In the historical hills just 1.5 miles south of the city of Uffington, England is a 3-thousand year aged drawing of a horse that is equally sophisticated and mysterious. Best observed from the air, the exceptional stylized horse drawn with white chalk is considered to signify Epona, the Celtic horse goddess. The 374 foot drawing was the aim of historic spiritual celebrations. Each and every seven years, the horse drawing was ritually cleansed. Even these days, the associates of the English Heritage cleanse and sustain the lovely drawing which calls to us with an air of thriller.
Why Are Historical Horse Goddesses Vital Now?
Epona, like the horse goddesses from Celtic and other cultures, backlinks the horse, the divine and the feminine. These historical myths and legends can even now inform us nowadays and might aid us fully grasp the unbelievable attract that so a lot of women and ladies have to horses. Epona, depicted so superbly on best of the English hill, reminds us of a time when females and horses were being sacred, honored, and cost-free. So, who was Epona? What did she characterize? And how does she discuss to us nowadays throughout the millennia?
Who was Epona?
The title Epona comes from the Gaulish term epos, which means horse. The “on” and the “a” at the end of Epona’s name show that she was a woman deity. Some translations of Epona are “divine mare” and “she who is a mare.”
Epona was a deity that reigned about the fertility of the land, who afterwards became the goddess of the equine race. Some historians recommend that she may well even have been the prototype for Girl Godiva, the woman who protested taxes levied on the weak in 1057 by appearing nude upon her horse in Coventry, England.
In Germany, Epona was honored as a psychopomp, or spirit information for the dead. In Eire, she was connected with nightmares, and also with crossroads. Through western Europe, small devotional figures to Epona were broadly observed in stables. Epona was obviously revered as a protective deity with deep connections to other realms of realizing.
Patriarchal Transformation of Epona
It appears that the authentic sacred that means of this divine female deity was altered by prevailing patriarchal values. Horsemen from Gaul (now France) that have been conscripted in the Roman conquest brought the worship of Epona to Rome, exactly where she had her own vacation (December 18) as a goddess of war. Earlier, Epona is recognised to have been widely revered as a protector of horses, cattle, donkeys and oxen. Right until the Christian period, roses were used to enhance the two horses and stables to honor Epona. In all probability because of horses’ significant job in warfare, and Epona’s role mediating among the lands of the living and the useless, the devotion to Epona turned joined to the winning of wars. The notion of Epona as a war goddess is repugnant, while it can make perception that a mom may perhaps have prayed to Epona as a strong female determine to protect her sons and their horses fighting in a faraway land.
Epona’s link with nightmares was possibly a comparable adaptation of her primary purpose in mediating working day consciousness, and the one of a kind and uncontrollable world of night dreams. As a crossroads figure, Epona was a mediator among day and evening, and involving the residing and the dead.
Epona is Re-emerging in the Culture
Not a great deal additional is identified about Epona, so it is up to us to fill in the blanks with our imagination. She is a quite serious existence that has resonance for numerous fashionable horsewomen. Innumerable women of all ages have taken Epona’s title for their stables and riding plans. Epona has appeared as a character in the well known historical fiction The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn. Judith Tarr is yet another novelist who blends historical past with fiction in her White Mare’s Daughter series that attributes reverence to the Horse Goddess. Epona’s re-emergence in modern-day tradition may communicate to our require to honor the strength and resilience of ladies, and our connection with the divine feminine.
As we ponder Epona and the mysterious Uffington horse drawing, it seems that there are ancient stirrings at the coronary heart of the deep adore that present day ladies and women of all ages have for their equine companions.