As a girl, Koelle Simpson spent hours engaging with horses near her rural home in Tennessee. They helped her heal from the sexual abuse that had left her feeling broken and withdrawn. In her passion for understanding these amazing creatures, Simpson studied everything she could about the equine nature. In the process, she developed a skill often called ‘horse whispering,’ or what she refers to simply as “communicating with horses in their own language.”
Simpson discovered how, sometimes within a matter of hours, to transform an abused horse from a stampeding demon into an angelic companion—using only gentleness and patience. Soon she and her equine pals began helping people who’d been similarly scarred. Seemingly miraculous healings occurred as people learned, from interacting with horses, how to treat themselves more gently instead of whipping, hobbling or denying their instincts and true selves.
We’re entering the Year of the Horse on January 31, and those who follow Chinese astrology are predicting a New Year characterized by rapid expansion, fast-paced spurts of growth, optimism and achievement of goals. This makes sense on one level, since the horse is an energetic force of nature, running wild and free. And there is bound to be a release of energy as we leave behind two years of watery influences (first the Dragon, then the Snake) and gallop into the fiery Year of the Horse.
Yet horses are also very sensitive, social creatures, with an intense desire for companionship. Since a lone animal is vulnerable to predators, horses need one another for protection, and easily become spooked when feeling exposed. So the freedom-loving horse also symbolizes the need for community, safety and a slow, gentle approach. We’d do well to bear this in mind—especially because the first half of this year is rife with retrogrades, suggesting that patience will be the key to manifesting our goals.
Love goddess Venus ends her six-week retrograde on Jan. 31st, just as action-hero Mars starts to slow down in preparation for his backward turn from March through May. The retrograde of Mars can be particularly frustrating, because it demands that we make internal changes rather than trying to force external results. And, with February and June both colored by communicator Mercury’s backward turn, there’s a retrograde flavor to the period through early July. The Horse may need a lot of love and gentling before he really hits his stride in mid-July, when Jupiter canters into fiery Leo for a year.
Meanwhile, the Chinese New Year and Venus’ direct station both happen within hours of the Aquarius New Moon (January 30, 1:39 p.m. PST). The New Moon’s Aquarian bid for freedom is accentuated by its sextile to independent Uranus. Combined with the incoming Horse energy and Venus casting off her retrograde shackles, it should make for a potent breakthrough period. Throw in an opposition from blustery Jupiter to an intense Pluto-Venus conjunction, however, and things could easily get out of hand. Hold your horses before doing anything rash, especially where relationships are concerned. This holds true for the entire month of February, in which Mars will be virtually stationary in fair-shake Libra and Mercury turns retrograde in nebulous Pisces before heading back into Aquarius. We’d do best to cultivate our own pastures now rather than blaming others for not taking us on the grand ride we think we deserve. On the other hand, these energies favor the cultivation of community and friendship, as well as making slow, steady progress that lays the groundwork for rapid expansion this summer.
This is a good time to reach out for aid, as you energize your Helpful People gua (to the right of your front door as you enter). For guidance, check out this New Moon ritual from my book, Astro Feng Shui: Making Magic in Your Home and Life. You can also view a short video at the bottom of that page, showing how one woman attracted the help she needed by shifting things dramatically in her bedroom.