(Lilith: A Romance by George MacDonald, excerpt Chapter XXXI. First published in 1895. Detail from “The Prince Rode Out In The Moonlight” by John Bauer, 1882-1918.)
I stood and watched the last gleam of the white leopardess melt away, then turned to follow my guide—but reluctantly. What had I to do with sleep? Surely reason was the same in every world, and what reason could there be in going to sleep with the dead, when the hour was calling the live man? Besides, no one would wake me, and how could I be certain of waking early—of waking at all?—the sleepers in that house let morning glide into noon, and noon into night, nor ever stirred! I murmured, but followed, for I knew not what else to do.
The librarian walked on in silence, and I walked silent as he. Time and space glided past us. The sun set; it began to grow dark, and I felt in the air the spreading cold of the chamber of death. My heart sank lower and lower. I began to lose sight of the lean, long-coated figure, and at length could no more hear his swishing stride through the heather. But then I heard instead the slow-flapping wings of the raven; and, at intervals, now a firefly, now a gleaming butterfly rose into into the rayless air. By and by the moon appeared, slow crossing the far horizon.
“You are tired, are you not, Mr. Vane?” said the raven, alighting on a stone. “You must make acquaintance with the horse that will carry you in the morning!”
He gave a strange whistle through his long black beak. A spot appeared on the face of the half-risen moon. To my ears came presently the drumming of swift, soft-galloping hoofs, and in a minute or two, out of the very disc of the moon, low-thundered the terrible horse.
(© Kip Mistral 2018)
The labyrinth is a archetypal symbol that has appeared in pan-global culture, art and literature for thousands of years. A formal labyrinth created for meditation appears to meander in circles, but in reality is a purposeful path that focuses our attention in a powerful way on a personal pilgrimage experience. The word labyrinth can also describe a place, as in a garden maze, full of intricate paths and blind alleys, or as in the myth of the Minotaur, who is found in a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers on the island of Crete in Greece. Finally, it can be used to describe something extremely complex, intricate, confusing, and even tortuous. And why would I use that word in the title of a blog post that also includes the word “riding” and the name of my beloved Valentín (Val for short)?
(© Kip Mistral 2018. Horsewoman Petting Dog by Alfred de Dreux.)
Recently I was asked by the lovely folks at www.horsesandfoals.com to contribute to their “expert roundup” to answer the following two questions:
1. How do you bond with your horse so that you can get him/her to trust you? and 2. What is your best tip for bonding with a new horse?
(© Kip Mistral 2018)
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
~ William Butler Yeats, from “Under Ben Bulben”
“Beaches, Dunes and Trails: This unguided ride is for experienced and resourceful horse people who are prepared to take all responsibility for themselves and their mounts for a week,” the description began…
(© Paul Belasik, from “The Songs of Horses,” first published 1999. Reprinted with permission of the author and The Crowood Press. “Louis XV hunting deer in the forest of Saint Germain” by Jean-Baptiste Oudry. This story was inspired by the 18th century écuyer to King Louis XV, Louis Cazeau de Nestier, also called The Grand Silence. It is said that the rider on the grey horse on the left side of this painting is Nestier.)
Somewhere in the countryside near Paris, 1735…
It is ironic to say that I had heard of his great horsemanship, since he was known as the Grand Silence. I had seen him hunting near Paris, where I once had lived. I have to say that I thought of him then more as the Great Arrogance or the Great Pomposity. It was through the following twist of fate that I met him.