As it is a salient Solar occasion today, here is an excerpt from my earlier work – ‘The Sea Horse Of Sovereignty – On Hellenic Poseidon , Vedic Varuna, Scythian Thagimasidas , And The Essential Equine Elevator-Empowerer Of The Ancient Indo-European King’
In it, we examine part of the underlying reasoning for the Horse’s involvement in the Sovereignty-conferring Horse-Sacrifice Rite – and why it is that a Horse coming out of the Water is so closely correlate with the Saliency of the Sky Father :
Now, at this juncture it should be tempting to make the obvious and somewhat euhemeric presumption – that the reason for the Horse is due to the strong conceptual saliency of the Horse, the Mounted Warrior, for the Military applications thereof. And certainly, it can fairly be argued that there is an element of that which is relevant.
Except that is really only a part of it. We are looking, after all, at a specifically Water originated horse. And Sea Horses nor Hippopotami have tended to see significant success in martial application.
No, for this we must look out farther – out to Sea ! For a peculiar form of quite prominent Flying Horse …
Now, the more usually encountered conceptual syllabry amidst various Indo-European mythic contexts, is for the Sun to be associated with a Chariot – either as a great, shining Chariot Wheel … or alternatively, pulled along behind or mounted within such a vehicle. It is not hard to see why. And yet, we also find the Horse and the Horseman as Solar as well. (The Nordic “Dagr” has elements of this in being mounted upon the Shining Maned Skinfaxi – although is, nevertheless, more conventionally depicted drawing a chariot that is the Day proper, thus rendering this a case of ‘both’ rather than ‘either’ as applies Solar Horse and Horseman or Solar Chariot and Charioteer. I chiefly mention that figure at this juncture, as the ‘Golden Maned’ quality is also exactly that possessed by the Horses of Poseidon’s sea-origin chariot as reported at various junctures within the Greek mythos. It would seem plausible that the mounted Horse is a-priori to the Chariot, and therefore that the older layers of conceptry should be more directly tethered to the former, with the latter building thereupon and helping to inform the literal ‘day-to-day’ understandings for the Solar Horse’s journey across the sky (and that, really, is a large part of why the Horse – the journey!), whilst the much more rare and ornately archaic coronation rites should retain the presaging and underlying Horse at their more conservative core)
To quote from one of the key Vedic hymnals required for the Asvamedha – the Horse Sacrifice that confirms the plenipotentiary power upon this earth of the King – RV I 163:
“1 WHAT time, first springing into life, thou neighedst, proceeding from the sea or upper waters,
Limbs of the deer hadst thou, and eagle pinions. O Steed, thy birth is nigh and must be lauded.
2 This Steed which Yama gave hath Trita harnessed, and him, the first of all, hath Indra mounted.
His bridle the Gandharva grasped. O Vasus, from out the Sun ye fashioned forth the Courser.
3 Yama art thou, O Horse; thou art Āditya; Trita art thou by secret operation.
Thou art divided thoroughly from Soma. They say thou hast three bonds in heaven
that hold thee.
4 Three bonds, they say, thou hast in heaven that bind thee, three in the waters,
three within the ocean.
To me thou seemest Varuṇa, O Courser, there where they say is thy sublimest birth-place.
5 Here-, Courser, are the places where they groomed thee, here are the traces of thy hoofs as winner.
Here have I seen the auspicious reins that guide thee, which those who guard the holy Law keep safely.
6 Thyself from far I recognized in spirit,—a Bird that from below flew through the heaven.
I saw thy head still soaring, striving upward by paths unsoiled by dust, pleasant to travel.
7 Here I beheld thy form, matchless in glory, eager to win thee food at the Cow’s station.
Whene’er a man brings thee to thine enjoyment, thou swallowest the plants most greedy eater.
8 After thee, Courser, come the car, the bridegroom, the kine come after, and the charm of maidens.
Full companies have followed for thy friendship: the pattern of thy vigour Gods have copied.
9 Horns made of gold hath he: his feet are iron: less fleet than he, though swift as thought, is Indra.
The Gods have come that they may taste the oblation of him who mounted, first of all, the Courser.
10 Symmetrical in flank, with rounded haunches, mettled like heroes, the Celestial Coursers
Put forth their strength, like swans in lengthened order, when they, the Steeds, have reached the heavenly causeway.
11 A body formed for flight hast thou, O Charger; swift as the wind in motion is thy spirit.
Thy horns are spread abroad in all directions: they move with restless beat in wildernesses.
12 The strong Steed hath come forward to the slaughter, pondering with a mind directed God-ward.
The goat who is his kin is led before him the sages and the singers follow after.
13 The Steed is come unto the noblest mansion, is come unto his Father and his Mother.
This day shall he approach the Gods, most welcome: then he declares good gifts to him who offers.”
As we can see, this is a Horse … a Horse with Wings … that has as its origins the (Celestial) Ocean, is identified as an Aditya [i.e. one of the 7 or 8 or 12 Solar Figures / Phases of the Sun], indeed specifically as Varuna – the Vedic Ocean/Celestial Ocean God Who Is Also the King In Heaven, and quite definitely radiantly Solar]. A ‘Winged Horse’ would most certainly resemble Pegasus (although as a point of interest, the broader array of animal symbolism might perhaps speak to a Dragon – especially with the prominent ‘Draconic’ association with the symbolism of Leadership, Rulership, that we have discussed in other works, and briefly quoted from the Nordic Rigsthula in support of well-above). ‘Swift as the wind in motion’ also almost exactly mirrors the description for Arion, one of Poseidon’s horse-formed Sons from the realms of Greek mythology.
And, to nobody’s especial surprise, these key elements also align with what we find in the much-earlier aforementioned Shatapatha Brahmana verse that I had quoted:
“Then on the left side (he puts the head of) the horse, with (Vâg. S. XIII, 42), ‘The speed of the wind,’–this one, the horse, is indeed the speed of the wind;–‘Varuna’s navel’–for the horse is Varuna;–‘the horse, born in the midst of the flood;’ the flood is the water, and the horse is indeed the water-born”
With additional support for the Solar identification of the Horse provided by an earlier verse drawn from the same Brahmana [VII 5 2 6]:
“And, again, why he puts the heads of the victims thereon. Pragâpati alone was here at first 1. He desired, ‘May I create food, may I be reproduced!’ He fashioned animals from his vital airs, a man from his soul (mind), a horse from his eye”
Prajapati is, of course, the ‘All-Father’ – and here, the Horse is identified with the Eye of this Deity. We know from the Shatapatha Brahmana presentation of the SataRudriya Rite, that this figure is correlate with the Sky Father [‘Dyaus Pitar’, Zeus Pater] – as the Emanation of the Manyu by Him is directly correlate with the Birth of Minerva / Athena in the Classical rites and legendariums. Here, the Eye is presented as the Horse’s origin … the Eye of the Sky Father being quite specifically the Sun in a number of Indo-European mythic understandings (including not only Zeus, but also Shiva, Dyaus, underpinning Odin’s ‘Blazing Eye’, and specifically both Prajapati and Varuna … but, then, I repeat myself, don’t I).
It would be also fair to surmise, I suspect, that the Solar Horse understanding underpins the shared Greek – Vedic myth of The Sky Father in Horse Form pursuing His Wife in ‘Shadow’/’Dark’ Form. For the Greeks, this was Poseidon pursuing the Black Demeter Erinyes ; for the Vedic and later Hindu mythology it is Vivasvan [‘Wide-Shining One’], Surya [although per my identification the Sky Father referred to as Surya, rather than the Surya that is the Son of the Sky Father] pursuing the Chhaya [‘Shadowy’] form either emanated or assumed by Saranyu. The progeny of both of these mythic unions is at least one prominent Horse-styled offspring [Arion in the Greek, Revanta and/or the Asvins in the Hindu – and it should be noted just how important a role the Asvins have when it comes to the position and elevation of the King]; although what makes these interesting for a ‘Solar Horse’ identification other than the direct and literal ‘Surya’ labelling in the latter account, is the potential for this to present the Solar Horseman as pursuing the Night – Who Flees from Him.
The Sky Father, Dyaus Pitar, after all, has always had an irreducible ‘Solar’ element [it is literally right there in the linguistics , the theonymy – ‘Dyaus’, the Bright/Shining Daylit Sky]; and, as it happens, this ‘Solar’ element being transmissible via heredity is also well attested. Zeus’ pursuit of Nemesis in Swan form (part of a parade of animal shapes perhaps not unlike what is preserved in the aforementioned Vedic verses in an attempt to describe the characteristics of the Sun) begets an equivalent to the aforementioned Asvins, Castor and Pollux … and also Helen (of Troy), a Solar Goddess (as discussed in my various previous works upon the subject; even still recalled as such by the Doric Greeks during the Classical age), Who makes Menelaus a King via Her marriage to him.
A Solar Woman rather than a Solar Horse – yet nevertheless, the pattern remains: The Solar / Equine Expression of the Sky Father’s Kingly Mantle is what is required to make a King. And also, not at all coincidentally, what is lost to dethrone a king.