Welcome the Year of the Horse 2014!
There is still a bit of the excitement from the Chinese New Year celebration a few days ago, ushering in the powerful and dynamically charging Wood Horse!
The Wood Horse is anticipated to bring in lots of aggressive energy, momentum and vitality to everyone in 2014. The year of the bronco is always one of fun and frantic movement, so expect to be busy and bucking forward in your slowest moving projects.
This year of the Horse is ideal
for doing what you have always wanted to do but were afraid to.
You'll be surprised to have the courage and ingenuity to pursue your
dreams for this is the year that will make them all happen!
In China, the horse is a very meaningful reminder of passion and progress. It is also a powerful symbol of the country's prosperity and promising future. The Horse has given us an indelible image of freedom, perseverance and pursuit, not only in China, but the world over.
Born in the Year of the Horse
In Asia, the year of the Horse is a most awaited year to kick-start important projects. They say that those born in this year cannot help but play an active role in their communities, and their schedules are often hectic. Horse people make fine, persuasive leaders who are firm in their sense of justice and are not easily won over by clever arguments. A Horse person is marked by his or her loyalty to family and friends, sticking with them for a lifetime.
People born in the year of the Horse are expected to be elegant in looks and clothes, like the Horse that appears noble and fabulous in any pose. They are vivacious and idealistic, attracting people effortlessly with their inspiring talk and outstanding skills. They also enjoy popularity and good company wherever they are: in school, at work, even in the family.
What's It Like Being a Horse?
People born in the year of the Horse are some of the most ambitious among the zodiac animals. They like to daydream too, which can take up most of their time if they are not mindful. Their child-like happiness is infectious, and their humor is fascinating.
Horse-born people love to travel and abhor being stuck in one place for long. They are intense, restless and emotional, and crave the pleasure that can be had from the pettiest thrills.
Although outwardly confident, innovative and happy,
Horses harbor a great fear: failure. They secretly doubt their abilities
and decisions regarding work, love or life. To mask their insecurities,
the Horse will start a new project or shift careers, feigning boredom
over his or her last one.
Although it is most noble and diligent, it is well-known in Asia that Horse people have a mild streak of arrogance along with its cheerful and well-meaning facade. The last thing they would do is ask other people for help. Fiery Horses are easily amused, and get bored just as quickly. They also like to be sincerely praised from time to time. There is the popular expression, Yi Ma, which translates to "horse of the will," referring to the traits of inconstancy and stubborn willfulness.
A horse also symbolizes both small and major obsessions. Perhaps it comes from observing a horse whose hoof is suddenly plugged with a small stone. It will go crazy, kicking about relentlessly until it gets the stone off its hoof. They say that individuals born in the year of the Horse are quick to get rid of a source of irritation. They revel in solving mysteries and interesting problems, never budging until they are solved.
Chinese Horse Tales
The Chinese see the Horse as an image of continuous innovation. It also signifies the Chinese people's drive to always be better and constantly increase their capabilities. The Horse symbolizes masculine and physical power. It also stands for happiness, teamwork and an ideal social life.
But not everything about the Horse is positive. Based on old Chinese beliefs, it is very unlucky to give birth to a girl in the year of the Horse. The filly or Horse girl, usually very strong and defiant, will be unlucky in love no matter how pretty she is, as no man will want to marry her. But there is hope in finding a match with men who are also born in the year of the Horse, although even then the marriage might come close to being a nightmare, since both will try to dominate the other.
Unluckiest of girls (in terms of marriage) are those born in the year of the Fire Horse, for these girls will effortlessly frighten away the men. They simply dominated marriage, society and family far too often! The Fire Horse, whether female or male, was also sure to bring controversy and intrigue into the family and close social circles, and so Asians are traditionally very wary of this extraordinary individual.
Ancient Horse Legends
They say that the Horse is related to
the immortal dragons of the sea. It is gifted with the power to see
spirits, ghosts and treachery, seeing danger in a seemingly safe path
and rebelling against a rider whom it senses as wicked. Thus in
practically all cultures, the horse is the ultimate companion of the
hero in magical quests and reckless adventures.
The horses of China were brought in from what is now Afghanistan by ancient Chinese conquerors. Emperor Xuanzong's heavenly horses were believed to have been born in water, thus their relations to the dragon.
These horses were capable of granting immortality on anyone on earth, whereas the dragons bestow
immortality while on air. An old tale goes that Emperor Fu Hsi discovered a long-ma, a dragon-horse or dragon-serpent, near
the Yellow River. He envisioned it as the symbol for creativity and
spirit. Some Chinese wind gods have been depicted as riding horses.
The long-ma was also credited with presenting the Ho-tu, a magical
river map, to China's legendary hero and king, Yu the Great. The
horse-serpent has a long, shiny dragon-like body with the magnificent
head of a horse. There are ancient poems that described a horse
resembling a tiger with double spines, able to transform into a hideous
monster as it galloped in the sky!
In the I Ching, the male and female are represented by the dragon and the horse, respectively. This important Taoist book also described the horse as strong and swift. In later stories, the horse evolved to embody the Yang or male, and the cow took its place in symbolizing the Yin or female.
Legend of the Horse of the Zodiac
Once upon a time, the horse's abode was in the heavens. There was only one horse then, magnificent and radiant as he spread his giant silver wings to glide in the sky. He answered directly to the Jade Emperor, who sends him on important errands to earth, sea and sky. As can be expected of such creatures, the horse soon became proud and cruel. All the other animals shunned the horse because he mistreated them.
One day the Jade Emperor ordered the horse to take an important letter to the Dragon Ruler of the East sea. As the horse landed at the palace, a king's guard stopped him and demanded his business there. Affronted that he was not recognized, the horse grew mad and kicked the guard, who died instantly. The Emperor heard of what the horse did, and immediately ordered that the horse's wings be destroyed for his crime. He was also to be banished beneath a great mountain on earth, to remain in darkness forever.
The horse was moaning for hundreds of years beneath the great mountain when someone passed by and heard his lament. Some say it was Pan Gu, others say it was one of the immortals, no one knows now for sure. When the horse sensed the magical presence of this being, he declared that if he was freed from his fate, he would spend his life in loyal service to mankind.
Pan Gu (or maybe the immortal) took pity on him and freed the horse from under the mountain. The horse was very grateful and fulfilled his promised service to mankind. When the great zodiac race was announced, the men encouraged the horse to join, and all mankind prayed to the Jade Emperor to include the horse in the great wheel of destiny.
Seeing how loved
the horse was among the people, the Jade Emperor forgave the horse and
placed him with the other noble animals in the eternal zodiac. Thus was established the year of the Horse.
Pai Ma Ssu, or the White Horse Temple, is one of the earliest Buddhist temples established in China. It is located in Henan Province. In Buddhism, the white horse often mentioned in sacred texts is an everlasting symbol of purity and loyalty.
China was also known for its ancient horse worship, mainly an ancestral horse turned into a god to whom many cult followers offered sacrifices. Asian countries including China also had a tradition of sacrificing horses to ensure success in battle, have a plentiful harvest, or preserve peaceful times.
In the ancient days, Chinese horses were not directly ridden by their masters. They were harnessed to chariots of kings and noblemen. Horses were sacrificed and buried with rulers or kings who passed on to accompany them in their travels in the afterlife. In later times, beloved horses were also buried with their noble masters.
The Qin dynasty horses are symbolic of the conquering fame of the 10 Manchu emperors, who are the admired horsemen from the North. Eight horses strung together refer to the magnificent horses of King Mu, who was supposed to have lived in the 1000 BCE. Scholars noted that the eight horses are also an allusion to the eight winds.
Invoke the Horse for a more vibrant luck this 2014! Be more decisive, spirited and aggressive by remembering that the year of the Horse will spur on everyone in their most cherished quests!
Fortune, Fame, Triumph, Lead,
Esteemed Horse, give me Speed!
I hope you enjoyed this special piece on the year of the Horse. May you be guided by the Horse's spirit in whatever you choose to spearhead this year! I send you a spiritual horseshoe plus a jade for your greatest luck!:-)
The beautiful rice paper paintings on this page are done by Zhao Huo Gua and Lu Ye Guang of Ink Dance Chinese Paintings.