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Within the historic hills simply 1.5 miles south of the town of Uffington, England is a 3-thousand yr previous drawing of a horse that’s each elegant and mysterious. Greatest seen from the air, the exceptional stylized horse drawn with white chalk is believed to symbolize Epona, the Celtic horse goddess. The 374 foot drawing was the main target of historic spiritual celebrations. Every seven years, the horse drawing was actually cleaned. Even immediately, the members of the English Heritage clear and keep the gorgeous drawing which calls to us with an air of secrecy.
Why Are Historic Horse Goddesses Essential As we speak?
Epona, like the horse goddesses from Celtic and other cultures, links the horse, the divine and the female. These historic myths and legends can still inform us in the present day and should assist us perceive the unimaginable draw that so many women and girls should horses. Epona, depicted so superbly on prime of the English hill, reminds us of a time when ladies and horses have been sacred, honored, and free. So, who was Epona? What did she characterize? And how does she converse to us as we speak by means of the millennia?
Who was Epona?
The identify Epona comes from the Gaulish phrase epos, which means horse. The "on" and the "a" on the finish of Epona's identify show that she was a female deity. Some translations of Epona are "divine mare" and "she who is a mare."
Epona was a deity that ruled over the fertility of the land, who later turned the goddess of the equine race. Some historians recommend that she might even have been the prototype for Woman Godiva, the lady who protested taxes levied on the poor in 1057 by showing nude upon her horse in Coventry, England.
In Germany, Epona was honored as a psychopomp, or spirit guide for the lifeless. In Eire, she was associated with nightmares, and in addition with crossroads. Throughout western Europe, small devotional figures to Epona have been extensively found in stables. Epona was clearly revered as a protective deity with deep connections to other realms of understanding.
Patriarchal Transformation of Epona
It seems that the unique sacred which means of this divine femininity deity was altered by anticipating patriarchal values. Horsemen from Gaul (now France) that have been conscripted in the Roman request brought the worship of Epona to Rome, where she had her personal holiday (December 18) as a goddess of warfare. Beforehand, Epona is understood to have been extensively revered as a protector of horses, cattle, donkeys and oxen. Till the Christian period, roses have been used to embellish horses and stables to honor Epona. In all probability due to horses' essential position in warfare, and Epona's position mediating between the territories of the dwelling and the lifeless, the devotion to Epona turned linked to the profitable of wars. The thought of Epona as a warfare goddess is repugnant, although it is sensible that a mother might have prayed to Epona as a robust lady figure to protect her sons and their horses preventing in a faraway land.
Epona's reference to nightmares was in all probability an identical adaptation of her unique position in mediating day consciousness, and the distinctive and uncontrollable world of night time goals. As a crossroads figure, Epona was a mediator between day and night time, and between the dwelling and the lifeless.
Epona is Re-rising within the Tradition
Not far more is understood about Epona, so it is up to us to fill within the blanks with our imagination. She is a very real presence that has resonance for a lot of trendy horsewomen. Numerous ladies have taken Epona's identify for their stables and driving packages. Epona has appeared as a personality within the fashionable historical fiction The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llywelyn. Judith Tarr is another novelist who blends history with fiction in her White Mare's Daughter collection that features reverence to the Horse Goddess. Epona's re-emergence in trendy culture might converse to our have to honor the power and resilience of girls, and our reference to the divine feminine.
As we ponder Epona and the mysterious Uffington horse drawing, it appears that there are historic stirrings on the coronary heart of the deep love that trendy women and girls have for his or her equine companions.
Source by Catherine Held, PhD