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Riding on Horses’ Wings

Reimagining Today’s Horse for Tomorrow’s World

Janet Bubar Rich

The bond between humans and horses is deep. For humans, horses provide freedom. Riding on horses and horse-drawn chariots or carts has allowed humans to go farther and faster than they could on their own. Horses (now high-horsepower cars) are our wings. As a result, their images show up in our dreams and our personal and cultural stories as symbols not only of freedom, but of power, swiftness, nobility, and beauty. Equine images empower us to ride on inner journeys, explore the mysteries of the soul, and carry the human spirit forward. In bringing to life the horse tales of many cultures throughout the ages, Riding on Horses’ Wings is as whimsical and magical as it is inspiring. From the white-winged Pegasus and part-human Centaurs in ancient Greek myths, Epona in ancient Celtic lore, the eight-legged Sleipnir in Nordic tales, and Kanthaka in Buddhist lore, to the many horses in Native American mythologies and today’s literary and fine arts, movies, YouTube videos, and beyond, horses touch our hearts and elevate our imaginations. In this book, Janet Bubar Rich taps into our love of horses and horse tales, inspiring us all to take life by the reins, make the changes needed to improve our lives, and create sustainable futures for horses, humans, and other species on earth, our home.


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4. Horses of Norse Mythology


Chapter 4 Horses of Norse Mythology With his identity protected under his wide-brimmed hat, the wise and fearsome one-eyed god Odin dashes through Norse sagas on his mag- ical, wingless, eight-legged gray horse named Sleipnir. Together they fly like the wind between worlds mortal and divine. Odin’s Sleipnir is possibly the most beloved of all the horses in the richly-woven, rough and tumbling Viking folk tales as told in the Eddas and other poet- ic sagas from the northern Scandinavian countries of Norway, Den- mark, and Sweden from about 793 A.C.E. to 1066 A.C.E., and Iceland from about 800 A.C.E. In these tales, horses and their riders play vital roles. Warriors killed in battle, for example, are taken by horse-rid- ing Valkyries to the afterlife in Odin’s hall, Valhalla, or Freyja’s field, Fólkvangr. Many wondrous horses from Norse mythology romp through this chapter, including the magical Sleipnir, born of the stallion Svaoilfari and shape-shifter Loki in the form of a mare. Unveiled are insights into why Sleipnir is gifted to Odin, god of noblemen and kings, while Thor, god of the common man, does not ride a horse. 28 riding on horses’ wings Valkyries Take Deceased Warriors to Valhalla Viking tales banter about life in Midgard, or Middle Earth, for people, elves, dwarfs, and animals, as well as life in Asgard, or Sky World, for gods and goddesses, and a rainbow bridge connecting these two worlds. Monsters such as trolls, dragons, sea serpents, and other crea- tures add punch...

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