Harnessing Our Power

The theme of the white horse began for me as a small child and the haunting but compelling tune of ‘White Horses‘ (from the old BBC children’s programme, sung by  Jackie Lee) that I played over and over again on my parent’s record player. I didn’t understand the fascination, nor did I ever want to ride a horse as many other girls did; what I loved were images of wild horses, manes a-flow, as they galloped across plains, representing for me absolute freedom to be. The metaphor of the horse as a symbol of the freedom to harness personal power is widespread; from the ancient horse goddesses Epona and Rhiannon to the Windhorse of the Buddhist tradition; the white horse is archetypal and powerful.

In the Celtic myth of Old Briton; the 13 Treasures, it is the 5th treasure which represents the theme of today’s show: the Halter of Clydno Eiddyn could bring any horse to us to take us swiftly to where we want to go. Back in the Bronze Age when wild horses were first being tamed an unparalleled phenomena was taking place across Eurasia; millennia old wandering tribes of Hunter Gatherers and settling farming communities were beginning a long process of assimilation and change. As the two peoples met and separated at the edges where hunting and foraging grounds met territorial boundaries of villages, then towns, then cities, difference began to emerge, not as a thing to be celebrated, but as a cause of disconcert, unease and fear.

It is said that the biblical tales of Eden and the notion of Other, and of good and bad began there, as the farming settlers troubled by every nuance of climate from a flash flood or a drought to climate change on a grand scale, began to both resent and despise the freedom of the wandering tribes, who in turn, as the settlements grew ever larger to incorporate more and more growing land on which to guarantee a good harvest to feed an ever growing populace, seemed ever to remove from their lost Eden more and more of the landscape the  Nomads held sacred & revered. It could be said that it is here that fear took a hold of our ancestors in such a way as to be overwhelming, to be held back and repressed lest it reduced them to powerlessness.

And so it was that by the Age of Chivalry the Arthurian cycle of tales told of the wounded masculine, the Fisher King, the forever wounded monarch and consort of the land.

On a magical journey with a siblinghood of fellow seekers at the Elmhirst Centre on the Dartington Estate our bard sang to the ancient old yew grandmother. …

We sing beneath

2000 year old yew

But I am drawn

To her son


A magnificent specimen

Just there to one side

He speaks to me

Of a connection to be made


I speak to Yew

It is I who am sick

Says he

The castrated male


See me

Know me

So that I may know myself

From the inside

In the gardens I wandered on a shamanic journeying to feel into the deepest roots of the unfeeling pain of our times. I entered an old oak split by lightening, stood in its centre, & picked up from where he had fallen a broken branch, the castrated male within. Took him home and placed him in the midst of the large tropical love plant that grows toward the light on my stairs, there to ponder daily, this question, this piece of our wholeness I have felt called to find.

The sacred feminine is not dead, she merely waits, bides her time, for the king, her consort to be healed and the land replenished by his grace, his humility, his love.

In the myth of Parzival we find the answers to this eternal dilemma. Parzival is young, impulsive, rash and foolish; the perfect young fool; hero in the making. He leaves the woman he loves to roam the lands as a knight, seeking out fights, chopping off heads at the slightest provocation, looking for his glory, seeking fame and honours. So head strong and ego centric is he that even though he is chosen to enter the kingdom of the grail, where none but a few are called, he fails to carry out the task he was destined to undertake; to ask a question of the ailing fisher king.

Many there are that seek to tell of why the consort of the land incurred such a wound, in his groin, that would not heal, caused him endless pain, yet did not kill him but I like the interpretation of Irish wise woman Sharon Blackie who tells of the Well Women, the keepers of the sacred waters of the earth and of how they, free, virgin, sacred servers of the feminine grail, were raped by the masculine warriors who had lost their senses; that rather than guardians of the land their sovereign, they served their own desires instead, and the balance of the world was lost. African myth tells us that fire, the element of the warrior, is ever in relationship with earth, the element of the sovereign, and only when fire serves earth is balance restored.

Parzival, having failed to do the deed he was called to do must leave the wondrous kingdom of the grail, where the lands have lain barren and dead, since the time of the king’s wounding and wanders ever more dismal till he meets an old hermit with whom he stays and learns many truths till he is dejected and finally ready to listen to advice.

Did you ask the Question?

No, I did not.

Things go and things come as they are wont to do in story and by and by Parzival finds himself back in the realm of the grail and once more before the fisher king.

“What ails you uncle?” asks he

And at once all is well. The old king is healed of his wound and the land all around begins immediately to lose its pallor, new shoots spring, and life has returned to the kingdom of the grail, and more, Parzival is its new king, is reunited with the woman he loves. who has waited for him, and all is well.

The myth speaks of the hero’s journey from fool to king. It is only when the warrior learns humility, to act out of love for others, nor fear and rash violence, that things change, the earth has her consort once more and the true nature of courage, as inner surrender, is learnt and balance restored.


Could to do nothing

Be the greatest act of all?

Could to stand witness

And mourn


Be sacred work?

To then let the joy

Of passion

Guide us


To play our part?



We venerated you



We’re gone

And you still stand

We exist to feel


To feel, my friends

To feel

To feel our connection

And then to joyously


Connect with all our glorious physicality

The hairs on the fox’s paws

Shiver in resonance

You get it



This is it

Your purpose

The visceral





To life itself


‘Twas your control that

Fucked it

After all,

Wasn’t it?


Your fear of annihilation

Brought iron clad prison walls

 to bear

On paradise


You feared the deluge

The flood and the desert

You feared the fire and brimstone

The earthquake and the tidal wave


Cyclone and dust bowl

Landslide and mudslide

You feared for your life

And in doing so


Took it yourself


You locked away every last cell of magic

From yourself and your kin


Your children

And their children’s children

You took imagination

And twisted it unmercilessly


Into a parody of itself

Created monsters

And places to hide

From your self made fear


We are here to feel,

my friend

To live

And to die



On the edge

Of ecstasy

In every moment


The enemy, my friend

Lies not in politicians’ words

Subcontractors rude actions

The steady onslaught of technological progress


The enemy lies within

Loose your fear onto the world

Let it show

And let it feel


We are small vulnerable creatures

We bleed, we bruise,

 we break

And that is our power


We feel the rawness

Of a January day

We feel the

Cold slippery mud


We feel



And afraid


Look at it


This fear

Of what are we afraid?


To lose that tender sensation of exquisite sensitivity?

Hasn’t it gone already?

What have we got to lose?

Only our fear, my friends.


We cling to a parody of life

For deep down we deeply honour this

Time in our bodies

We know its precious vulnerable essence


We protect it in iron clad prisons

We may as well be dead

We are our own gaolers

And how well we perform that role



And feel

Wail at the loss of beauty

Till you are spent


Then feel your passion rise

And dance

My friend

The dance of life itself


It will tell you all you need to know

Is wrapped up

In one precious moment

Called Now


Storyweaver Clarissa Pinkola Estés, in her Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype: “Women Who Run With the Wolves” has this to say:

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious.
If you have a deep scar, that is a door, if you have an old, old story, that is a door.
If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door.
If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.

And Derek Tasker this:

I wonder what would happen if
I treated everyone like I was in love
with them, whether I like them or not
and whether they respond or not and no matter
what they say or do to me and even if I see
things in them which are ugly twisted petty
cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept
all that and turn my attention to some small
weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on
that until it shines like a beam of light
like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust
it to burn away all the waste which is not
never was my business to meddle with.

Romeck van Zeijl posted on facebook that we have the power to make things worse in every moment. Fitting words for a Fisher King blog. Here he is in conversation with me on this month’s “Stories with Steph” talking about Circling, Trauma and Ecology, and authentic relationship.


In every moment we can choose fear or we can choose love; re-visioning ourselves with every breath.  Perhaps when we understand that both change the world, and it is our choice what changes happen, we will realise our divine natures and act responsibly.

Thanks to Romeck van Zeijl

Boe Huntress

Michael Holt Music

Lua Maria Wild White Horses

Derek Tasker

and Clarrissa Pinkola Estes “Women Who Run with Wolves”