By Cathy Eck
Animals and Initiation
My daughter got her first horse when she was ten. While she was riding, I’d sit in the barn and observe the interaction between the horses and their owners. In short order, I came to adore the horses and hate the owners.
I started to understand pets from the eyes of the animal. When they rebelled, I could see why. Their obedience was only submission — fear of punishment. I’d try to explain what I saw to the owners, and they wouldn’t listen. So I tucked the information away in a book that I wrote about a very special horse. I never published the book. I only showed it to a few close friends. I accepted the belief that I couldn’t make a difference.
Those memories came pouring back into my mind recently as several of the people I mentor acquired new animals. I needed to let go of my belief that I couldn’t make a difference.
When I sat in the barn, I could see that the horses understood everything their owners said and thought. EVERYTHING! Most of the time, the owner was thinking about what was wrong with the horse (also true for parents and children). They were thinking about how to train the horse to fix the defects that they saw and believed to be real.
What they didn’t realize was the horse had none of those defects. I could see that so clearly. The defects were imposed on the horse by their owner or another human from their past. The horse was simply reflecting those beliefs. The cause was in the owner’s mind — not the horse’s.
Once a human labeled the horse, the horse would consistently produce the defect — it was real, but not true. Then the owner would train the horse, which was actually the application of more beliefs, to remedy what they projected on the horse. Many of the beliefs were collective — shared by most horse owners. But they were all beliefs — false.
I saw intense confusion and sadness in the horses. Why did their owners see flaws that weren’t there? Why did they focus on the flaws and not see their True Self? When I’d try to speak up for the horses, no one listened to me. In their view, I didn’t know anything about horses. I’m quite sure that’s why I saw it so clearly — I hadn’t bitten the apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil around the subject of animals.
Animals are pure True Selves until we impose beliefs on them. Then we treat the false animals that we’ve created as real and broken. Most people break their animal’s spirits in the same way their own spirits were broken.
The owner plays the masculine role; the animal plays the feminine role. When we acquire an animal; we have a vision for it. It’s important to examine our vision and see if it’s truly win-win. In earlier times, training was clearly about submission. Some modern trainers have moved toward cooperation, but most aren’t completely there.
The win-win vision becomes our north star for the relationship. We don’t have to will it into fruition. We just use it to see what to let go.
After the vision is set, we must become a true leader. We must let go of anything we believe about the animal that’s not aligned with our vision even if it looks real. We must let go of our training and health beliefs. Inspiration will get us where we need to go. Inspiration will bring in the right people to help us. Any training will be playful and necessary so it will happen quickly. Horses, like children, don’t respond to education that isn’t aligned with a win-win vision. They can’t unless they’re broken.
Any thought or action that isn’t aligned with the mutual vision will have an emotional component. That emotional component tells us that we’re thinking something false about the animal or about our relationship to the animal.
When I stepped into the shoes of the horses, I saw the essence of what it means to be feminine in our world. I was horrified by how poorly we all play the masculine role. We try to control others; we want them to submit to us as if we’re their God.
Animals in our Lives
Some people jump to the other extreme and try to set the animals completely free; they also miss the point. The animals do want to be in our lives, but they don’t want to be broken. They’ll submit willingly to a True Self, but not to a false one. In that regard, they aren’t different than humans.
My friend, Patty, had the most amazing horse. Patton was trained in the sense that they had a communication scheme. Patty trusted Patton completely. Often she’d go riding on him late at night in the woods alone. She trusted Patton to keep her safe, and he always did. He wasn’t her pet; Patton was Patty’s equal partner.
Patty would tell me about her night-time rides, and I just knew I’d heard something right and true. They transcended the normal masculine-feminine roles; they each led when they were the right one to lead. It was perfect co-creation at its best.
In the ancient schools of initiation, it was said that they had lions for pets. The lions kept the uninitiated away and were beloved pets for the initiated. But there was no training. In short, the lions demonstrated the pure feminine reflective role. The feminine simply exposes whatever the masculine tries to hide. Initiates had nothing to hide.
The love and truth of the initiated caused the lion to reflect only pure love — creating a perfect partner. The beliefs and hatred in the minds of the uninitiated caused the lions to attack them. They just reflected what came into their presence. This is what the ancient ones called divine justice. It’s perfect.