The Black Horse: Our Bodies, Our Selves By Carol P. Christ

Carol P. Christ is a founding mother in the study of women and religion and women’s spirituality.  Her books include  She Who Changes , Rebirth of the Goddess, and the widely used anthologies she co-edited with Judith Plaskow, Womanspirit Rising and Weaving the Visions.  She has been thinking about the black horse in relation to the online course she is teaching on Ecofeminism in the Women’s Spirituality Program at California Institute of Integral Studies.

“The driver…falls back like a racing charioteer at the barrier, and with a still more violent backward pull jerks the bit from between the teeth of the lustful horse, drenches his abusive tongue and jaws with blood, and forcing his legs and haunches against the ground reduces him to torment.  Finally, after several repetitions of this treatment, the wicked horse abandons his lustful ways; meekly now he executes the wishes of his driver, and when he catches sight of the loved one [i.e. his master] is ready to die of fear.”

I can’t seem to get this image from Plato’s Phaedrus quoted in Val Plumwood’s Feminism and the Mastery of Nature out of my mind or my body these days.  The other day I tried to read the above passage to a friend and my body became so tense that I accidentally cut off the phone connection—twice.  Now while I am writing my muscles are tight, and I am beginning to get a headache.  I cannot get the image of the black horse out of my mind because “she” (I know that Plato’s horse was a “he”) has lived in my body for as long as I remember.  She probably first took root in my body when I began to fear my father’s discipline.  She became bigger and stronger every time someone or something in culture told me that my body and the feelings of my body were bad, that I as a girl or woman was unworthy, that the things I cared about were not important, that my thoughts were wrong.   Continue reading “The Black Horse: Our Bodies, Our Selves By Carol P. Christ”

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