Horse Cults and Horse Sacrifice

Eric Edwards Collected Works


Uffington White Horse

The horse, which is regarded as magical and widespread in myth, has been closely associated with humans for millennia having been used domestically and in warfare for cavalry and chariots. Ownership of a horse was a sign of wealth and prestige, and was the mount of kings, nobles and heroes, having been domesticated after 1750 BC with little evidence prior to 2000 BC (Cooper, 1992). Extensive proof of the importance of the horse is evidenced by its continuing “…to be a symbol of great religious significance throughout the pagan period.” (Gelling, 1969). Other interpretations consider the so-called English “…aversion to eating horse-flesh may be one indication of a long-forgotten horse-totem.” (Brown, 1950). Moreover it is believed that the horse “…played a pivotal role as a sacrificial, totemic and symbolic animal in an array of prehistoric and historic contexts.” (Moore-Colyer, 1994).

In symbolic terms the horse represents power and dynamism, wisdom and fleetness of…

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