The horse is an important animal in our mythology, in our collective heathen soul and in our conception of shamanic travel between the worlds. Sleipnir, the eight-legged steed of Odin is a shaman horse, with runes carved on his teeth, who carries his rider through the worlds on journeys conducted for sacred magical purposes to bring information and cures to the living world. There is no obstacle which Sleipnir cannot overcome and he can travel on land, over the sea and through the air. In visions he is either black or white and he often appears in dreams to represent Odin.

Many of the Gods have magnificent horses and the mount of Heimdall the Watchman is a shining creature with a glittering mane. The soul of the horse and the soul of the heathen are entwined in body and spirit, in magic and in practice. When a beloved horse dies, his rider mourns the death of a friend.


Dark dancer, whose hooves remember the black door,
Whose eyes have followed the warrior home
And seen the children of the sea,
Carry the storm-burdened question to
Those beyond-fields where shadowed grain falls
From the hand of the sick farmer
And the land weeps for fire.

Dark one, who travels on the wind's road
And finds the splendour of the sun,
Come twice to the gate of mists and
Enquire of the seething rocks
Which footsteps glitter among the bones,
And leave their shining monument
To a tower of skulls.

Tireless runner, beat gently the black door
That keeps you from the vanished grove.
The wind is a sword of ice that kills the moon.
Beat gently your rhythm to the watching night
Where the horn is silent and the tree is bare.
The darkness is no stranger than the hand
That guides your restless rider to the flaming rune.

© Golden Helmet 2001