Early Praise for Way of the Horse
Linda Kohanov’s new project with noted equine artist Kim McElroy just hit major bookstores and is already creating quite a stir. Way of the Horse: Equine Archetypes for Self Discovery includes a deck of 40 horse wisdom cards with evocative images, and an accompanying, full-length guidebook of essays on the lessons horses are available to teach. According to Amazon.com’s daily sales rankings, the project has spent the last two weeks in the top 10 books on horses, often resting at #2, at one point hitting the top 1000 books on all subjects at Amazon.com. Noted author and equine photographer Robert Vavra endorsed the project, calling it “a singular work — like no other in equine literature.”
“I’m very excited about the early response,” Linda Kohanov says. “For years, I was looking for ways to bring horse wisdom beyond the barn, into the home, the workplace, the school. The cards allow people to interact with horse archetypes and images in more creative ways. The hard-cover guide is a full-length book designed to quickly access the meaning of the cards, or it can be read straight through as a stand-alone work on the lessons we learn from working and playing with horses, offering essays on leadership, assertiveness, physical, mental, and emotional collection,and the creativity that horses have been inspiring in humans since the Greek myth of Pegasus. Way of the Horse is also designed for horse lovers who don’t currently own a horse or can’t get the barn as often as they’d like, fun for a rainy day, and a great way to spark conversation and access new ways of relating to horses and humans.”
Way of the Horse has already received significant reviews on websites devoted to animal medicine cards and other archetypal decks. “Suffice it to say,” wrote Patricia Kelly of Roswila’s Tarot Gallery & Journal, “I cannot recommend this deck highly enough for those who love horses and animals, but even for those who don’t. There’s a great deal of wisdom and encouragement in this set. Ultimately, each time I pull a card, savor the image, then read what the book has to say, I am left feeling…how can I put it…pulled together. As if spirit and body have been properly realigned. This, in addition to all I learn about the horses themselves.”
Freelance reviewer Janet Boyer called the project “a masterful combination of the ‘archetypal realistic’ art of Kim McElroy and profound essays of Linda Kohanov….Whether you raise horses, love to ride them, or adore equine art, you’ll no doubt fall in love with Way of the Horse book and deck. However, even if you’re not familiar with horses…, there is a wealth of practical guidance, heart-warming stories and pathways to healing found in both the companion book and the stunning art.”
In celebration of the project’s release, Seattle-based Kim McElroy will travel to the Epona Center in Sonoita, AZ to join Linda for a one-day introductory workshop and book release party October 20 and an in-depth five-day retreat October 21-25. For more information on these events, scroll down to the end of this newsletter to the “Upcoming Way of the Horse events” section of this newsletter, or check the “Workshops: Introductory at Epona” page of the website.
The Creative Edge
Creativity is one of the essential ingredients to success in life—whether you aspire to be a great educator, business executive, parent, counselor, equestrian, or leader/innovator in any number of other fields.
“Reclaiming your innate ability to imagine and manifest, to express the deepest yearnings of your soul, these are revolutionary acts of self-empowerment,” Linda Kohanov emphasizes. The author was intrigued to find that the courage to create—and the ability to support/motivate others to create—is one of the biggest issues in the corporate world. “I’ve had the great pleasure of designing horse-facilitated clinics for a variety of management teams,” she reports. “As a part of that process, I interview key staff to understand the challenges each business faces, so that I can gear activities with the horses to particular skills and goals my clients want to work on.
“Corporations in the 21st century are definitely recognizing the need to expand their vision and adapt quickly to changing markets. The ability to experiment, innovate, and collaborate has never been more important. Yet we’ve grown up in a culture that discourages people from developing creativity. It was, for centuries, a subtle yet insidious form of social control. Unless a child showed some prodigious gift that couldn’t be easily squelched, many of our educational and social systems conditioned people to adopt a machine-like demeanor. In so many ways, we were taught to mistrust our intuition, dull our own senses, and adopt an almost visceral fear of experimentation, of looking foolish, of making mistakes. This insured that we remained compliant to kings and queens, and later CEOs who also ruled with an iron fist, but that mode of operating is currently recognized as obsolete. Even corporations I’ve worked with that create high-tech missile systems are challenging their engineers to move beyond the old paradigm and create innovations for peacetime pursuits. To innovate for the purpose of thriving rather than simply surviving requires a much more sophisticated imagination. And that means having the courage to step into the unknown and dance with possibilities we can barely sense at the edge of reason.”
Over the years, Linda found that collaborating with living horses, and interacting with evocative images of horses, efficiently reawakens that pioneering spirit capable of tapping hidden sources of inspiration. “It truly doesn’t matter if you consider yourself a horse person. For thousands of years, our ancestors mapped the world on horseback. Exploring the unknown with the help of these immensely powerful—yet intensely sensitive—beings is literally in our blood. To face the next great adventure of human evolution, we need to harness that combination of power and sensitivity in ourselves, and, remarkably, these animals are ready, willing, and able to teach us how to do it.”
The Horse as Muse
Symbolically, the horse has a long history of awakening creativity in human beings. When Pegasus struck his hoof on Mount Helicon, the mountain of the Muses, he released the waters of the Hippocrene (literally “horse spring”). Thereafter, according to this ancient Greek myth, artists, musicians, and poets would make the treacherous climb to drink from this vast and flowing source of inspiration.
As Angeles Arrien notes in her book The Nine Muses, Pegasus comes from the Greek root pegae, which translates as “geyser.” “Those who drank from these waters,” she writes, “would be endowed with gifts of poetic inspiration, prophetic insights, heightened creativity, intellectual curiosity, and song.”
“We will, in fact, be exercising all of these gifts during the upcoming Horse as Muse workshop in October,” Linda reveals. “With living horses, mythic equine archetypes, and powerful images of horses helping us tap into our own secret springs, we will be learning how to write, paint, make music together, and literally dance with horses, not to become professional artists per se, but to learn how to access that hidden power of creativity that makes life itself a work of art.”
“In Arrien’s book,” Kim McElroy observes, “she says the definition of a Muse is ‘to initiate someone into the Mysteries.’ In my own experiences, the horse is always a catalyst for profound change and transformation, and when you harness their inspirational power for your own creative dreams, then inspirations, synchronicities, and insights become a new way of being.”
Yet for far too many people, creativity has been hidden behind a shroud of elitism. During the Horse as Muse retreat October 21 to 25, Linda, Kim, and the horses will combine their talents to help participants move beyond the mystique of creativity, while fully experiencing the mystery and the power of authentic inspiration.
At key points within the workshop the inherent transformative nature of sound and music will help participants merge more fully into the present moment and move into the deeper realms of the mythic imagination. In one of these creative encounters, participants will be guided by master musician Steve Roach through an engaging group experience of creating spontaneous sound art. “This moves beyond any sense of performance or reliance on a learned technique,” Steve reveals, “as its roots are found in the indigenous non western communal-tribal function of sound and music as a healing and transformative occurrence.”
“As artists,” Kim says, “we take the unformed aspects of our ideas, and put them into forms that communicate those feelings and thoughts to others. The secret is in learning ways to express your natural gifts. Creativity is as natural as breathing, but often in our lives we learned to hold our breath. When we engage our intent to open up to our natural creative gifts in a workshop such as this one, a quantum shift can take place. We can recognize and release the parts of us that may have been holding us back. In learning to exhale, you will release the energy to give your important expressions a voice.”
Way of the Horse Fall Events
A number of fall events of varying lengths at the Epona Center/Apache Springs Ranch involve the new Way of the Horse project. Below is a brief description of each. For more information/registration, go to the “Workshops: Introductory at Epona” page of this website, or call the Epona office at 520-455-5908.
Author Linda Kohanov and noted equine artist Kim McElroy lead a one-day introduction on how to use their new wisdom cards/guidebook kit, Way of the Horse, as a tool for self-discovery, education, and group reflection. This workshop, open to 20 people, will offer a look at the project’s development and the original art work created for this deck, including a “meet the herd” tour of the Epona horses who inspired many of the images, concepts, and stories included in this long-awaited collection of equine-inspired wisdom. Kim and Linda will also teach participants how to use the deck in various settings—offering layouts and creative activities for taking the profound yet immensely practical insights that horses teach beyond the barn, into the home, the workplace, and the classroom. This workshop culminates in the Way of the Horse book release party Saturday evening.
This intensive exploration of creativity in multiple forms, is designed to reinvigorate the senses, tap inspiration, exercise intuition, and expand participants’ ability to experiment, improvise, and more fully express themselves. The trio of facilitators, Linda Kohanov, Kim McElroy & Steve Roach, all internationally-recognized artists in their own right, will share simple yet profound techniques for accessing the innately artistic soul in us all. Activities with the Epona herd will also reawaken that pioneering spirit capable of discovering hidden sources of inspiration.
This lecture/demonstration workshop will offer a look at the project’s development and the archetypes, myths and legends that inspired many of the cards, including a “meet the herd” tour of the Epona horses who informed many of the images, concepts, and stories included in this long-awaited collection of equine-inspired wisdom. Linda will also offer demonstrations with the horses illustrating some of the most innovative concepts in the guidebook, and teach participants how to use the deck in various settings—offering layouts and creative activities for taking the profound yet immensely practical insights that horses teach beyond the barn, into the home, the workplace, and the classroom. No horse experience needed. Workshop is limited to 20 participants (up to 12 participants on site).
Way of the Horse Private Consultations with Linda Kohanov
Linda offers private trainings/interpretations on the Way of the Horse deck by phone or in person. $150 per hour by appointment only.
Contact the Epona Center office at (520) 455-5908 or firstname.lastname@example.orgPlease include your phone number/email in all correspondence.
Private equine-experiential sessions at Apache Springs Ranch with Linda are $225 per hour, two-hour minimum. Linda has worked diligently over the years to create week long retreat experiences with full accommodations and meals that essentially cost less than two days of private sessions, but she does get calls from people who would like to study privately with her for various reasons. “I leave time in my schedule for this option,” she says. “However, I recommend contacting the Epona office at least a month in advance for private work.”
Coming in November: Black Horse Wisdom Expanded Retreat
This powerful workshop is for people who would like to exercise their intuitive abilities through reflective and active engagement with horses, journeying, and interactions with mythic equine images and archetypes. Linda Kohanov, composer Steve Roach, and Epona Instructors Mary-Louise Gould and Eve Lee will coach participants in multiple intuitive/creative techniques, including accessing the Horse Ancestors (the collective wisdom of horses), simple yet profound animal communication techniques with members of the Epona herd, visionary/journeying experiences with live music, and ways of using Linda’s upcoming Way of the Horse wisdom cards (art by Kim McElroy) and guidebook for personal reflection and guidance. This retreat is limited to 10 people.
Mary-Louise Gould, EDM, an Advanced Epona Instructor, completed training with the Grof Transpersonal Program as a Holotropic Breathwork practitioner in 1987. She has studied meditation in India, and for 25 years has practiced Mindfulness, under the guidance of teachers such as Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzburg. In her 20 years as a clinical counselor, she has introduced clients to the healing and transformative benefits of non-ordinary states of consciousness, and as their collaborator in self discovery, has helped them to address their fears, listen to the wisdom of the body, seek their authentic self, and discover new pathways to intuition, creativity, and spirituality.
An Advanced Epona Instructor, Eve Lee is a graduate of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies Three-Year Program, and has completed advanced studies with the Foundation. Trained in core shamanic practice by Michael Harner, and in soul retrieval by Sandra Ingerman, Eve assists individuals and communities in making transitions that maintain or restore health, harmony and balance in times that demand change. A certified shamanic practitioner since 1993, she conducts retreats, drumming circles, vision quests and equine-facilitated sessions throughout North America and at her farm Loghaven in Illinois, incorporating her Appaloosa herd into her healing practice.
As a pioneering cornerstone of ambient-atmospheric-electronic-shamanic music, internationally-renowned recording and performing artist Steve Roach has dedicated nearly 30 years to the development and exploration of his unique soundworlds that connect with a timeless source of inspiration. Within the context of the Epona work his deep, intuitive understanding and activation of the creative flow and expanded states of perception has help to deepen the Epona experience through the power and subtle nature of sound and music.