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"I Wonder if the Moon rides a horse..."


In a book about the horse among indigenous cultures, I ran into the account of a Native American informant who mused to an anthropologist that perhaps the Moon was mounted upon horseback up in the sky. This created an immediate mental image for me, and so this painting was born.

This painting is acrylic on heavy gauze, handmade frame of pine painted to extend the art from the cloth. 28"x 34", c. Luna Rivera 1997 (signed "Turtle Woman")

Scroll below painting for a more complete statement about the imagery!







When horses were introduced into the Americas, indigenous peoples immediately took them to heart- including them not only in their lives but also in their mythologies. Horses were associated with all the natural elements, and the heavenly bodies. The Navajo and Apache were among those who felt that the sun and moon rode about the sky on horses. The Sun, the Moon, and the horse all exhibit rapid, changing motion, so this was a natural association. One Navajo informant told anthropologist Willard W. Hill: "The Moon is a funny thing. It is always changing its' size and moving around. I wonder if it rides a horse." I thought when I read this that even 'tho times change, and everybody may no longer be steeped in the old mythology, that people might still ponder this question. And that's what I've shown in this painting: a couple out enjoying the evening air, wondering about the Moon.


Affordable prints of this image are available (open edition). It is also available as a greeting card. Click HERE to visit my page on prints and cards of my work.