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Epona, the Celtic patroness
By White Crow
Uffington white horse
"The Celtic horse goddess whose
authority extended even beyond death, accompanying the soul
on its final journey. She was worshipped throughout entire Gaul,
and as far as the Danube and Rome. Her cult was eventually adopted
by the Roman army and they spread her worship wherever they
went. She was the only Celtic Goddess to be honored by the Romans
with a temple in their capital city. Among the Gaulish Celts
themselves, she was worshipped as goddess of horses, asses,
mules, oxen, and, to an extent, springs and rivers. Epona is
depicted sitting side saddle or lying on a horse, or standing
with multiple horses around her. Her symbol is the Cornucopia
("horn of plenty") which suggests that she could (originally)
have been a fertility goddess. She is also identified with the
Celtic goddess Edain." (Copyright (c) 2000 Encyclopedia
Mythica. All rights reserved.) Her name derives from the Celtic
word for horse. She's the only Celtic goddess to be adopted
by the Romans. In Welsh mythology, she's Rhiannon. She rides
a mare and rules over horses and riders.
from www.marthascottage.com/Ga.../epona.htm (link
no longer available)
The maiden goddess Epona is usually
portrayed as riding a white mare side-saddle, sometimes with
a foal, or standing surrounded by horses. Her symbol is the
Cornucopia ("horn of plenty") which suggests that
she may have been honoured as a fertility goddess, although
she is most commonly known as a goddess of horses and travel.
She fed her beloved horses from her cornucopia filled with corn
and apples, symbolic of mother-love and abundance. From the
iron age, the Celtic goddess' faith spread across the whole
of ancient Europe, eventually being embraced by the Romans and
to a certain extent, Christianity. Epona had a shrine in almost
every stable of the Roman empire - in fact, she was the only
Celtic goddess to be honoured by the Romans with a temple in
their capital city. Her annual festival in Roman times was around
the 18th December (in Mantua/Italy), when her images in shrines
and stables were draped in rose garlands. Epona and her white
mare accompanies the soul on its final journey to the other
world, and in life she is associated with the white mare that
from www.goddess.com.au/goddess/epona.htm. (link
no longer available)
Rhiannon is a Welsh underworld Goddess
form. Her story is told in the Mabinogion ( 1 , translation
by Lady Charlotte Guest). Her origin goes back further still
according to Jean Markale who believes that she might have been
the original Mother Goddess of the Celtic people. She brings
sleep, dreams, and sometimes nightmares. She is found in several
ancient cultures, called by several names.
Through history Rhiannon has survived
and influenced many cultures and legends. Her name translates
as "divine" or "Great Queen." She may have
been sun Goddess. She is Goddess of change, movement, and magic.
She comforts in times of crisis, loss, and illness. She gives
us gifts of tears, forgetfulness (to promote healing), and humor
to ease our sufferings in this life and guides us to the next.
She is also accompanied by golden birds whose singing can call
the dead or grant peaceful sleep to the living.
Ride A Cockhorse Ride a cockhorse
to Banbury Cross to see a fine lady upon a white horse, With
rings on her fingers and bells on her toes she shall have music
wherever she goes. ~ Anglo-Celtic Nursery Rhyme
(link no longer available)
Other Names for Epona/Rhiannon Bubona
- Scottish Eponae - Roman (especially called upon by Roman cavalry)
Lady Godiva - English legend Mare - Irish (source of the term
nightmare) Rigatona/Rigantona - Gaul/Italic Vivienne - Breton
(escorted Arthur to Avalon) And the most famous white horse
The Uffington white horse The Uffington
white horse is undoubtedly Britain's oldest and most famous
hill figure, which has recently been dated at 3000 years old
by the Oxford Archeological Unit. 1000 years older than previously
thought. This the oldest hill figure and inspired the creation
of many of the other white horses although and particularly
its closeness to Uffington castle may have inspired the creation
of the first Westbury horse by Bratton camp, which also faced
right. The earliest reference to it was in in the 1070's when
white horse hill was mentioned, the first actual reference to
the horse itself was in 1190. The horse is unique in its features,
the horse being a very long sleek disjointed figure and this
leads some to believe it represents the mythical dragon that
St. George slain on the adjacent Dragon hill or even his horse.
However others believe it represents a Celtic horse goddess
Epona, known to represent fertility, healing and death. It may
have been created to be worshipped in religious ceremonies.
Similar horses feature in Celtic jewelry and there is also evidence
for horse worship in the Iron Age. The scouring of the horse
is believed to have been a religious festival in later times,
giving more creditability to the figure being of religious origin.
Others believe that it commemorates Alfred's victory over the
Danes in 861 AD or that it
was created in the seventh century by Hengist in the image of
a horse on his standard, however the recent scientific data
upon its age seem to discount these more modern theories. Several
Iron age coins bearing representations of horses very similar
to the Uffington horse have been found and would support the
theory of the horse being from an earlier period than the seventh
or eight centuries. Also unusual is the fact that the horse
faces to the right while all other horses and other animal hill
figures face left, with three exceptions, the very first Westbury
horse, the Osmington horse and the more modern Bulford Kiwi.
The earliest record of the white horse is from Abingdon Abbey
in the late 12th century, although white horse hill was mentioned
a century earlier. http://www.hows.org.uk/personal/hillfigs/uff/uffing.htm
Gwydion Wales. Druid of the mainland
gods; son of Don; brother of Govannon, Arianrhod, Amaethon (god
of agriculture). Wizrd and Bard of North Wales. a many-skilled
deity like Lugh. Prince of the Powers of Air; a shape-shifter.
His symbol was a white horse. Greatest of the enchanters; warrior-magician.
Illusion, changes. magic, the sky, healing.
On flying white horses
is only one of the many horses that fly, others being the Celtic
Epona, the Cretan Leukippe, the White Horse that founded Prague,
Wotan's horse Sleipnir, as well as the horses that traditionally
draw the sun through the skies. From Asia to England, the hobby
horse was the traditional vehicle of the shaman through the
night sky, evolving in the Middle Ages into the witches' broomstick.
(link no longer available)
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