Tag Archive: 8


Goddess Epona

“Epona” by Joanna Barnum

“Epona’s themes are protection of animals; especially those who serve humankind. Her symbol is the horse.  Epona protects the creatures who faithfully keep humans company. This pre-Roman Gaulish Goddess is nearly always shown riding or lovingly feeding a horse and accompanied by a dog – these are Her two sacred animals.  Also, sometimes depicted with corn in Her lap and carrying a goblet, Epona inspires love, fertility and providence in your life. In some myths, Epona appeared to acknowledge a king’s sovereignty, giving Her leadership qualities that can help you when you need more authority in a situation.

To generate a little more providence in your life, eat corn today. Say a silent prayer to Epona, asking Her to saturate your food with power, then consume it to internalize the energy.

If you have a pet, consider blessing it today. To do this, find a small silver charm or a horse or a dog (like those from charm bracelets). This image invokes Epona’s protection. Alternatively, use a little bell and draw the image of a horse or dog on it.

Hold the token cupped in your hands. Visualize it filled with glittery white light and say,

‘Epona, watch over_____________ [fill in with the of the animal]. Keep them safe and healthy no matter where they may be.’

Put the charm on the animal’s collar or cage or in it’s bedding.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Epona (pronounced Ey-PONE-ah) was the ancient Horse Goddess of the pre-Christian Pagan people, known as the Gauls, or Celtic French. She was worshipped for many hundreds of years as a Horse Goddess, who not only protected horses, but also their owners. Epona is also one of the most well known of all the Goddesses within the Celtic Pantheon, and She was granted such titles as ‘The Great Mare,’ the ‘Divine Mare,’ and the ‘Mare Goddess.’

Epona was worshipped throughout the entire Celtic world in a variety of other, different aspects. In Ireland she was known as Macha, the Goddess of War, while in Wales She became Rhiannon, the Goddess of the Underworld. It was in the aspect of Rhiannon that Epona appears in the Welsh collection of tales known as The Mabinogion. She has also been identified with the Celtic Goddess Edain, or Etain, whose full name, when translated, is Etain Echraidhe, which means ‘Etain, the horse rider,’ or ‘Etain, the rider of horses.’

Epona was worshipped widely throughout the entire Celtic and Roman worlds, and Her worship was exceptionally strong in both Rhineland and Gaul. In fact, Epona’s worship became so strong that it spread as far away as the Danube River, Yugoslavia, North Africa and Rome. The Roman army was so impressed by Her that it eventually adopted Her cult, and the Roman soldiers introduced Epona’s worship to the many people that they encountered in their travels.

The British worshipped Epona in the form of a cult, and they gave Her the title ‘Rigantona‘ or ‘Rig Antonia,’ which means ‘Great Queen.’ The Goddess Rhiannon, whose worship occurred at a much later point in time, was strongly associated with Epona, and She was known by that title as well.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

Epona was also known by a variety of other names, which changed according to the various languages and myths that were indigenous to each particular region. It actually matters little whether She was known as Rhiannon, Macha or Epona, because no matter which aspect She happened to appear in, Her image always remained the same. She appeared as a woman with very long hair who was riding side saddle upon a white mare. When She appeared in the aspect of Epona, however, She was depicted as a woman with very long hair, lying half-naked on a white mare.

Stories about Epona [are] lost to the world forever, although one story regarding Her origin remains. During the decline of the Roman Empire, a Greek writer named Agesilaos wrote a story in which he claimed that Epona was the product of a man named Phoulonios Stellos, who had no interest whatsoever in women. Instead of mating with a woman he preferred to mate with a mare, and when that mare gave birth, it was to a beautiful human-looking daughter. Interestingly, it was actually the mare, herself, who named her daughter Epona, and by her doing so, she deified Epona as the Goddess of Horses.” [1]

Patricia Monaghan tells us that “Epona could take the tangible forms of both parents.  Sometimes, too, She appeared as a rushing river, which suggests that Epona was a fertility Goddess, often seen in Celtic culture as a water spirit.  Similarly, the connection among Celtic peoples of the horse and the sun suggests a solar nature to Epona, supported as well by the patera or round sunlike plate that She carries in many sculptures.

The sacred mare Epona appeared as the bestower of sovereignty in the ancient Celtic rituals of kingship, which may have included a rite of marriage with the mare Goddess.  Among Indo-European peoples in India, a rite of mare-marriage, which solidified a man’s claim on the rulership of a geographical area, is attested and has been connected by scholars to the figure of Epona.

Aerial view of the Uffington White Horse

Recent excavations of the magnificent British monument, the White Horse of Uffington, strongly suggests that the 360-foot-long horse represents Epona.  Using a new technique, archaeologists have been studying the rate at which the hillside, upon which the White Horse is carved into the chalky soil, has descended towards the deep valley (the Vale of the White Horse) beneath.  The White Horse has puzzled researchers for many years, some maintaining that it was a late medieval creation, others that it derived from the post-Celtic era.  Even before the recent attempt to date the monument itself, it has been noted that the horse’s design echoed that of coins issued by the Celtic warrior Queen Boudicca.  The identification of the White Horse with the Celts is now virtually certain – and as the Celts had only one horse-divinity, the likelihood is that the horse on the hill was Epona.  Vestiges of Her are also found in the figure of Lady Godiva and the mysterious white-horse-riding woman of Banbury Cross” (p. 114).

  

On an Etsy.com page selling a replica of an Epona statue found in Alesia, France, I found a piece of information especially inspiring:

Epona in our everyday lives

“Although Epona was and still is traditionally seen as a horse Goddess, She can fit into so many aspects of our lives. She is the Goddess of dreams not only of the sleeping kind but the dreams of hope and ambition. She can be helpful in manifesting dreams and is a good protector to have when venturing on a new path in life. A prayer or invocation can be offered to Her if one is having trouble sleeping or wishes to have insightful or peaceful dreams. She is a nurturing caregiver and can be called upon as a protector of families, children and women who are about to give birth.

Epona is also good to turn to when seeking positive blessings and prosperity. She is good to call upon during dark, difficult times in life such as grief and loss and can offer guidance that is gentle and loving in nature. Roses are a wonderful offering to leave on your altar for the Goddess Epona as are rose petals or rose incense. Sandalwood incense can also be used as an offering. When burning a candle for Epona, the most common color associated with Her is white.” [2]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

Pantheon: Celtic

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Horse and Motherhood

Preferred Colors: Brown, black and white

Associated Symbol: Horse, cornucopia, keys

Animals Associated with: Horse, mares and foals, dog, birds.

Suitable Offerings: Fruits, mare’s milk, apples, hay, sweet grass, oats, fresh water, a thick stout that you can practically chew on.  Roses, rosebuds, rose garlands.

Scents/Incense: Rose, sandalwood.

Gemstones: Cat’s eye, ruby, azurite, obsidian, and moonstone

Astrology: Aries

Tarot: Queen of Wands

Chakra: The sexual and heart chakras

Feast Days: The Autumn Equinox, when night and day are of equal length, occurs during the month of the Vine Moon; December 18 (based on the Roman calendar).

[34, 56]

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Etsy.com/shop/Harmonycraft, Epona – Celtic Horse Goddess“.

A Journal of a Poet – The Goddess As My Muse, “Epona, The Gaulish Horse Goddess“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Epona”.

PaganNews.com, “Epona“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Epona“.

Tribeofthesun.com, Epona“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

EPONA.net (An in-depth Epona site with historical facts about Epona)

Firewolf, Dawn. Realmagick.com, “Epona“.

Held, Catherine Anne. Dreamhorsewomen.wordpress.com, “Women and Horses in Mythology: Epona“.

Lady Zephyr. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Myst, Willow. Order of the White Moon, “Epona“.

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Epona: A Gaulish and Brythonic Goddess: Divine Horse“.

Readtiger.com, “Epona“.

Took, Thalia. The Obscure Goddess Online Directory, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Goddess Asase Yaa

"Mother Nature" by Zonagirl

“Asase Yaa’s themes are death, truth, morality, fertility, and the harvest.  Her symbol is soil.  In West Africa, Asase Yaa means ‘old woman earth’. As such, She governs the soil’s fertility, and consequently, the harvest. This Goddess represents the earth’s womb, who gives us birth and to whom we all return at death. In life She presides over and motivates truth and virtue; upon death, She cares for and judges our spirits. Thursday is the traditional day for honoring Her in the sacred space.

Every two years in April, people in Nigeria honor the spirits of the dead in a special festival called the Awuru Odo Festival that resembles a huge, extended family reunion – which is exactly how we can commemorate Asase Yaa in our own lives. If you can’t assemble with your family because of distance, pull out photographs of loves ones and wrap them in something protective. Lay these down and sprinkle a little rich soil over them so that Asase Yaa’s presence (and, by extension, yours) can be with them this day, no matter where they may be.

To keep Asase Yaa’s honesty and scruples as an integral part of your life, take any seed and a little soil and warp them in cotton, saying:

 ‘Into your womb I place the seed of self
to be nurtured in goodness and grown in love.’

Carry this token with you to keep Asase Yaa close by.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

Asase Yaa (pronounced ‘ah-sah-see-yah’, and means ‘mother earth’) “is the earth Goddess of fertility of the Ashanti people of Ghana. She is the wife of Nyame the sky god. She gave birth to two sons, Bea and Tano. However, in their folklore She is also the mother of Anansi the trickster god. Asase Yaa is very powerful, though no temples are dedicated to Her, instead She is worshipped in the fields.” [1]

“Asase Yaa is the Goddess who is  recognized as a source of truth; Her followers show Her respect with a day of rest from tilling the soil on Thursdays. In fact, She is a daily part of life for the Guyanese  who still practice the old spiritual traditions.  Before a farmer begins to till the ground, he must ask for Her permission.  Farmers sacrificed roosters to ensure good harvest.  She is the old woman of the Earth who is personified as the mother of humanity who supplies Her children with life and embraces them again at death.” [2]

 ASSOCIATIONS:

FAVORED PEOPLE: anyone who has worked in a field
ANIMAL: goat
PLANET: Jupiter
ELEMENT: earth
NUMBER: 8
DAY: Thursday
ORIGIN: Ashanti

I just thought this was cool –  Asase Yaa, a provider of global foods for festivals with vegan and vegetarian options in Minneapolis, MN.  I love this quote on her site, 

When you cook, you need to be on your best mental behavior and think about how people will feel eating your food. You want to share that spiritual energy and hope that people will receive if from the meal”- Petrina (Creator/Owner of Asase Yaa)

Sources:

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology, and You, “Asase Yaa“.

Wikipedia, “Asase Ya”.

Suggested Links:

Moon, Tora.  The Goddess Speaks, “Message from Asase Yaa – Goddess of Agriculture and Harvest“.

Romero, Frances. TIME Specials, “Top 10 Earth Goddesses“.


Goddess Oba

Obá

“Ọba’s themes are protection, manifestation, movement, energy, restoration and flexibility. Her symbols is water.  Ọba, is the Nigerian and Santarian Goddess of rivers, which figuratively represents the flow of time and life. Turn to Her for assistance in learning how to ‘go with the flow’, or when you need to inspire some movement in sluggish projects or goals.

Kuomboka is a holiday in Zambia that literally translates as ‘getting out of the water’. Due to the annual flood cycle, people must make their way to higher ground around this date. So consider what type of figurative hot water you’ve gotten into lately.  Ọba stands ready to get you onto safer footing.

To encourage Her aid, take a glass half filled with hot water, then slowly pour in cold water op to the rim, saying:

 ‘By Ọba’s coursing water, let <…..> improve
to higher and safer ground, my spirit move.’

Drink the water to internalize the energy.

Ọba can abide in any body of flowing water, including your tap or shower. When you get washed up or do the dishes today, invoke her energy by uttering this chant (mentally or verbally):

‘Ọba, flow <……> blessings  bestow
Pour, pour, pour <……> restore, restore, restore.’

Let Ọba’s spiritual waters refresh your energy and your magic.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

"Three Yoruban Women" by Consuelo Gamboa

Ọba is the Yoruba Goddess of rivers. She was the daughter of Yemaja and one of the consorts of Sàngó. Ọba represents the power of the flowing waters. The waters of the River Ọba bear Her name. She forms a triad with Her sisters Ọṣhun and Oya and provides the life-giving waters that are needed as drinking water and for irrigation. Ọba is venerated as a Goddess of love in Brazil but considered a guardian of prostitutes in parts of Africa.

Ọba is the heroine of a sad story that began with Her rivalry with Ọṣhun and Her efforts to obtain the exclusive love of their common husband.  According to legend, Shango was the lover of Ọṣhun, but the husband of Ọba and Oya. Ọṣhun was his favorite because She was the best cook of the three. Ọba, jealous because She was the first and legitimate wife, asked Ọṣhun how She kept Shango so happy.

Ọṣhun, filled with resentment because Ọba’s children would inherit the kingdom, told Ọba that many years ago She had cut off a piece of Her ear, dried it into a powder, and sprinkled some on Shango’s food.  This, She said, is what made him desire Her more than the others.  So, Ọba went home and sliced off Her ear, stirring it into Shango’s food. When Shango began eating, he glanced down he saw an ear floating in the stew. Thinking that Ọba was trying to poison him, he drove Her from the house.  Grieving, She fell to earth and became the Ọba River which intersects with the Oṣun river at turbulent rapids, a symbol of the rivalry between the two wives where She is still worshipped today.” [1]

"Water goddess" by rmj7

“Ọba migrated with Her people when they were brought to Cuba.  When Ọba possesses a dancer, she wears a scarf that hides one ear and must be kept from any dancer who embodies Ọṣhun because of the rivalry between the two.  Ọba is syncretized with Saints Catherine and Rita” (Patricia Monaghan, Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines, p. 41), Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Martha (Nathaniel Samuel Murrell, Afro-Caribbean Religoins: An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions p. 174)

ASSOCIATIONS

Sacred number: 8
Day of the week: Sunday or Friday
Colors: pink, pink and blue, pink belted or accented with red and white
Domain: marriage, loyalty, fidelity, female honor with regard to wife and motherhood, bonding
Symbols: interlocking wedding rings or circles, head scarves in Her colors that cover the ears and neck (khimar style), the double swords (two machetes or gubasas) with attached scarves, the hooded cape, the baby sling, red and white hearts, red and white roses or other flowers, pink flowers. [2]

Visit Orisha Online Altar, Oba to learn more about Her associations, offerings and altar set up.

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