The Sacred Dog
In the 1500’s when the Conquistadors travelled by sea to the Americas they brought horses. Some of the horses escaped and were able to thrive and multiply in their new lush environment.
When the indigenous people of the Americas met this different type of four legged, they considered and named them the Sacred Dog. Until then, native people had relied on dogs to help carry and transport their food and shelter.
Consequently, because of the horse, the lives of these indigenous people transformed. They were able to expand their movement, promoting interaction between neighboring tribes as well as creating different ways of hunting. The horse became extremely valuable and an integral part of their lifestyle.
In my outdoor Family Constellation therapeutic practice, the horses and I team together to hold space for clients to reconnect to the lost parts of themselves. Horses, with their sophisticated hyper awareness, are able to discern systemic tension and dis-order. Having a sense of where the tension lies, they promote balance through their presence and actions.
The horse helps to create pathways for memories, emotions, wounds and ancestors to be met, allowing movement and positive possibilities.
When we acknowledge and welcome back the lost parts of our soul we regain our power. The energy we transmit when standing fully present and integrated is magnetic to the horse. It’s in the horse's nature to want to herd and they will bond to people within a safe environment.
Recently, while my Native American boyfriend and I were constructing an over head shelter for the horses we got into a conversation around his angst at being attacked negatively by someone in his life. In observation of his posture, voice and rhythm I could tell he was suffering and I felt compelled to help him.
I started by having him anchor into his body, the feelings and sensations he was experiencing in reference to his situation. I asked him questions such as ‘How do you feel right now, and where does this feeling inhabit your body?’
We happened to be standing in a coral with three horses. As I began to process him the two mares, Ruby and Jackie walked over. Jackie stood behind him, gently pressing her body against his back, and Ruby stood by his side, her face close to his arms and chest. Both mares held their positions while I continued to gently direct his attention to his body.
He recalled a time, at seven years old, while in his bedroom, he had put his head inside the newly, installed, heating vent. With his head in the vent, he overheard his parents talking in their bedroom. As he eves dropped on their conversation, he was shocked to hear them speaking about him.
They spoke about how he was different from their other children and how they were at a loss of how to deal with him. Obviously, this is not what he would have chosen to have heard from his parents and with guilt, (he knew it was wrong to spy on his parents), and heart break (he felt his parents didn’t love him) he carried this wound for the next sixty years or so years of his life.
As he was accessing this memory, there was a sudden movement within the herd. One of the horses knocked into a ladder and Jackie and Ruby with incredible velocity and power, leapt away from us. In unison, the entire herd thundered away from their positions, sending shock waves through my body. It felt as though an intense voltage of energy had been released. A few minutes later, after the two mares had resumed their position, the same, sudden movement repeated itself and again the mares returned to stand with us.
Jackie and Ruby continued to hold my boyfriend in a space filled with love and affection. (The feeling was palpable). What was happening with us in the coral was mirroring something in my boyfriend's energetic field and consequently his energy was re-organizing itself.
Afterwards, he shared with me, that after years of praying in sweat lodges and participating in native healing ceremonies he’d never been able to reach and identify this childhood wound. In hindsight, from a family systemic perspective, I perceived the mares to be representatives of his parents, who've long since passed. The love for their son, was undeniable. As they stood and supported him in finding resonance with his pain, he was able to let it go. When I asked him what was different, he said a huge weight and been lifted and he no longer felt a painful association to this memory.
In my professional practice with horses, I’m constantly reminded of their intuition and innate intelligence of what is happening in the moment. Their generosity of heart, satiates all those who comes into contact with them and their ability to support our connection to earth and sky brings us into alignment with who we are and our purpose of being. I consider horses sacred in every meaning of the word and continue to promote relations to them in a kind and reverent manner.
Written by Sara Fancy.
Sara is originally from the UK and currently resides with her herd of eight horses at her business Silver Horse Retreat in Warner Springs, CA, US.
Illustration Red Mustang from Con A Corazon Story of a Wild Mustang by Sara Fancy
Sepia photo of Native American Horse Rider, by Zoe Urness NativeAmericantraditionsUSA.com
Native American Chief with White Horse photo by Tianna Terry