The Black Horse Spoke Through the Sunsets: the spiritual side of death

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The black horse died. The loss for the humans was harsh. He, in his intrinsic wisdom had known his own destiny; there was important work to accomplish for his humans, beyond the realms of the physical world.

As his time approached, he quietly orchestrated comforting messages and synchronicity to wrap softly around those he loved. He had whispered to a past caretaker who lived hours away, drawing her near to share, unbeknownst to her, in his final hours. Viewed with human eyes, it had appeared that she “just happened” to drop in for a visit that weekend, but as time continued to fleet away, it became evident that she had been called.

There was also a woman who had walked closely with him from the first week of her arrival at the ranch a year before. He had recognized her as a human who understood the language of horses, and had spoken to her almost audibly. They’d had numerous conversations together through the year. She referred to herself as the “woman in the wings,” and was soon to become his mouthpiece as she translated his messages.

Though the black horse was uncomfortable in a body stretched beyond its limits like a woman in painful childbirth, his soul was fully at peace as he stood in the warmth of coastal sunshine in the presence of the two he deeply loved, his guardian and the caretaker, pressing his head quietly against them. It was surreal. The “woman in the wings” was there lightly touching his rear end and his tail attempting to stimulate physical relief. However, the pain relief he experienced came from the love and peacefulness he felt that day as he stood close to his humans, and whenever his person was near.

Later that night, in the haze of his last hours, others who loved him seemed to float in and out as if he were in a dream. He felt their love and intentions, but could not respond. In the end, he departed in the quiet of the night seemingly alone. He was not. He was in his own barn in the rich golden light of a multitude of angelic beings who had been there all along, silently encircling him in the shadows as he travailed in his parting work. As the time neared to escort him home, there was a mix of somberness reflecting the seriousness and intensity of his calling, and eagerness as they slipped in close for the release of his pain body.

They were joined by the spirits of the horses from his herd both alive and physically near on the other side of the barn door, and those who had charted the way ahead years before, including countless other beings along with the “woman in the wings” who was often called on to accompany humans or animals into their new life. All were gathered around him for the journey. In the reverence of these moments of his departure, all were feeling the deepest awe and respect for what this horse was accomplishing beyond normal human perceptions.

Though not with him physically, the “woman in the wings” had felt celebration and release during the late night hours. She had hoped for his healing on the earth plane. That was not to be. Instead, she was experiencing his powerful surge as he ascended leaving body behind. And then there was quiet calm.

A sadness settled in at the ranch with the loss, but a quiet and fragile joy emerged in having known this magnificent being and having been a part of his life and his mission.

That night was a new beginning, not only for him, but for the “woman in the wings.” The evening after he had transitioned, he came through the sunset. She was dismayed because a very large and compact tree blocked her view except for tantalizing hints of warm light rich with deep color around the edges. She was quizzical. “Why a blocked sunset? There was nothing comforting in that.” He reminded her that he had died of a blockage in his body. In her grief, she brushed his response away because she already knew that. It was not a new understanding. So what was the metaphor? She had missed the sunset and the richness of the sky on fire. There was nothing resolved for her, and she was left with her intense sadness and a sense that he had betrayed her by only a hint of the sunset. However, she was able to rest in the comfort that he had come to her even though she did not understand the reason for his mysterious message.

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The next evening she was surprised by another sunset. This time the blockage was gone. She could see the unobstructed full expanse of the sunset as it rested peacefully over the Pacific Ocean. The black horse then revealed to her that he had absorbed the blockage and taken it away in his death, her blockage, and those blockages of the humans in his life. He explained this was why he had to go on his own terms. It was a sacred act. The blocked sunset had been an important metaphor for this message.

She began to understand the meaning of his death beyond normal human perceptions. The black horse had intercepted physical and emotional issues that would have weighed down the humans he loved. The weight would have been more than they each could bear. He not only had intercepted taking it into his own body, he had carried it away as he departed the earth plane. This was not a new phenomena, he reminded her. Some veterinarians have observed their 4-legged patients developing disease while their guardians go into remission. His homeward journey was making sense. He called her into the comfort of his mystical home and as she sat with him by the crackling sunset fire that was clearing away the obstructions literally in her life as well as her mind, she understood the magnificence of what he had done, and the cosmic scope of his act. He had given her another glimpse into that transcendent world she was seeking even while confined in a physical body.

He was not yet finished. There was a third sunset. This one had obstructions, but there was something different about it. The “obstructions” were elements of artistry. They were formed by human hands, ornamental and reflective, both attractive and functional. The sunset graced all that was natural and that which was manmade with its color and beauty. She was standing in divine presence with color literally surrounding her. The metaphor came to life and throbbed with vitality within her. Residual, tattered and time-wearied skepticism that had always taunted her began to disintegrate along with the blockages they bring. The actual transformation had been activated in her. She began to experience blockages as ornaments and reflections of beauty in her own life that she could never have imagined. Spirit merged and gilded all that was natural within her and that which was mundane and functional in her life. The process had begun. The black horse had launched the next chapter of her life’s story. Empty pages were beginning to be filled with new awakenings as old patterns were replaced with authenticity and a life infused with the spirit-filled ornamentation of her true self. The change was tangible.

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Her tribute to the Black Horse: You are a divine portal that has transformed our lives. Thank you for carrying our painful blockages, and for lighting the way to the world beyond with all its magical mysteries unfolding in our everyday lives. You have spoken. You have spoken through the sunsets.

-the woman in the wings

Continue reading “The Black Horse Spoke Through the Sunsets: the spiritual side of death”

Sketching Horses: Equine Guided (4 weekly classes)

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The Language of Horses…An Intuitive Approach

-learning to recognize equine guidance for you personally
-tapping your individual uniqueness
-seeing and feeling in new ways
-engaging your intuitive
-experiencing spiritual connections
-discovering new and personal artistic styles
-uncovering hidden mysteries in your art and yourself

DATES: Saturdays October 27 – November 17 ( If it rains we will reschedule or cozy up in the barn on hay bales, with hot apple cider, treats, and the delicious smell of horsey breath! Dress warmly.

TIME: 10 AM- 2 PM
LOCATION: Manchester (directions will be given with your registration) We will be meeting with the horses at a one-of-a-kind beautiful ranch with a menagerie of birds, horses, cows, goats, dogs, and cats)
FEE: $167  (4 classes 3-4 hours each),
EXPERIENCE: Non-artist to accomplished artist
WHAT TO BRING: Wear layered clothing, protective shoes or boots. Bring lunch, water, a journal, any size sketch pad (large is good if you need to stretch your boundaries, inexpensive pads okay, we’ll be doing lots of sketching), and pencils, pens, crayons, or charcoal whatever you prefer (I personally love charcoal), as well as additional materials such as watercolors or your own preferred medium. Beginners, talk to me.
REGISTRATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, October 24, 2018** This is not a drop-in class. Please pay in full for all 4 classes. For payment arrangements please contact me. Cash or check okay. No Refunds once classes start.

**There is room for 6 participants, so register early to reserve a place.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Like climbing Mt. Everest, horses are challenging to sketch, but the rewards are intrinsic. In this class we will rely on different skills to capture the magnificence of the equine form and spirit,…as well as our own. We will use an irreverent approach to our art, stepping outside the box of our own artistic style and needs.

This is not a class about conventional or mechanical technique. The goal will be to let the horses take us deeper into ourselves in a spiritual sense and discover our own purpose and intuitive styles both in our lives and our art. As we follow their guidance, our equine guides will uncover delights we didn’t know we had hidden under our predetermined self perceptions.

The class is meant to be lighthearted and fun, but deep acting. We will use sketching and movement exercises to explore different ways of looking, seeing, and feeling the freedom of the moving equine forms, to engage our intuitive, to capture the equine spirit merged with our own, and to observe what the horses are reflecting to us about our soul and our own unique artistic style. There will be a strong thread of self discovery through our art, through the interaction with other artists, and through the inspiration of 5 horses. While the class is focused on sketching horses, this approach can be applied to any subject as well as other forms of art. For more information, please call or email me.

Equine Guides: Dollar, Shaman, Mariah, Amoura, and Kaheka
Interpreter/Facilitator: Beverly Smith

About: Beverly and The Herd:
Beverly, a 76 year old retired classroom instructor, artist, and writer, works with horses in non-traditional ways. After her first horse, Apolinaire, refused the traditional approach, she embarked on a path to learn directly from him and from each additional horse she rescued. Over the next 25 years she observed the spiritual connection between horse and human. The horses were the whisperers, and she became the interpreter of their language. Today Dollar, Shaman, Mariah, Amoura, and Kaheka still work with her and with other humans who choose to experience the transformational wisdom and healing these animals offer.

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Walking Away

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Amoura. “Walking Away”

Amoura was the third to open her classroom door to me. I had learned non-resistance from Shaman, and sensitivity rather than anger from Kaheka. Since non-resistance was so amazing, I was prepared to experience that with Amoura, but I wasn’t quite sure how to apply it to her, and did not want to do it as a technique, and especially if not appropriate.

I wanted to check her hooves and to clean them from impacted debris. I don’t usually put a halter on to pick up hooves. When I leaned over to lift her front hoof, she walked away.  For some reason that makes me feel a little awkward and silly when that happens, as if someone is watching and I feel embarrassed that the horse had her way with me.  I must admit that I become more determined and forceful. Today I had an overflow of peaceful energy from Shaman so I stepped back and relaxed into the process. I let her walk away (as if I had a choice!). I was feeling a kind of non-resistance but we weren’t making any progress toward solving the hoof issue, though I could have let that go.

Of course I continued to try again, and again unsuccessfully. Each time I peacefully watched her walk away. I noticed, though, that she actually wanted me to clean her hooves and would circle around, and come up to me, but then walk away just as I reached out for her hoof. This is something Amoura has done since she first joined the herd. She wants to cooperate but because of her abusive background, she has difficulty trusting.

“Fear,” she whispered. Aah. Professor Amoura gave me a “classroom” tip. It was fear! As I had learned with Kaheka, I started to reassure her in a soft, gentle, voice. She immediately stopped in perfect synchronicity with my energy shift, and lifted her hoof. Four hooves later, she had clean feet!

Such a subtle shift in recognizing her fear, and a simple reassurance was all that was needed. I could have haltered her and forced the issue, but we would have both missed out on the deeper connection, and on the lesson she wanted me to learn. Does it take time and patience? Sometimes, yes! But the deeper connection with the horse is worth the wait, and sets the stage for going even deeper next time. It is also preparing me personally for working with ordinary problems with other horses in non aggressive ways, and with humans as well.

 

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Amoura. “For the Joy of It”

Non Resistance

Bury Your Head In This. ..And Smell His Horsey Breath

Shaman is a teddy bear disguised as a large horse. People love to bury their heads in his neck, smell his sweet horsey breath, and sink their lips into his soft muzzle.

He recently presented me with a new problem to solve, after Kaheka Boy and I finally resolved a halter issue with him (prior post). It all started when I recently made a commitment to get more serious about working with equine problems other than my own. Since then the horses in my care have lined up to present new lessons to get me ready. As the “professors” in their equine university, they never miss a chance to groom and school me for what is next. Thankfully they always show me where I have already changed but didn’t realize it. One of those times is demonstrated in this story.

Apparently I had to first be shown a technique that I didn’t like. An acquaintance wanted to show me a 1-2-3 step to get Shaman to step forward on “demand.” (her word, not mine) Multiple times he failed steps 1 and 2 and ended with the 3rd step which was jerking on Shaman’s head and using the abrasiveness of the rope halter to get him to step forward. No. That is not to be my relationship with horses! That was clear. So, I was now ready for my own step forward with my equine instructors.

A friend, who is honing her skill of listening carefully to her horse, said to me recently that her desire is to work with her horse in a way that allows her to choose to cooperate without threatening consequences. We both value an authentic, cooperative, and deepening spiritual relationship with our horses. A horse may change its behavior because of uncomfortable or negative consequences, but that change is based on discomfort or fear, and hierarchy, not trust and cooperation which is my goal here at the ranch. While there may be the desired outward change, their connection with their human is not the same.

Daily I move Shaman back and forth between paddock and pasture at supplement time. He tries to sneak away under the rope I use as a corridor to guide him. After multiple attempts, I hoped he would settle into a routine. He didn’t. Finally, I put a lead rope gently over his neck like a bolo tie with my hands as a clasp beneath so I could guide him to our destination. He immediately did an awesome musical figure 8 with his huge neck and head and almost dislodged the rope, pulling his head under and away from any confinement. Clever. And a bit mischievous. I, instead of bracing and holding the rope taut like I normally do, was extremely surprised by my spontaneous and effortless response which was a new experience for me. Without thought, I simultaneously released any tension on the rope. Still holding it, I let it drape loosely in place beneath his neck, and felt that inner place of peacefulness and harmony. He stopped immediately. There was no resistance for him to push against. I waited. At last he took a step to move forward with me.

For 5 days we did this. Each day he whirled his head around to free himself from the rope. Each day I relaxed and released any tension. The 6th day, after putting the rope softly over his neck yet again, there was quiet. There was no figure 8 with his head. None. Instead he immediately stepped softly forward on his own initiative toward our destination. It was a gracefully choreographed movement which I am sure was designed by the gods with me as his dance partner. We then walked side by side with his bulky body light as a feather!!

There was no human jerking his head, and no figure 8 maneuver on his part. Instead he chose to step forward quietly without any waiting…and without any threat. We floated back to the pasture. He gave me these moments of feeling what two Olympic ice skaters must experience during a gold medal performance. Complete synchronicity and pure harmony. We’ve been experiencing that daily since then. The joy of non resistance. Not a technique, nor a rule for all times, but a pure moment when what was right for that time, emerged spontaneously.

 

What My Horse Taught Me Today

Kaheka Boy

Tonight I tangled with Kaheka Boy. Again. Every evening I put the halter on him before turning him out into the interim pasture to eat his supplement. Every night he throws his head at the very last minute just as I am buckling the halter, jerking it right out of my hands and propelling it to the ground. Each night I yell at him, “Every goddamn night you do this!” all the while I’m cringing inside with poisonous shame and guilt. I knew I was being a bitch and not solving the problem even a little bit. Even though I knew there was a better way, taking the easier road, I persisted in my reactionary response.

My goal for the past 20 years has been to work cooperatively with horses. But I still forget. Tonight, I not only yelled but I picked up his halter from the ground and threw it back down. Hard! I don’t think I could ever hit this horse but throwing the halter on the ground like I did felt like the same harsh energy. Even though he is in his 20’s, an older guy by now, he has a youthful innocence. Like a teenager, he can be challenging but endearing at the same time, and extremely sensitive. In this instance, he simply rolled his eyes, turned his head and looked around as if embarrassed, to see if anyone was watching my foolishness, then patronized me with a “guru” type superior nod as he patiently observed my childish tantrum.

When the halter hit the ground in a puff of dust, I wondered at how I had regressed. It seems the closer I get to responding to ordinary behavioral issues in nontraditional ways, I backslide more ruthlessly into the very tradition I am hoping to abandon. But all was not lost.

In my efforts to work cooperatively with horses, Kaheka communicated to me now that I was listening with intent to learn from him. He had been throwing his head nightly when I haltered him because he was nervous about the other horses nearby. When I started buckling the halter, he felt constricted and more confined. Instinct for flight overtook him and he threw his head ready to flee. As he explained what was going on with him, I began to feel compassion and understanding. I instinctively lowered my voice, reassuring him that he was safe. “You’re okay, Kaheka, you are okay,” I was reminding him that all was well. And it was! We breezed through haltering him that night.

The next time, he threw his head again! My heart sank after thinking we had found a solution. “Wait,” he said, “This is a process. Don’t give up on me.” He meant don’t give up on yourself! I took a deep breath, let it out slowly, then, spoke softly again and reminded him to try to keep his head down, and that he was safe. After more coaching from him, I gave him space to stand in a position that helped him feel more confidant, where he could see the other horses. I whispered reminders to keep his head down, and to reassure him. All has gone smoothly since.

We are now both getting what we want. I get to buckle him without hassle, and he gets to feel confident and safe. I can feel him still on the alert, but putting every effort into keeping his head from flinging upward. He gets buckled more quickly, and then gets to his food sooner. There is a new camaraderie between us instead of antagonism.

In addition Kaheka also has shown me how I do the same thing in my own life. Throwing my head when I’m starting to feel constricted and unsafe, and slowing the process of forward movement by giving into my fears. That is his “guru” lesson for me.

Gratefully, the connection and the cooperation between Kaheka and me has grown deeper and at the same time more transcendent. It is another step forward on our horse and human journey, to work together in cooperation.

 

Spiritual Rendezvous with the Black Horse

Cole’s black coat glistened in the moonlight. Well defined contours beckoned me to run my hands along his firm body, but there was a sacredness about this moment that caused me to refrain. Unbeknownst to me, he had been waiting quietly by his gate for a rendezvous with me.

A few minutes earlier on the other side of the barn, I had been speaking a goodnight blessing to the other horses who were moving out into the pasture for the night. I suddenly became melancholic. Tears of sadness came pouring forth without restraint. I wasn’t sure what had triggered them, but there was an overwhelming desire to connect with a partner, someone who would understand and share the depth of what I was feeling. I stood alone at the fence watching the horses move slowly away in the dim light.

I didn’t realize during these moments that the partner for whom I longed would be a horse. Although having lived with horses for years, such arrangements were not new to me. Cole was calling to me in the other-worldly way that came to me as a sudden remembrance of him, an awareness that sparked hope in my heart.

I walked around the barn to seek him out, not realizing yet that he was the one drawing me. As I approached, I could see a hint of his dark form through the gate and an aura of magnificence around him. I felt a sense of awe as he stood in stillness. With my heart still full of fresh sadness, I spoke through sobbing tears while he listened. Cole had been one of the horses on the ranch that I’d felt sorry for because of hoof issues and needing to be isolated. Tonight, even though he was still separated from the herd, it was different. I began to recognize him as a powerful spiritual being who had only been in the disguise as a victim. Instead, as a sentient being, he was well aware that his challenging path was his own personal language of healing.

After Cole had given me full attention free of interruptions, or demands that I scratch here, or rub there, I grew calm. We stood in full communion in the light of the moon as he shared his own story with me both from his history at the ranch and from the mystical perspective which is the gift horses have offered through the ages. He opened up a new understanding for me of the healing that was transpiring there on the land behind the scenes through the herd of 10 horses.

I became aware of Cole’s role as leader in that capacity, and the unique gifts my herd of 5 were bringing in participation of the spiritual mission. He revealed the mystical whisperings that brought us here 6 months ago. We too had come in our victim disguise but there was a more honorable purpose emerging. The horses knew all along. They live in that mystical dimension if we allow it. Only now was I invited into the understanding, or perhaps only now was I capable of receiving it.

Cole had initiated conversation those months ago within the first week or so of our arrival. It was clear and concise. I had a message to deliver to his owner. But now the fullness of it was being revealed months later under the moonlit sky.

In those sacred moments of rendezvous, Cole as my spiritual mentor, pulled apart the mystical curtains and let me see behind the veil. I understood his sadness. I understood my tears. I was sharing in the sadness he was intercepting for others. The longing I had felt for a partner with whom to share the sadness, was his longing for a partner with whom to share. That night, I was that partner, and he was mine.

He made it clear that my role was not to pity him nor to try to fix him, but to acknowledge who he was as a spiritual being and to walk beside him as a spiritual, emotional and physical support. He explained that I can be the hands to loosen a tight muscle, or to bring pleasure and relief as I stretch his nostrils, masssage his gums, and roll the tissue around his mouth all of which he loves. I can share in his emotional load as I did this night, and be his spiritual mouthpiece when needed. He reaffirmed that I was to be the the equine spokesperson translating their language for human understanding.

My rendezvous with Cole expanded my vision into the unseen world. The plants and animals and the earth itself are constantly speaking their language to us. We have only to listen, allow them to teach us how to interpret, and discover our own purpose as one with the universe.

The time is now.

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