For some reason I have been thinking lately of a video I saw a few years ago on You tube called the ‘Wild Horses of Newbury’ and as often happens with these things, a magical synchronicity happened and someone posted it up on Facebook yesterday. For those of you who have not seen this piece of footage it is a recording of something that happened at the Newbury bypass protests some years ago as some wonderful old Oaks were being felled to make way for yet another road.
As the Oaks were being cut and felled by the chainsaws in front of the protesters, an army of police on horses and yellow jacketed “security”, in dark sunglasses many of them, hired for the “safety” of all, a pair of dark horses came running out of the fields apparently from no where. They ran to the trees being felled, in and through all of the crowds of yellow jackets they ran. The horses were obviously distressed, running backwards and forwards around the scene to the surprise and bewilderment of the officials. Then one of the horses went up to the row of police horses and seemed to speak to one in particular, it pressed it’s face onto the police horse and they seemed to be speaking to each other, the policeman sat stunned on the back of his horse and no one was sure what to do. After a while the horses left going back to where ever they had come, leaving the protesters sure that the spirits of the trees and the land had spoken to all present that day. Even as I write this now I find it hard to fight back the emotion from watching this clip of film again. I was not at the road protest but I know the sense of loss stays with many after all this time. I strongly recommend everyone to watch it, especially any of those who find it hard to see beyond the atheistic fog that hangs over paganism these days.
For me the above encounter serves to confirm the ideas I have always believed, that all things are connected and that all life has the ability to communicate across species, gender and culture, if we only have the ears to listen and the eyes to see. It was just like the bit in the movie Avatar when the whole of life gathers together in one final showdown with the humans to fight back their destruction, I wonder if the director had seen the Newbury horses on YouTube?
The Horse has been a symbol of Sovereignty for thousands of years. Kings regularly symbolically married a horse as part of his coronation ceremony. The great White Horse carved into the chalk hill at Uffington in Wiltshire attests to their influence on our forebears and even today many cultures have them as a powerful part of their shamanic traditions. Then there is the Oak, a symbol of strength and majesty, it has been revered as the Druids tree for so many years. The great oaks of our lands have been a bridge between the upper, middle and lower worlds for millennia, a place to gather for communities for problems to be solved, celebrations to enjoy and names to be carved to declare undying love and, Oh irony of ironies, they have been a symbol of protection in the form of house frames, doors and ships. So is it any wonder, as the horses ran through the dreadful scene of destruction, that all watching felt that the spirits of nature were trying to tell us all to look at what we do, that something truly otherworldly was going on in those moments.
Watching programs like the three part BBC series ‘How to Grow a Planet’ also helps – again science proving everything I have always felt, you will never look at plants the same way after that program! Plants communicate with each other sending danger signals to warn of predators, their breathing process is responsible for the air we breath, everything has sentience even the blades of grass under your feet.
Many years ago these ideas became something of a mini crisis, I became very freaked out even cutting up carrots after watching a ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ (Roald Dahl stories on TV), where a man invents a machine that could hear plants. He set it up next to an Oak and then hit the tree with an axe, the machine picked up the scream, he was also by a field of wheat being cut…..well I tell you I was a total vegetarian at the time and began to have real problems eating anything at all, it is all alive and breathing! Obviously I have calmed down a bit since and now needless to say try to honour everything I eat. I think that what this may be teaching me is that I have, at times, watched too much TV!
But seriously, if a person should ever need reminding or indeed the understanding that everything that lives, no matter what form it may take, is full of soulful, sentient energy, watching the Horses of Newbury will do it every time.