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The Gifts of Black Horse
By Dick Levon - 07/25/2001 - 12:21 PM EDT

In the winter of 1990 my sister Laurie and I held a workshop about creativity at Cielo en Tierra (Heaven on Earth). This heavenly retreat center in the high Arizona desert country was a wonderful backdrop to explore and expand our creative powers. I am blessed to be able to develop and lead workshops with my sister. She is a very talented artist and therapist living and working in Tucson. I do not get to be with her as much as I need and want.

We worked and played with a group of a dozen adults. A nice mix of people from various ages, backgrounds, and origins. Mostly strangers, we were linked by our passion for creativity. The very same thing we share here.

A core part of the workshop was about identifying and overcoming blocks or barriers to creativity. What I believed then and still do now is that the barriers to creativity are the things that keep us from living full and thriving lives. I want all who read this to be liberated from whatever undermines the power of imagination and creative talent.

I want to share with you a story that I wrote for the workshop. It is called “The Gifts of Black Horse”. Once relaxed and comfortable, I asked the participants to imagine that they were one of the children in the story I was about to tell. I invite you to do the same. Enter this story with the intention of receiving a gift from Black Horse. The gift will empower you in some important way that you need in sustaining your vital imagination.

Once in a time like our own in a place not so far away, children would often gather around in the evening and listen to the elders tell stories. Lessons were taught. Many feelings and experiences were shared until all the children were asleep.

One night after all were asleep a visitor appeared. Into the village walked Black Horse, snorting and throwing back his head. Sleek, powerful, shinning blue black. He reared back crying out. “Wake up!”
Of course, all the children awoke, and the adults were still asleep. The children were all excited and knew they must follow Black Horse.

Black Horse led them deep into the forest. Deeper and deeper into the dark moist warmth surrounding them. Their excitement grew as they anticipated what awaited them.

They came upon a beautiful garden clearing. Near the deepest forest. Near the deepest dark pool. Near the deepest darkest cool caves of the Sacred Mountain.

The children gathered in this beautiful garden. Black Horse explained that he must leave them. "I must go into the deep pool and travel this watery darkness. I will return again and again bringing a gift for each of you. Each gift will be exactly what you need that has great power and will help you to develop and protect your wonderful imaginations."

Black Horse leapt into the deep dark pool, disappearing beneath the cool waters. The children awaited his return. (Pause here and give yourself as much time as you need to visualize his journey into the dark pool and remember what you experience)

He is searching for a gift for you. He has entered a dark void seeking what you need to help you further on your journey. Look into the Pool. Open yourself to receive the gift he brings to you. See Black Horse emerge from the bubbling water with the gift. See it, it may show itself to you. Hear it, it may call out. Feel it, it may touch you. Receive it. Black Horse would return again and again until all of the children received their special gifts.

As each child embraced the gift they would wake up in their own beds that were so familiar yet now changed forever. Each child knew something was different. Each child knew this gift would be with them forever and protect them on their life journey.

When the story was finished I asked each person to create something that expressed the gift they received in the story. I would invite you to do the same. Take all the time you need. Use any form you want. Music, poetry, dance, drawing or painting, dramatic/ comedic dialogue.

Of course we did “show and tell”. Isn’t that the most fun part? It was amazing. Each person's creations were distinct and powerful. I remember them all. In particular I recall one slight and slender woman who did a dance for her show and tell . She was a dancer. She epitomized the spirit of this moment. Our mouths agape and bug eyed, we all were mesmerized in the explosion of feelings and images being expressed in the beautiful and powerful dance. A lioness, fierce, savage, and deadly protecting her young. Black Horse brought this wisp of a dancer a lioness to help develop and protect her imagination. This is the kind of inner image and energy she needs in order to honor and sustain her creativity. When she shared this it became part of us as well.

I can imagine her now first pacing back and forth in rhythm scanning her territory looking intently for possible danger. Conjuring this lioness into her heart she leaps and her creations flow outward as a cascade of forms rolling like a wave. Bold and free. Isn’t that how we all want to create?

I have vivid memories of that workshop. I shared this story with twelve people. Now I share this story again with all of you and I wonder how many people are reading this. How many have put themselves into this story and are now beginning to imagine their “gift” from Black Horse?

I love to write songs. So do you or you wouldn’t be here reading this and visiting this junction on the internet. I imagine a very large group, perhaps five thousand or ten thousand, passionate creative artists who love to write songs, have just read the “Gifts of Black Horse”. Imagine that each person is now creating some form that expresses what they need in protecting the inner life of their imaginations. I imagine that there is greater enthusiasm for the power of imagination. I imagine that in some significant way, each person touched by this story is now more passionate about life. I imagine the ten thousand, each with distinct lives, gifts, and stories of their “truth” that will be told and will be heard. Imagine that…

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