[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Flying or Winged Horses, represent Flight, Freedom, Purity, Speed, Agility, Ferocity, and Cleverness. The Flying Horse named Pegasus is also representative of the Muse of Poetic Inspiration and Creativity, Erato, and is an extremely proud creature. (We see a counterpart in the Hippogriffs at Hogwarts—part horse and part eagle. Very proud, they only bow to people who also possess great magical powers and abilities. You don’t insult them because they can respond viciously—as do Flying Horses who hate being captured.) However, Flying Horses are a preferred method of travel for very powerful wizards who need to go far distances quickly. Likewise, the Gryffin was also portrayed as a steed of chivalric heroes in early literature—a type of “supercharged” Flying Horse.
Pegasus, probably the most famous Flying Horse, sprung from the blood of the Medusa when she/it was slain by Perseus. But, Pegasus immediately left this violent beginning and soared to the heavens to play with gods. Zeus was enchanted by this wonderful white and winged creature and allowed it to remain in his palace and also designated it a carrier of Zeus’ lightning bolts. In another legend, Pegasus, who spent quite a bit of time on Mount Helicon, home of the divine Muses, aided them in a battle with the daughters of Pieros. Pieros was a Macedonian king and he had hubristically (the sin of Hubris—excessive pride) given his daughters (known collectively as the Pierides) the names of the Muses. Just to prove their superiority, the Muses challenged the Pierides to a singing contest—of course, the Muses’ singing was overpowering. Unfortunately, it made Mount Helicon so inspired that it supposedly rose higher towards the heavens in delight. But, Poseidon ordered Pegasus to kick it and this stopped its ascent. The blow was so powerful that it punched a hole in the mountain and from it brought out the soul-inspiring Hippocrene spring—the waters of which have ever after inspired the Muses in “flights of fancy.” It is said that either the bloody birth or the Hippocrene incident lend themselves to the source of the meaning of “Pegasus”—“spring.” (However, the historian Hesiod claims that the creature is so named because it was born near the fabled source of all springs.)
The winged horse on which Bellerophon rode against the monster Chimaera/Chimera (snake-lion-goat hybrid) was Pegasus. Bellerophon, however, became filled with excessive pride and then tried to ride Pegasus up to the gods’ abode. He was either pushed or fell off of Pegasus—some legends say Zeus, in outrage, sent a gadfly to bite Pegasus so that he bucked Bellerophon off. (In WWII the image of a horse, with Bellerophon on its back, in pale blue with a maroon background, was adopted as the insignia of all British Airborne troops.)
In folklore, thunder is often mentioned to be the hoofbeats of Flying Horses and the horse element of the creature (one of the “fabulous creatures of magic) symbolizes the instinctive essence of natural life; the wings represent the spiritual essence of life. Thus, the ability of the Flying Horses to fly symbolizes humanity’s ability to conquer physicality by spirituality. We see through the winged horse the ability of a lower order of being to become one of a higher order, of additional force and stature. Wings, indeed, have represented nobility, spirituality, imagination, thought, and intelligence for eons. The winged sandals of Mercury represented the lifting of thought and communication/messages. The Greeks also, for example, gave wings to their artistic representations of Love and Victory—early on, Athena (Goddess of Hearth and Wisdom), Artemis (Goddess of the moon and the Hunt), and Aphrodite (Goddess of Love and Beauty) all had wings.