The horn of power



Yesterday, to celebrate the end of the five mile travel limit imposed by the Welsh government during lockdown, we drove to the Black Mountains and followed the Grwyne Fechan towards its source below Waun Fach.  On the way upstream, I spotted a ram’s horn lying amid the fern, and although on most occasions I would simply have glanced at it and moved on, yesterday – perhaps because we have been away from wild countryside for so long – I had to have it. I took it back home and soaked it overnight in bleach and water. In the morning I scrubbed it with wire wool, and to my great surprise and joy, found within it a smaller, proto horn that slides perfectly inside the larger one. I supposed at first this was the original infant horn of the ram, but Mrs Blanco suggests it is, rather, the next horn, which will grow inside the old horn, and eventually displace it. This seems convincing; however, checking online, I discover that rams do not shed their horns, but that the horn contains within it a keratinous sheath, that is attached to the base of the skull. Is this what the smaller version of the horn is? I cannot find any images online of any structure that resembles the one in the photograph. Is my horn an anomaly, a freak of nature? Do any readers out there know anything about the biochemistry of the horn?




Ram horns grow in a helix, like the threads of a bolt, out from the head. Naturally, I couldn’t help but notice the structural resemblance to the ouroboros, symbol of the eternal cycle of renewal (and the icon of this site). The image of the ouroboros below is from a wood carving on the rood screen at the church of St Mary and St Egryn at Llanegryn, Gwynedd, which I photographed last November. 




7 Comments on “The horn of power

  1. I love the serendipity of symbols. Extraordinary.

    Do you suppose the ram went on about life or did it leave its earthly costume days or hours near where you stood?

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Propably the bigger horn was dead , I supose that the animal injured in the horn . The smaller horn was the alive , however the animal carry and the bigger horn ,which propably hadnt roots and blood . A dead horn . Specific two dead horns.
    You are very lucky !
    My grandfather had goats …

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have a few of these in my collection. I THINK that the smaller part is the bony horn which was attached to the cranium and the larger part is the keratin sheath. Unlike deer antlers it just keeps growing and is never shed.


    • When someone speak greek , I understand, I am from Greece . Jack Saorsa has felt a cranium pressure for a while something which is completly antithetical to my own purposes . I am from Greece and I have normal iq and I am autistic ….I am like this horns . I have a world inside the world.


  4. Brilliant, intriguing, great carving photo, is your ‘Ouroros’ the same as an ‘ensō’?
    PS just read ‘the blue tent’ – bowled over, starting again at the beginning
    Liz Doyle (Tyler’s mother-in -law )


  5. Thanks, Liz. Pleased to hear that you enjoyed the Tent! As for the ouroboros-enso question, I don’t feel qualified to answer, but it looks like you’re not the first person to make the connection. All best wishes!


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