Due to its natural companionship with man in both work and art, the Horse easily wins a special seat in history, ranking high marks of honor, reverence and symbolism.
Serving man in war, mobility, productivity, agriculture, development of all kinds, the Horse is by far one of the largest contributor to the enhancement of civilization.
With such recognition and accomplishments, a vast and diverse trail of symbol meanings is sure to follow the horse's rich history with humankind.
A summary of prevalent symbol meanings for the horse...
The Horse symbol meanings of power are widespread through most cultures, and it is linked as an emblem of life-force. Many cultures assign the attributes of the four elements to the Horse: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.
As a Celtic symbol,the Horse was associated with war. With war, comes attributes of victory, conquer, longevity as well as procurement of territory and other spoils that come with triumph in battle.
All of these heady aspects of valor were associated with the Horse in Celt animal symbolism. In fact, so much so, the Celts hailed the Horse as the beast belonging to the sun god, and assigned it a place with the goddess Epona (see Celtic Gods & Goddesses for more information on Epona).
The Greco-Romans also associated the Horse with the spoils of war and attributed it to symbolism such as power, victory, honor, domination and virility. In Greco-Roman myth the Horse is said to be created by Poseidon (Neptune) and is devoted to Hades (Pluto) and Ares (Mars). Romans also believed the Horse to be a symbol of the continuity of life, and would sacrifice a horse to the god Mars every October, keeping its tail through the winter as a sign of fertility and rebirth.
In Hindu Brihadaranyaka, the Horse is linked to Varuna and as such, is equated to the cosmos. Additionally, a white horse is believed to be the last incarnation of Vishnu.
Buddha is said to have left this physical plane riding a white horse. Also in Buddhism a winged horse is often depicted carrying the Book of Law.
As a Native American symbol, the Horse symbol meanings combine the grounded power of the earth with the whispers of wisdom found in the spirit winds. The Horse has long been honored has helper, messenger, and harbinger of spirit knowledge to the Native American. Considered wild and an emblem of freedom, the Native American sees many potentialities in the symbolic nature of this noble creature.
Another aspect of Native American symbol meanings of the horse comes with the understanding that the wild freedom of the Horse can be harnessed and used to the benefit of the tribe. This understanding comes only when man and beast enter a silent contract - acknowledging mutual respect and awareness of responsibility to each other. (follow this link for other Native American Symbols on this website).
What about a horse of a different color? The color of the Horse is also steeped with symbol meanings. Here are the most common color meanings for the Horse:
Just as in ancient culture, the symbol meanings for the Horse are just as strong in dreams. Carl Jung observed the Horse to represent the intuitive aspect of human nature, and also thought it was a symbol of the human body in certain dreams.
Seeing yourself riding a Horse in your dreams may indicate you will see a project or event to successful conclusion. Falling off a Horse in your dreams indicates you're nervous about a project or event you have scheduled. Dreaming of a Horse with reins, pulling a wagon, tied with ropes, etc., indicates you are feeling restricted and desire more freedom in your life. A bucking Horse in your dreams indicates a need to break old habits.
For more symbol meanings of animals in dreams click here for Animals in Dreams page.
You may also want to catch my blog post on Sky Dogs and Horse Helpers for insights on how horses can teach us some profound lessons about partnerships with animalkind.
I hope you have enjoyed this summary of symbol meanings for the Horse. Be sure to click on the in-site links at the end of this page for more symbol meanings, as well as articles on animal symbolism. Thanks for reading, and happy symbolic interpretations.
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!
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Three Wild Horses, by: Marcia Baldwin
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