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Animal Speak - July 2016 - Santa Fe

Year of the Horse

By Lynne McMahan



Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
~Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954


For the past six months I have been blessed with learning from one of my animal teachers, Oliver (Ollie to his family), a 21 year-old Anglo-Arabian horse. Ollie had minimal handling for the first 18 years of his life, including abusive handling for a short time, prior to returning to The Horse Shelter, "a sanctuary for New Mexico’s abandoned, abused and neglected horses" ( where he spent several years of his life and where Tina (Ollie's human) was a volunteer who decided to bring him home to her family. For this article I asked and Ollie agreed, to be my animal teacher. We have come a long way in our learning together through the healing energy of Reiki, by building a trusting, consistent relationship.


His lessons truly are lessons in creating and expressing joy, perfect for this month's theme. Beyond his teaching of patience and consistency in developing trust, is the knowledge that the human time schedule can limit the joy we can experience. Though 21 years may seem a long life to us, it feels unimportant to him in that he only acknowledges the present life he's living--his time with his human and animal family. After his life with them began, he felt like he could truly breathe, even relax. As a loner for many years of his life he wasn't sure what friendship and love was about. Through his relationships with his human family, his 31 year-old horse brother J.J. (who follows him around and stays connected to his energy), and Blue, his Great Dane sister (a small horse to him who shares her sweetness and loyalty) joy expression has come into his consciousness. "Just 'being,' hanging out, and walking around the property...all is good, all is joy."


Ollie is not completely sure of his current purpose--riding was such a big part of the expectation he felt, yet never comfortable with the responsibility of carrying his human--but now he thinks his purpose is just being, being love. In order to express love, he's learning to let go of fear by starting each day fresh and living in the moment...the joy of being in the present moment. He likes my visits and he realizes they provide a purpose for me. He also feels that all of the activities he has been exploring with Tina have shown a purpose for both of them. Sharing purpose is joy. He likes the mindful walking, the soft singing, and the slow and gentle pace we create during my visits. The walking and singing meditation feels grounding and readying for the Reiki healing. He likes learning about the healing energy of Reiki and he's practicing it with his family. It's working, he says, and creates so many layers for him to experience and share--from the physical and mental, to the emotional and spiritual, to his unique way of perceiving time, his world and his family.


In closing, I decided to read Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals by Sams and Carson. Ollie truly embodies the Horse medicine card of power, "True power is wisdom found in remembering your total journey...Compassion, caring, teaching, loving, and sharing your gifts, talents and abilities are the gateways to power" (1988). When one is truly "in joy expressed" are we not always in our "power" as well? What can horse teach you this year to fully express your joy? Where might patience, consistency, and the breath be of help? How might you let go of fear, to express more love? When might a time of "being" in the present moment, just hanging out, walking in meditation bring you what you need, right now? Are you sharing your purpose in your relationships? "All is good, all is joy" might be the daily mantra you need this year--a gift to you, from Ollie, the horse.

Lynne McMahan, Ed.D., En-Light-En Reiki, is a Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and Mind-Body-Spirit Mentor, supporting the healing of each person or animal on their journey of transformation. For more information:,, or 505.400.3168. Santa Fe office: 110 Delgado St.

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