First, let me start out by saying – I love Unicorns! I have always loved them, and always will. My bedroom was wall papered in it as a child, I had dozens of figurines, and when the internet+colored printers became a thing, I spent hours printing unicorn pictures and cutting them out to make collages. This pop-culture return to the love of the Unicorn, except sassier and more awesome, speaks to my heart and makes me do happy dances.
A little history
However, Unicorn in lore and legend was vastly different than the beautiful, playful, rainbow-loving creatures we picture today. They were fierce. Vicious even. Other animals or even human hunters stood no chance.
There are engravings and stone from the Indus Valley dated to 2500BCE, and written accounts of Unicorns ranged all over the world. Generally naturalists regarded it as a real beast from India(ish), writers recording their observations or ‘facts’ as far back as Ancient Greece. Descriptions varied widely. Some described it as having a white body with a dark-red head and dark-blue eyes, whose horn was able to cure poison. Others, like Pliny the Elder, described it has having feet like a rhino and a head like a stag. In Europe they were more goat-like than horse. Some stories have them riding the waves of the ocean.
Now, we have to consider that these could simply be highly colorful accounts of encountering a rhino, or perhaps a narwhal, for the first time. Some though… oh, what if some were more?
The Christians ruined it, of course. In the Medieval period they turned it into an allegory for the Virgin Mary and the Incarnation, which morphed into chaste love and white for virginal purity… The Unicorn wasn’t even white until that time period, prior to that he was dark with an ebony horn in the lore. Later, in Scotland, the Unicorn was seen as a royal animal – haughty and proud. The English adopted it alongside the lion. Virile. Powerful. Funny they did that, since Edward Topsell described the Unicorn as hunting Lions in his 1607 work History of Four Footed Beasts.
Unicorn is my soul animal. Fierce. Protective. Magickal. Unique. Untamable. And as a Being, I absolutely think Unicorn is just as valid as Bear or Thunderbird or Salmon. As with any Guide, we have lessons to learn. Unicorn has taught me to embrace my differences and to always be ‘me’ over anyone else. After all, Unicorn is a weirdly shaped horse with a bone sticking out of their head and majestic… as … fuck. Unicorn models fierceness, to protect ourselves and others from bullying, oppression, and hate. When I consider this lesson, I always come back to its mythical power against poison. The poison of hate, bullying, insecurity, and fear – perhaps the legends were on to something!
With the more modern interpretations of Unicorn available, pop-culture magick can be utilized in Working with this Being. Statuary to represent your Guide, a glittery-unicorn phone-case as your daily talisman against bullying, and even a daily planner reminding you to seize the day and “Get Shit Done”.
Draw those lessons and that strength into your day-to-day life. Here’s the thing, it doesn’t matter how ‘authentic’ your stuff is or how ‘old-school’ your tradition is if you aren’t doing the Work – if glitter and gold foil mean you’ll use it every day and strengthen the Work on your Path, that’s what matters!
Speaking of spiritual work, you can meditate or Journey with Unicorn, too.
A great meditation you can try before bed, that has helped me sleep through countless terrors and fears and is akin to counting sheep, is to build a gorgeous, sun-lit field in your mind’s eye. Feel the warmth of the sun, and hear the swish of the wind in the wildflowers. Smell the grass. Faintly, you hear hoof beats. You look around, and in the distance you see them galloping towards you. Their manes and tails glimmering in the light, coats gleaming. They toss their heads and whinny “hello” as they cross your path. Watch them frolic. Feel their joy. Curl up and get comfortable, protected by a blessing of unicorns as you sleep.
Similar to meeting any Guide, you would Journey to meet the representation of Unicorn that will accompany you on your Path. I recommend a Journey style that has worked well for you in the past. If you aren’t familiar with self-guided Journeying, I can point you over to many resources but I particularly like Lora O’Brien, who has an intuitive Journey technique she teaches as part of her Irish Spirituality.
What are some lessons Unicorn has imparted to you? Would love to hear your experiences!