Notes on New Work in Progress
Growing up I felt that a horse was a part of me. I dreamt I had speed, agility, grace and power. I recently looked at the myths around the gods who shapeshift and the centaur who was part human and part horse. An ancient Native American fable caught my eye about a woman who turned into a horse. I understood this story.
It became the starting point for my Master's in Fine Art.
The Horse Who Whispered
Trigger Warning - contains references to abuse
A girl fell in love with a palomino horse. She took her dog and went to live in the field with the mare. For shelter they had the forest, it was summer so they had the sunlight which shone off the gold of the mare's coat. They were free to dream together, safe in the herd, they bathed in the stream and one day the girl realised that she would not need her clothes until the autumn, so she was naked. Her hair created a cloak, that looked like a tail or a mane, depending upon how you looked at it. She grew hooves and had four legs.
The mare was called Savannah and the dog, Bear, for he was wise. One hot afternoon sitting by the stream, the girl wondered how she could ever return to the world of the humans as they were evil people who had fractured her shoulder, skull and jaw. She held pelvic injuries. She buried Sophie's bones in the rose garden, (crime reference 06*P/2*602/*2). She fought them, but there were many; her parents, grandparents, doctor, and elders. They sought to tame her with violence to maintain their secrets. The dog looked at her,
" You know in your heart of hearts the path of your destiny. You must define who you are; and who you are not. Learn that yes and no are equally important to define your edges. Others will not respect these boundaries but if you come from strong love, without malice or aggression, you will attain the only power you need. One day you will no longer be a child and you will speak your truth."
That autumn as the nights drew in, she returned to the world of her family. Many years passed and still she spent summers with the wild horses and sometimes visited the forest to hide with her dog. She buried her dreams in the soil but left no grave marker. She became a mother, and as her child grew up she had more time for herself. She lived in a house but her heart ached for the light on the moor, the reflection on the lake. She would lie in the field with her chestnut mare and smell the heat of the earth and ask the horse how to heal.
One day whilst working with a herd of horses, her creative self called out to her. Could she transform her sorrow, and use this gift to tell the stories of other people also denied a voice?
She visited a healer who lived on an ancient hill where the ley lines converged and asked her to cut the cord with her ancestors. She retreated to a sacred place to ask for guidance. She asked her dog and an old friend to come to the forest of her childhood to seek the dreams she buried when she was a child. But the landscape had changed, the paths had moved, the trees had left to seek a safer place.
She meditated and her red horse spirit counseled,
"Let go of the illusion that you are somehow a victim. You have a choice, let go of the belief that you have to suffer or endure. Let go of your embedded shame, open your heart space and make a connection to your earth mother root. This is the path to freedom and autonomy."
She began to speak her truth using photographs and invited others to join her. They asked the queen to help the tribe to become powerful.
Her horse died one bright, cold autumn morning and as she left, her life force passed through the woman's body. It left a trace of the wilderness inside the woman, who could now never truly return to the human world that traps women and steals their soul voice. A world where men domesticate girls until the animal self whispers,
"Gather the bones from a place of deep love, find the wolf and horse within you and run."
On Photographing The Healing of Others
A thought on healing: “A photograph might be the trace of what has happened, or the prophecy of a human memory yet to be achieved.” John Berger.
We do not understand all of the dimensions of the world. If we permit the coexistence of different realities we may subvert existing power structures and resist the cultural dominance of patriarchy. A photograph becomes a tool to construct a feminine identity, it disrupts the belief that men may domesticate women and steal their soul's voice.