!! SPOILER ALERT: in this article the plot of War Horse is revealed !!
I recently visited the musical War Horse. It is a puppeteer show featuring a horse Joey and Albert, a young boy who takes care of him. If you look at the story from a mythological perspective you can easily see that it is a story about growing up. A story about balancing your energies: the wild ones: sex, passion and learning to ride the wave of emotions.
In the first part of the story there is the archetypical theme of the hostile brothers: the ego and the self. Two brothers who do not like each other are betting against each other at an action for a horse. A beautiful horse but not fit for the farm the winning brother lives and works in. He pays more then he can afford.
Sometimes your wild about something or someone, but looking back you can honestly say it has cost you more then you where able to pay up. Using money, effort or energy. So you have to call out for help from your anima, your inner female and your inner child. The wife goes to lend some money and the child, Albert, offers his affection and learns to control his energies by making the horse listen to a certain kind of whistle. So this seems to display as a modern Grail search: Arthur looking for the Grail, that in this story has taken the form of a magnificent horse that has the ability to enchant everyone.
The stage has set for the story to unfold. A story about growing up and letting go, about finding out how much you got once you loose it. The father (the ego) sells the horse to the officer who takes it to war.
War seems to be innate in human nature, the collective shadow we all must recognize. Albert enlists and is displayed as the fool: when he reveals he is looking for his horse he becomes the joke of the regiment. But the foolish trust, the childlike attitude of Albert tends him in his search. At the end of the war Joey is in German hands. Joey is taken care of by Emily, but she does not have enough backbone to be able to ride the horse: when she tries the horse is captured by the Germans: the shadow side.
In every life when coming to grip with sexual energies you need to be able to ride and have the backbone to do it. To have the guts to fall in love, the guts to say no when you are not in love. All this is accurately symbolized. The boy needs to awaken his inner female side before he is ready to incorporate the animal energies that are symbolized by the horse.
But that is not enough, another lesson awaits…
In a gas attack Albert has been blinded. It is important to learn not to simply choose a partner for the way he/she looks. Loosing your vision means you have to relay on “your inner eyes”. your third eye, your intuition. The goose flesh you get when you recognize the person that triggers you so much that you seem to have the ability to read his/her mind without words. The beauty you see, with our realizing that it is in the eye of the beholder.
At last Albert is able to come home with his horse and shake hands with his father, now that he is grown up