Tis been a while of being alive in this Brigid skin and one thing I can say for sure is that horses taught me about the lore of magic.
Horses taught me how to stay safe and trust in the capacity of this body to surf the edge of the wild. They inspired me to, no matter what, step into the realms of men and stand up for the gentle way. That radical way of sweet connection that works with the space in between beings to create mutual consent, and therefore happiness and safety.
I was safe around horses because I related with them, and had immense respect for the fact that they allowed me to ride upon their backs. I’d been taught by the school master of school masters that, if I took that fact for granted, and began acting all entitled and dominatrix, my ass would hit the dirt. I’d lie there gasping for breath while the mighty Pebbles stood over me laughing, making sure I understood his deliberate lesson executed with all the grace of a Kung Fu Grandmaster. At the other end of the scale he’d happily launch his huge, 15.1hh bay cob self, over a park bench, with little 11 yr old me perched on top bareback, leaning back rodeo cowboy style with one hand in the air, the other clutching a handful of mane with his halter rope loosely dangling, and yelling yeeha at the top of my lungs.
Not a trick horse to be coerced with greed, he once double barrel kicked the air beside my head when I asked him to say please one more time. He’d already met me with a whicker - that lovely throaty vibration of a happy hello, but I thought I deserved another one for the effort of putting his nutritionally excellent dinner together and walking the half hour up to the paddock. But, I was half an hour late when I was standing behind him, as he waited at his manger. And then I had the audacity to ask again. The feeling of his hooves whooshing through the air is something I’ll never forget. He turned his head, glared at me, and head bowed I rushed to feed him saying, “sorry, sorry, I know you’re not a trick horse, I’ll never do it again, thank you for not killing me.”
The next day, my friend Tina and I doubled all over the countryside on his big comfy back, had turns having a gallop on the beach, and returned home happy tired and full of love for life.
The understanding born from these experiences is a big part of why being in the deep heart of the Amazon makes sense to me. It’s why I can breathe out and feel into it. Be sensible and safe in the rainforest whilst exploring with exquisite wonder.
Within a week of my month long stay at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, I felt like the word was out, 'she’s cool, one of us, consciously part of Pachamama’…
The encounters I had with the wildlife were astounding, and at the same time, in some childlike way, they were intuitively anticipated until the moment of contact. That initial moment of connection where the pupils dilate and the breath is a little held before the release into wow, hi, wow. And then somehow easing immediately as if it was all so very normal. As if to say, ‘this is just how we roll familia, shall we cruise?’
That said, I didn’t encounter a Jaguar. I saw fresh prints and had moments of feeling very observed, but, even though I snuck about in the rain being as quiet as possible, I still only had that experience in my dreams. Their sentience is omnipresent. On a practical level I had told everyone back home that if I do get eaten by a Jaguar it’s a great death. On a real level I taste disgusting compared to a forest grazing deer or peccary, there’s not much flesh on me, and I dare say I stink in Jaguar terms. I was in a rainforest teaming with abundance. To describe the vitality of an ecosystem where the only humans in there are interacting with respect and wonder, well, words fail me, it’s ineffable. I’ve developed a weird gestalt for demonstrating that feeling whereby I shake, hands held out in front of me like I’m holding a wild ball of energy, with eyes wide and uttering a strange out- breath bursting sound in the back of my throat.
In the 7 ㎢ that is Tiputini Biodiversity Station there are 21 known Jaguar that move through this territory. Everything lives in relative harmony. When we acknowledge that everything eats, everything that is born dies, and that life itself is a mysterious wonder, I think we will be ready to acknowledge the beauty of existence and the incredible web of interconnected magic.
It’s not some woo woo hippy concept, happiness is a measurable action. In pristine, primary, rainforest there is enough for all of the inhabitants. Huge herds of Peccary ensure the Jaguar has its favourite food on tap. Every species of Ant has its own particular type of Cordyceps, a fungal predator, keeping the equilibrium and feeding the mycelial network. The rain in the Andes fuel the rivers in the Amazon ensuring the hydrological cycle maintains a steady pulse. Every lifeform has its function within the society called a forest. Every element fuels the ecological balance that is our Earth.
When we humans take that for granted, when we seek to dominate, rape and plunder for capitalist greed, is it any wonder that the balance falters and a virus then has the power to halt us in our sprawling tracks?
Or that the rain stops falling, the forests start burning, then overnight the river banks burst and a pandemic starts?
We haven’t been kicked in the head yet. Our species has been given a moment of stasis, a chance to pause and thank our lucky stars for being alive. A chance to rest and contemplate the scramble we’ve allowed our minds to become in the everyday struggle to pay our debt for things we don’t even need or mansion style regulated extravagance that serves no one but the mind on crack keeping up with the Jones’s. All the while enslaving our children further into a bleak future. There are people without food and clean water, people without shelter, people without someone who cares. Only 3% of mammal biomass is wild. Deforestation continues at a frightening rate. The ocean is being overfished and polluted. And the company continues to plunder the Arctic and the Amazon for oil without accountability… Do we deserve a virus to kick us off our convenient perch of complacency? Perhaps we do.
One of the other magical lores that Pebbles taught me was how to fall and how to get back up. How to deeply contemplate the lesson of the moment, become aware of what I was thinking and therefore how my attitude was influencing my actions.
He gave me the grace of conscious change.
Please my fellow humans, may we don the mantle of change and rise up as sovereign beings, ready and willing to acknowledge the interconnectedness of all life. Ready to act as if the privilege of having skin to feel the whisper of the breeze, to feel the warm sun on your cheek, and to feel the tenderness of lips melding into lips...ready to act as if all these things matter to your Soul.
That being alive matters so much that you realise love for all beings and are willing to thrive joyously, knowing this means making an enormous amount of effort right now to ensure that we, all beings, all thrive together.
Magic, Horses, & Covid 19
Journal Entry 2
Jaguar (Panthera Onca)
Camera Trap Image from
Tiputini Biodiversity Station