Groundhogs and Horses and All Manner of Life

     February 2 is almost here. The planet earth will cross an imaginary line in space, and we will be closer to the next equinox than we are to the last solstice.
     For those who structure their Spiritual practice around the seasons of nature, February 2nd is Imbolc in the Northern hemisphere, and Lammas (or Lughnasadh) in the South.
     In the Christian Tradition, February 2nd is Candlemas, a day which primarily focuses on Jesus’ early life, and which is set aside for the blessing of candles and honouring the role of Jesus as the Light of the World.
     In North America, February 2nd is celebrated by some as Groundhog Day. Folklore suggests that this day can forecast the end of the winter. A groundhog burrow is observed, and if the groundhog sees its shadow when it emerges, it will supposedly return to hibernation and winter weather will continue for six more weeks.
     Chinese New Year celebrations approach as the calendar shifts out of Snake energy and into the Year of the Horse on January 31st.
     The Horse is the Seventh of the twelve signs in the Chinese Horoscope, and only occurs in a year vibrating with a Seven in numerology once in every 108 years: last time was in 1906.
     I claim no real understanding of the Chinese zodiac: here in the west, the horse is associated with many symbolic energies.
     Ina Woolcott writes that the Horse is present in the mythology of any people who know it. The Norse god Odin was said to ride an eight legged horse. The Greeks told of Pegasus, a horse with wings. The Hindu sun god Surya, and the Roman Apollo are depicted with stallions. In Celtic and Roman traditions the goddesses of horses: Epona and Macha, had power over the cycle of birth - life -  death - afterlife - and rebirth, all of which are associated with the seasonal cycle of the land itself.
     No other animal has given people the kind of mobility that the horse provides.
     Among the First Nations of the Americas, the arrival of the horse transformed the distances between villages and allowed exploration into new territory. The ability to visit distant clans created strong relationships, and now horses are a symbol for sincerity and communication as we travel the path of life.
     A person who is granted the horse as a totem is seen to have the gift of True Power, which bears an expectation that they will be open, compassionate and loving, sharing their gifts with their people.
     This year is vibrating with Seven energy (2+0+1+4=7), and Seven carries a strong Spiritual presence. Seven supports individuals as they take solitary time to develop their abilities in analysis and meditation. Seven connects us to our natural states of dignity and intelligence. The journey for the year may be less literal and geographical than a horse would suggests it is nonetheless a journey that explores new territory and possibilities of strong renewals of longstanding relationships.
     While Seven is present for everyone, it also appears with varying intensity in the calendars of our lives. If your next birthday will see you turning 24, 36, 48, 60, 72 or 84 during the Year of the Horse, then you are embarking on a year which supports profound spiritual growth and personal fulfillment. The things that Horses do this year will enrich the whole world.

     Jo Leath has been supporting clients through change and growth since the 1980s.
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