by Kym Lambert (copyright © 2004 Kym Lambert, all rights reserved, do not republish anywhere)
What we are looking for is connection. All of us. Through religion, whether solemn rite or ecstatic trance. Through social interaction, whether loving friends or social frenzy. Through food, through drink, through drug. What we really want is connection. I find it through my dogs and horse.
Through time with my dogs I connect to myself as a toddler, who could not be convinced by my parents that I wasn't a dog. They connect me to a great-grandfather I never could have met who herded with dogs, with all through the ages who depended on a working relationship with canines to survive. The most universal of interspecies interdependence, across the continents we shared our lives. To the earliest of humans who attracted the nearness of wolves, both species taking small steps towards actually sharing their lives together. Helping us always in building civilization, they also keep us wild. They connect me to the wild, to the life of wolves simply by the way they live their lives. They are wildness within domesticity, their communication, their actions are just as their wild ancestors, modified only as they need them to be to live with us. And it is religion, they connect me too to the Bitch Goddesses, those who are companion to or even are wolf or hound. Nehalennia accompanied by dogs, Frigg with Her hound-pulled chariot, the Morrígan who could be the wolf bitch and who favored a warrior-boy named for being a dog even though he did not live up to the loyalty one might expect from a real one.
With my horse I am connected to the slightly older child I was, elf-locked and barefoot sitting like a child of the Steppe upon a pony. And to the child a few years later, racing about pretending to be a cowgirl, an Indian, an Amazon. And from there is the connection to the very women of history or lore who I wished to emulate. From those Amazons as the Greeks saw them which I learned about in school, I am taken to those very real women of the ancient Steppes, not monsters as those who first told us of them thought, but as I saw through those lies from the first: strong, powerful, of art and war. And through them to the very first horse listener, for was she not some young woman who managed to find a bond with a milk mare until the mare let her ride upon her back? A change in relationship with a food animal that would eventually lead her people to changes they could never have comprehended then and led to changes in culture throughout the world as time went by. Until we ceased to actually need the horse and had the time to again explore what our actual connection could be. And I am again connected to nature in a way that one who walks on two feet seldom can be, for upon four animals fear me less. And again there are the Goddesses, Epona whose influence was so great that She found worship by both Celt and Roman, Rhiannon who suffered as a work mare, to Macha who ran as a mighty race horse before giving birth and cursing those who would bring suffering to a being so mighty.
copyright © 1997, 2004 Kym Lambert, except where noted, all rights reserved, do not republish either electronically or on paper and that means YOU!
Pictish Horse and hound background from drawings copyright © 2002 Aaron Miller.