Horses and the Mystical Path: The Celtic Way of Expanding the Human Soul
By Adele von Rüst McCormick,
Marlena Deborah McCormick,
& Thomas E. McCormick
A Review by The Topaz Owl
As a life-long Druidic horsewoman, I was excited to get the chance to review this book. Drs. McCormick (all three) are psychotherapists and equestrians. For many years, they have been combining these talents to operate an equine therapy program to help severely emotionally disturbed teens and adults in San Antonio, Texas.
In this book they describe their journey with horses into the Celtic spirituality that encouraged them to combine the psychological and the spiritual in their work, beginning with a mysterious chance encounter with a shepherd in the Scottish Hebrides. They discuss the sacred bonds between human and horse, taking us first to the Iberian Peninsula, where many legends surrounding the Iberian horse feed the special relationship the Spanish breeders enjoy with their horses. (Of special note are the Celt-Iberian or Galician ponies that contributed ancestry to what is today known as the “pure Spanish horse.”)
In Celtic belief, nature is sacred and a reflection of the divine. Because of this, animals, and especially the horse, companion to humans for centuries, can awaken the human soul. “These Celtic ways connect us with the descendents of those original religious horsemen, the equestrians of antiquity whom we had heard about in Spain,” the McCormicks write. The McCormicks go on to say that the Celtic peoples’ interaction with animals kept them “spiritually fit, expansive, and cosmically interactive, providing their culture with a mystical edge rarely seen in Western society.”
Many of their examples of Celtic mysticism come from the Celtic Christian tradition, a tradition that is unique in its recognition of animals and the natural world as a path to the divine. If you are Pagan, don’t be put off by the terms used for the divine or the examples of Celtic saints — rather, understand the essence of the unchanging Celtic path, whether Pagan or Christian, one flowing into the other in a continuous knotwork pattern of wisdom.
Sprinkled with stories of people healed emotionally and spiritually by their encounters with horses, this book will touch you in ways that you never dreamed, especially if you have anything to do with horses. These stories illustrate that, in reaching out to the divine, and in working with horses, one must give up Ego in order to follow a truly spiritual path. And, while the reader may think that involvement with horses is a prerequisite to fully understanding this book, I am certain that even the Celtic non-equestrian will find spiritual wisdom in its pages.
As a Celtic equestrian, I always find it refreshing when someone elucidates on something that I have always known in my soul, but never verbalized. The McCormicks have done just that. I recommend this book to anyone on a Celtic path who is interested in forming a more intimate relationship with the divine through the natural world.
HORSES AND THE MYSTICAL PATH: The Celtic Way of Expanding the Human Soul, Pages: 208, Size: 5.5" X 8.5", ISBN: 1-57731-450-6. Now Available in Paperback.