The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy

Post by Joyce Hopewell

This book was a Christmas gift (thank you daughter) and its simple message, full of wisdom and magic, bears hope and significance for the times we are living in as 2020 and the new decade begins. It’s about love, friendship and kindness.

I’ve read it through cover to cover, I’ve dipped into it, and I’ve used the attached glossy ribbon it comes with to mark pages which hit the spot for me when I open it at random. I’ve even had a go at playing the music printed inside the front and back covers; there’s no title, just the instructions “Lively and in strict time”, the musical staves themselves adorned with drawings of the four characters in the title, and a horse, like Pegasus, with wings, galloping and flying through the notes. I recognise the tune but can’t name it; it’s a cheerful trotting tune.

I share my thoughts on this rather amazing book because there is much in it which could be useful for students and practitioners of Astrological Psychology. It’s focussed, for a start, on those three qualities already mentioned – love, friendship and kindness – probably all of them would fall into the category of transpersonal (that which is beyond the personal), and there are strong nods in the direction of sub-personalities, planetary energies and coming from the centre.

The Boy, the mole, the fox and the Horse is a book which will entrance children and have equal appeal for the oft-neglected inner child in adults. I’ve found passages which I can relate directly to the psychological meanings of the planets in a natal chart and the sub-personalities of Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis. The mole is like the Moon – needy for love, wise about love, but not averse to substituting it with cake.

The mole tells the Boy “I’ve discovered something better than cake.” “No you haven’t,” said the boy. “I have,” replied the mole. “What is it?” “A hug. It lasts longer.”

The Boy is lonely and full of questions. He seems to be searching for himself and perhaps could symbolise the Sun/sense of self. He wants to get back home and is joined on his journey by the mole, the fox and the horse. The fox is quiet and buttoned up, having been hurt by life. He doesn’t say much but the other characters include him and love him just as he is. The fox has a Saturnian quality; he is restrained and caught in a trap when the boy and mole discover him and set him free. His presence is welcomed even though he is silent. The fox rescues the mole when he falls into the water, and contrary to his nature, doesn’t attempt to eat him.

The horse is the last character to appear. He is white and wise and very special. He has Jupiterian qualities of wisdom and Neptunian qualities of unconditional love and acceptance. “When have you been at your strongest?” the boy asks the horse. “When I have dared to show my weakness. Asking for help isn’t giving up,” said the horse. “It’s refusing the give up.” I wonder if the horse may even be of, or from the centre of the chart; when the boy asks him for advice the horse replies, “Always remember you matter, you’re important and you are loved, and you bring to this world things no-one else can.”

The horse also reveals to his travelling companions that he can fly, but I won’t spoil the rest of the story or the magic for you because this illustrated book is beautiful to read, to look at and to provoke thought and introspection. The author, Charlie Mackesy, has been a cartoonist for The Spectator and a book illustrator for Oxford University Press.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a practitioner of Astrological Psychology seeing clients, this book would be a very useful and welcome addition to your studies, reading and even something which might be appropriately used in a session with a client. Remember, it’s not THE truth, it’s Charlie Mackesy’s truth, but my goodness, it resonates sensitively and is relevant to where we are now, and I for one did not find it difficult to agree that it speaks for my truth too.

In these changing, troubled times, it’s essential to have reminders of how we can be when we draw upon our latent goodness and decency and give it out into the world.

“Nothing beats kindness,” said the horse. “It sits quietly beyond all things.”