It has actually been a very long time since I’ve read this myth and as I was looking at the ones I still have to write about, I kept coming back to this one because I just couldn’t remember it!
The Thunderhorse is a short myth about the Dierne–the Boy Before Stars–and the Thunderhorse, “made from lightning and thunder and the rich earth of the Orchard. Each fall of his hooves sounded like the sky splitting open and the ground crackled and split beneath him”.
While out riding the Thunderhorse past the forest of aspens next to the West, the Boy became captivated by the spirit of the forest and after being bucked from the horse, he followed it deep into the woods.
Where he wakes, after some unknown amount of time–a day or a decade–has passed, with the aspen spirit digging its fingers into him and feeding off of his blood. But when it seemed as though he would be trapped there until he died, the Thunderhorse thundered into the forest, rescued the boy, and returned to the West.
And this, boys, is why you don’t go wandering into the aspen forests alone.
I see this being, generally, a cautionary tale on nature–literally, don’t go wandering into the woods/a forest/a mountain/any wilderness setting by yourself. Bad things can and will happen to you and you will have no one to help you. Which is really, really important–and something my parents have hammered into me during numerous camping and hiking trips. Don’t go off on your own.
This story also describes the relationship between the Dierne and the Thunderhorse. Most people have difficulty riding the Thunderhorse, but for the Dierne it is easy–ride well together and they like riding together. His negligence when he gets distracted by the spirit still causes him to get thrown from the horse, but the Thunderhorse is made from thunder and lightning and soil–and nature has its own whims.
Along with describing that relationship, we are also generally introduced to the Thunderhorse spirit. I don’t believe the Thunderhorse is featured heavily in our current mythology, but I think the horse is also in Ava at the Gate?
Horses are generally associated with travel into and out of the otherworlds, as an animal companion who can aid you as your spirit travels. Similar to this pattern, the Thunderhorse rescues the Boy from the Aspens and takes him out of a hostile situation and back to the relative safety of the West.
It’s been forever since I’ve done a myth post! I guess time has gotten away from me, because it’s always in the back of my mind but I usually tell myself I’ll do it tomorrow, or on the weekend, or when the quarter is done…but that hasn’t worked out very well. Fortunately, I’m finding myself with more free time since I embraced organization and planning this year; my classes are also not requiring as much work and I’ve been better about doing what I need to do.
So with this free time, I have found myself wanting to finish up this series of posts on the Otherfaith mythology. I still have quite a few myths, and most of them are the ones that will be more difficult for me to interpret, but it’s not supposed to be easy. I am going to try to get back to weekly-ish updates for the myths.
I’ve got some new pagan books on the way and I would love to do reading & re-reading posts on them, so that’s part of the motivation for finishing the Otherfaith posts, but I’ve also been doing this series forever and I really need to finish it! I might work on them at the same time, but my priority will be finishing the Otherfaith myths.
Hope everyone has been well! I can’t believe it’s almost spring? And that it’s raining heavily in California at the moment? We’ve got storms for the whole week so that’s awesome.