With my natal Mercury in Scorpio, I'm very interested in studying the history of collective symbolism. I also notice trends in current symbolism.
This year, in Chinese Astrology, is the year of the Green Wood Horse.
I immediately connected horses with Uranus in Aries. But, after further study of their meaning and reference, I was actually more inclined to link them to the whole of the current sky.
At first, when I saw the horse, I thought of the fire element and their relation to war. This is what brought me to Uranus in Aries. The wild unbridled spirit and connotations of freedom that accompany the horse also refer to rebellious Uranus (first reference to air) in the sign of the Warrior.
In Celtic symbolism, the horse is immediately associated with war. To the Celts, horses were owned by the Sun God and given to the Goddess Epona.
Everything that is associated with war, therefore, can also be associated with the horse including victory, conquering, acquiring territory but also death, destruction, and power (for good or ill).
Romans would sacrifice a horse to Mars once a year while keeping its tail to reference fertility and rebirth.
The talk of war, death, destruction, rebirth, brings in talk of Pluto and Scorpio. Pluto, being the higher octave of mars embodies all of these characteristics. With the mutual reception of Pluto in Capricorn and Saturn in Scorpio, it becomes even easier to tie the horse to the Earth element while incorporating the first reference to Water through Scorpio.
The horse has been used on farms and in agriculture while being associated with the raising of cattle. You just were not a cowboy without a horse. This brings in further reference to Earth and Capricorn. It even incorporates the Moon/Cancer, as nurturing is definitely involved with any type of agriculture.
Whether the reference is to soldiers, cowboys or the common man, horses were used as a primary source of transportation, be it through pulling a carriage or simply by riding on horseback. This is one way Air is tied to the equation. Short trips would be Mercurial in nature but I'm more inclined to tie them to longer travel. They were also considered exotic as different cultures encountered the various breeds. This brings Jupiter, which is currently transiting Cancer and will pass into fiery Leo near the middle of the year.
However, travel and their exotic international link are not the only factors tying the horse to Jupiter. Sagittarius, which is Jupiter ruled, is also a centaur---half human and half horse.
The centaur reference also brings in Chiron who is currently transiting Pisces. But, this isn't the only water associated with the horse. In Greek philosophy, it is said that the God of the Sea, Poseidon, actually created the horse in an attempt to impress Demeter. I've also read that Poseidon devoted this creature to Hades and Ares, again giving reference to Pluto, Scorpio, Mars and the sign of Aries. The crashing sound of waves can be reminiscent of thundering horses and with the reference to Poseidon and the Sea, the link to Neptune cannot be ignored.
Native Americans tied the horse to their spiritual practices which further strengthens ties to Neptune. They also believed that the horse was a direct communicator with the whispers of wisdom found in the spirit winds.
Horse symbolism can be found throughout various religions from the Bible to the Tarot. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, of course, reference horses associating them with death, revelation, power, rebirth. “And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given to them over the fourth part of the the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger and with death, and with the beasts of the earth,” as quoted from Revelation 6:8.
In Tarot, the Knights of Fire, Earth, Air and Water are all seen upon horseback. The black and white horses of the Chariot represent the pull of opposite forces with the possibility of mastering their direction. Death, Tarot 13, rides a pale horse.
Of course, the gifting and sacrificing of horses would be a nod to Venus (gifting) and Neptune (sacrifice/martyrdom—and the higher octave of Venus).
Further, horses are mentioned in the tablets of Elam and in Chinese astrology. In fact, the Chinese associate the horse with Gemini (Mercury), strength(Saturn), power (Pluto), vanity (Venus), war (Mars), chivalry (Venus), practicality (Saturn), love (Venus/Neptune), endurance (Saturn), devotion (Saturn/Vesta) and stability (Saturn).
Truly, horses are a powerful collective symbol. And, given our current astrological patterns, we are being forced to “live in the moment” and employ all the gifts or our horse guides.