The white horse is the mortal, noble. The black the immortal, obstinate opposite in character, which makes its driving necessarily difficult and troublesome. 

The charioteer, “the Auriga”, directs the entire chariot/soul, trying to stop the black and white horse from going different ways, to proceed towards enlightenment. 

(The Capella is the brightest star in the Auriga constellation, at 20 Gemini when projected on the ecliptic.) 

This metaphor of the soul and the horses is equivalent to reason. The Greeks saw these elements as real forces, like electricity that could move a man to act and think in certain ways. The Soul, through the Auriga the Charioteer or reason, seeks truth and knowledge. The black horse represents appetites, food, drink, sex and material wealth. The white horse, glory, honor and recognition. 

As a beast of burden, the horse was the symbol of the body of man forced to sustain the weight of his spiritual constitution. Conversely, it also typified the spiritual nature of man forced to maintain the burden of the material personality. 

All souls are in the Topus Uranus and are flying in a circle trying to get to the gods and to be enlightened and to see the world of the forms in all its glory. Some souls have difficulty controlling the black horse, even with the help of the white horse. 

The black horse loses his wings and lands in this space and time and is born as a human and the soul is incarnated into one of nine kinds of person, according to how much truth it beheld. 

In order of decreasing levels of refinement, the symbolic association to the horse are: 

  1. - philosophers, lovers of beauty, men of culture, or those dedicated to love. 
  2. - law abiding kings or civic leaders 
  3. - politicians, estate managers or businessmen 
  4. - ones who specialize in bodily health
  5. - prophets or mystery cult participants 
  6. - poets or imitative artists 
  7. - craftsmen or farmers 
  8. - sophist or demagogues and
  9. - tyrants. 

There are several myths relating to the constellation of the Auriga. One of them is that Athena visited Hephaestus. He fell passionately in love with her and persecuted her. 

He tried to rape her and semen fell onto Athena’s thigh. Out of the semen, Erichthonius was born wrapped in a serpent and he was lame. Later, he became the new leader of Athens and founded the Panathenaic festival in honor of Athena.  Erichthonius. He invented the quadriga,  the four horse chariot, and after his death Zeus raised him to the heavens to become the constellation of the Charioteer (Auriga). 

The horse has a very complex symbolism and, depending on its context, we can interpret different meanings. In its association with the realm of Hades, where the horse is a vehicle to the afterlife and accompanies the funerary and other rituals, he manifests the cycles of life - as in the four horseman of the Apocalypse, where the horse may be interpreted to signify the four main divisions of human life. 

  • Birth is represented by the rider on the white horse who comes forth conquering and to conquer,
  • Youth, by the rider on the red horse who took pace from the earth,
  • Maturity, by the rider on the black horse who weighs all things in the scales of reason; and 
  • Death, by the rider on the pale horse who was given power over a fourth part of the earth.

In Dupuis notes on the “Origin of All Religious Worship”, the four elements were represented by a horse bearing the name of the God “

  • The first winged horse, signifying the fire ether element, was called Jupiter and occupied the highest place in the order of the elements. It shone the purest light, and on its body there were the images of the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the bodies in the ethereal regions.
  • The Second horse, signifying the element of air, was Juno. Although black, exposed to the sun became luminous, symbolizing the diurnal and nocturnal conditions of air. 
  • The Third horse, symbolizing the element of water, was sacred to Neptune and
  • The Fourth horse, signifying the static element of earth described as immovable and champing its bit was the steed of Vesta. 

“A centaur drawing a bow in a landscape” oil on Canvas/ Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo”

Sagittarius is another horse constellation. It represents the centaur Chiron, son of Cronus and Philyra (goddess of beauty, healing and writing), the half men and half horse abandoned by his mother in Mount Pelion. His physical and psychological appearance differs from the other centaurs, born from Ixion and Nephele (disguised by Zeus to be Hera due to Ixion’s attempted pursuit of Zeus’ wife).  He was the mentor of Achilles among others, who represents the primitive creation, progenitor and instructor of mankind. 

We also have the winged horse Pegasus, son of Neptune and Medusa, symbolizing the secret doctrine and the spiritualized body of man. This mythological horse represents forces working in the invisible worlds, like the unicorn, which was adopted by the mysteries of Christianity as a symbol of the illumined spiritual nature of the initiate, and the horn with which it defends itself, being the flaming sword of the spiritual doctrine against which nothing can prevail. 

 

 

 

Neptune riding in his chariot at sea; head piece to Book 13, page 957 of Homer’s Illiad, translated by Pope, in six volumes Bernard Lintott, London: 1715- 1720)

Neptune, the god of the ocean’s immensity, ruler of Pisces and the 12th house, created not only the dolphins and the cows but the horses too, symbolizing the cosmic energies of eternity on all levels. It is the instinctual force, like the waves of the ocean, that have to be tamed and guided towards spirituality. 

With the emergence of Renaissance and the Baroque, Neptune was recovered by the artists after 2000 years of Christian influence. During the Neoclassic period, the horse was elevated to the highest spheres of the royal families, he not only was represented in innumerable fountains, embodying  the idealism of military patriotism, heraldic exacerbation and roman values but also became part of  the cast of Opera or Theatre scenarios. From this moment on horseman and horse became inseparable in the mythology of the centaur in modern times. 

There is a wide range of human-horse interactions depending on their cultural background, but one point is clear: the horse has given power to man. Riding a horse gives mankind a higher vision of the world and a deeper understanding of themselves and their unconscious. This is probably the reason why all horses are born just before Sunrise with their Sun positioned in the 12th or their 1st house. 

Xenophon, Socrates follower and the father of classical equitation, encourages a mutual respect between man and horse.

LUIS FERNANDO and HIS HORSES

The relationships with horses are usually passed through generations, but in Luis Fernando’s case his approach was different.  Since he was 5 years old he used to spend his summer in the house of family friends where the mother of his uncle taught him the lineage and spiritual approach to horses. Nobody in his family understood this mystical connection. He feels profoundly connected to the Carthusian monastery and their history. These monks managed a breeding program of the Andalusian horses for more than 400 years.

In Luis Fernando’s birth chart (Jan20, 1970 @8:00 AM, Mexico City), we see his Sun in Aquarius positioned in the 12th house where silent communication with the God Neptune emerges and the taming of horses and animals is inspired. 

The 12th house, Neptune and Pisces represent the untamed, wildlife and free spirits, whereas the 6th house, Mercury, and Virgo represent taming the wild. 

Luis Fernando has his Nodal Axis in Virgo/Pisces representing his natural interplay between the wild and the tamed. 

Luis Fernando’s Sun is also square Jupiter in the 9th house, the traditional house and ruler of Sagittarius, the horse/human symbol. 

He gets his first experience with training animals through his brother, who used to be a falconer and later, thanks to his experience and knowledge, became the head of the rehabilitation program of birds of prey at the main zoo in Mexico. 

Finally his parents took Luis Fernando, at age 14, to riding lessons after the death of his eldest brother who died of a cerebral tumor (Saturn in his 3rd house squaring his Sun) and his sister got married. These event left him with a great responsibility during the mourning period of his parents. (His progressed Ascendant entering in Pisces). 

At 15 he started with classical equitation lessons and at 16 he gets Campeador, his first and beloved White Pure Andalusian horse, who is his healer, teacher and guide to the spiritual realm. With Campeador he develops a close relation for more than 26 years. 

Campeador (7th June 1980, @6:15 AM - Passing 25th September 2012 @ 12PM) entered Luis Fernando’s life when his progressed Ascendant moved into Pisces and squared his natal Neptune. Campeador died when Neptune enters into the sign of Pisces and squared Luis Fernando’s natal Neptune. 

 

  • Campeador’s Moon is on Luis Fernando’s Chiron, with reference to his healer, teacher, and guide to the spiritual realm. 
  • Campeador’s Uranus, ruler of Luis Fernando’s Sun is on Luis’s MC at 22 Scorpio. 
  • Campeador’s Mercury is on Luis Fernando’s Moon in Cancer, showing a strong emotional communication between them. 
  • Campeador’s Mars is conjunct Luis Fernando’s South Node, showing a strong past life connection. 

 

Luis Fernando Villegas and his soul mate Campeador 

LUIS FERNANDO; MARENGO and PARIS 

In 1997, Luis Fernando started his own horse company “Escuadra Marengo” and in 2001 two of his star horses were born; the first one, Marengo (Pure Arabian) 8 May 2001@5:55 AM. He passed away fifteen years later on 14th Nov. 2016 @ 7:00 AM.

THE chart of Marengo and his passing are very revealing: 

  • He was born on a Taurus/Scorpio full Moon, and passed on a Scorpio/Taurus full Moon. 
  • He passed with Saturn in the horse sign of Sagittarius in the 8th house, exactly opposing natal Jupiter. Transiting Jupiter exactly trining natal Jupiter. 
  • Chiron is close to the South Node in both natal and death chart. 
  • Neptune exactly conjuncts the South Node in Pisces alluding to this connection to the myth of Neptune. 

 

 

His second horse, (Pure Andalusian) was born 16th April 2001@ 6:00AM. He trained them and in 2008 he started with his “Escuadra MArengo” where he introduced his horses into equestrian spectacles, operas, fashion shows and more. 

When I analyzed all the birth and death charts of his horses, I noticed the great influence Neptune transits have had in Luis Fernando’s Villegas life. 

Marengo  and Paris enter his life with Neptune conjunct his natal Ascendant. 

Marengo died with Neptune in conjunction with Luis Fernando’s Villegas North Node return into Pisces.

Desirée his Pure Arabian mare (20th April 2010/5:00 AM) was born with Chiron 0 Pisces conjunct Neptune at  28 Aquarius and squaring his natal Neptune. 

Vizir (7th March 2015/5:00 AM) was born with Chiron 0 Pisces conjunct Luis Fernando’s North Node in Pisces. 

 

 

CONCLUSION 

We can clearly see that animals respond to their charts the same way humans do. Horses have a strong mythological and historical connection with humans. We can see how Neptune/Pisces/12th house and Jupiter/Chiron/Sagittarius seem to be prominent in the interconnections between horse people and their horses. 

 

References: 

Star Tales - Ian Ridpath 

Wikipedia

The Secret Teachings of All Ages - Manly P. Hall 

Astrology, Magic and Alchemy in Art 

 

by Ursula Stockder Busch, Global Director, Mexico