Tag Archive: rhiannon


Welcome Freyja!

Wow, it has been too long since I’ve written last.  As I’ve stated in my other blog, The Journeys of a Nomadic Pagan, “Reflections During the Dark Moon“, life has gotten extremely busy for me and I’ve found it difficult to sit down and write about all the cool things going on.  If you recall from an earlier post, “The Dark Mother Does NOT Hold Back and Other Things“, I was having a very intense time with Odin making his presence overwhelmingly known in my life.  It seemed as though Odin was there, all the time, pushing me so hard in the pursuit of  knowledge that I was putting everyday activities to the side, constantly trying to play catch up late at night with everyday mundane activities.  I had to tell Odin that my family and my children come first in my life right now.  Then, in stepped Freyja and everything changed…

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

“Freyja” by Kris Waldherr

I don’t recall the exact date now – looking back though, I’d say that at around February 23rd (I know it was after a conversation that I was having with a good friend of mine on February 20, telling her how I felt like there was more work that I felt needed to be done or to prove myself before I could connect with Freyja; but before the Full Moon on February 25th because I dedicated that Full Moon rite to Her) Freyja made a surprising visit as I was falling asleep one night.  I was right on the verge or falling asleep, when you’re in that in-between state, but still somewhat conscious of what’s going on around you.  All of a sudden, I “saw” these bright prisms or rays of white/blue/purple/pink light beam down and light everything up.  Then, I saw Her – She was very similar in appearance to Kris Waldherr’s depiction of Freyja, chariot and cats and all, but different – Her hair was brighter or a lighter blonde and the clothing She was dressed in lighter colored clothing, white and grey.

Her energy was amazing and completely surrounded me – every breath I was taking in felt as though I was breathing Her energy into my lungs and engulfed my body.  The only way I can describe it is warm kitten fur – seriously – it felt like warm soft kitten fur!

That night, She made it very clear that She was here to stick around and has even given me certain requirements or tasks that She strongly suggests me to do if I am to represent Her and become one of Her priestesses; and since then Odin has stepped back, way back.   It was almost as though She had to “step in” and acting in a protective manner and tell Odin to step back for a while.  Later, I found (and I can’t remember the source – still looking for it) that Freyja was the only Goddess that could, for whatever reason, really stand up to Odin and have him step back from a person that he had a hold on as it were.  I think it might have to do with the fact that She had taught Odin magic and that gave Her the authority to do so, or the fact that Freyja has the first pick of souls of the slain or fallen warriors as Lady Imbrium had mentioned.

This new deep connection with the gods of the Norse pantheon almost made me feel conflicted in a way.  You see, for my ADF hearth culture, I was sure on my choice of the Celtic or Gaulish pantheons to work with.  However, things have taken a real turn and it seems as though the gods of the Norse hearth culture have chosen me.  Funny how that works…but I still continue to honor the Goddesses I feel especially close to and have their altars I set up (The Morrígan, Brighid and Epona/Rhiannon) and things seem and feel OK.  I’m also in the process of setting up my ADF altar to Frigga (who has a real quiet but firm presence in my life – but She doesn’t say too much, She just kind of sits back and observes) and Odin.  In fact, a few weeks back, I actually had a dream of Brighid and Freyja.  Their images were on a single card from the Goddess Guidance Oracle deck by Doreen Virtue.  It kept spinning, Freyja on one side and Brighid on the other.  To me, it signified balance and a feeling that it was OK to work with both pantheons, but that they should not be mixed.  Balance was the key.

I’ve also noticed I’ve been dreaming of runes and seeing them more often.  I had a dream one night of runes that appeared from the usual swirling grey mists in my “spiritual dreams”.  Out of the mists Fehu and Gebo appeared.  These runes apparently have some type of significance to Her (as does Ehwaz I’ve been finding out).  A few others appeared too, but I don’t remember them – Berkano, Jera, and Mannaz seem to be standing out; but those first two are the two that really stand out in my memory.  Also, there are times when I close my eyes and runes just seem to swirl around and around….

My personal altar to Freyja - a work in progress.

My personal altar to Freyja – a work in progress.

I have since set up a personal altar to Her in my bedroom by my bed side, making daily offerings to Her of different sweet-smelling incense that She seems to enjoy (strawberry, latin lover, and amber romance).  She also made it known that She likes pearls.  This was a little strange to me as She is a fertility Vanir Goddess, more closely associated with the earth I thought – how was She connected with the sea?  But looking at Her father, Njörðr, god of the sea and weather, it makes a little more sense.  Then I found this wonderful blog entry, “M is for Mardöll“, it made much more sense.  Plus, She just thinks they’re really pretty – She likes pretty things 😉

I continue to speak with Her and give Her praises daily, and She in turn comforts me, helps to remind me to go within and find my center when I’m angry or upset, and tells me what work needs to be done in the healing process I’ve started back in February.  The relationship I’ve been working on building with Her is amazing.  She is so strong and confident, an amazing healer and full of wisdom and knowledge that will come to me in time with hard work (there are things that She has advised me I NEED to learn and WILL learn) as She sees fit and feels I am ready.  The new found healing, love, confidence, blessings and opportunities that have presented themselves within the past month or so have been so amazing and transformative – unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.  Welcome Freyja!  Hail and praises to you Sweet Lady!

Goddess Rhiannon

“Rhiannon’s Ride” by Selina Fenech

“Rhiannon’s themes are movement, communication, rest, ghosts, fertility and leadership. Her symbols are the color white, horses and the moon.  This Celtic horse Goddess rides into our festival calendar today on a white mare bearing fertility, leadership, and a means to get things moving where they may have stagnated. Some historians believe the swiftness of Her steed (which is white, a lunar color) alludes to a lunar Goddess. In stories, Rhiannon commands singing birds that can wake spirits or grant sleep to mortals.

In Britain, people would come to Berkshire hillside today to partake in the White Horse Festival in which they scour the white horse that adorns the grasses here. This ancient galloping steed is created from pale clay, and this ritual kept it, and Rhiannon’s memory, vibrant.  So, if you have any images of horses (magazines, statuary, paintings) around, dust them off and put them in a place of honor today.

Since this was a festival for horses, you might consider tending to your own ‘horse’, be it a car or a bicycle!

Give it a tune-up or oil change, then take a ride! As you go, visualize yourself on the back of Rhiannon’s horse moving swiftly toward attending productivity or improved authority wherever you need it. Alternatively, wear something silver or white so that Rhiannon’s lunar energies can begin filtering into your day through the color’s vibrations.”

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

This is pretty much a repeat of the entry I did on Rigantona back June 28.

“Rhiannon” by Caroline Gully-Lir

The great Goddess Rhiannon is a potent symbol of fertility, yet She is also an Otherworld and death Goddess, a bringer of dreams, and a moon deity who is symbolized by a white horse. Her father was Heveydd the Old, and She was married to both Pwyll and Manan. The story of Her marriage to Pwyll, and the subsequent accusation of the murder of Her child, is well documented and most people are familiar with Rhiannon from this tale. [Click here to read Her tale].

“Rhiannon” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Patricia Monaghan comments: “What can one expect of a Goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on Her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, She was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on Her back; thus She was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when Her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped Goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of joy and oblivion, a Goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell” (p. 266 – 267).

“Rhiannon” by Helena Nelson-Reed

“In Her guise as a death Goddess, Rhiannon could sing sweetly enough to lure all those in hearing to their deaths, and therefore She may be related to Germanic stories of lake and river faeries who sing seductively to lure sailors and fishermen to their doom. Her white horse images also link Her to Epona, and many scholars feel they are one and the same, or at least are derived from the same archetypal roots.

In today’s magick and ritual, Rhiannon can be called upon to aid you in overcoming enemies, exercising patience, working magick, moon rituals, and enhancing dream work.” [2]

“Call upon Rhiannon to bless rites of fertility, sex magick, prosperity and dream work. Work with Her to enhance divination skills, overcome enemies, develop patience, and to gain self confidence. She is most definitely a Fae that every woman can relate to on some level. Her perserverance and will is an example of what we as women are, have been, and will continue to be for millennia to come. Solid, unwavering beauty and strength, like Mother Earth below our feet.” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS:

General: Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.

Animals: Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies), canaries and other songbirds,hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants: Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia, cedar and pine trees [evergreens], bayberry, sage and rosemary,[jasmine, any white flower]

Perfumes/Scents: Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender, narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals: Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone, crystal, quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colors: Dark green, maroon, gold, silver, rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.   [4]

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Animals and fertility

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Suitable Offerings: Music

Associated Planet: Moon    [5]

Moon Phase: Waning

Aspects: Leadership, movement, change, death, fertility, crisis, magic for women, protection, strength and truth in adversity, dreams

Wheel of the Year: Willow Moon (Saille): April 15 – May 12

Ivy Moon (Gort): September 30 – October 27   [6]

 

 

Great Goddess, help me remember that times of sorrow are opportunities for the greatest growth.  Rhiannon, I affirm that I have the courage to overcome my doubts and fears.

And here’s a great 13 minute video on Goddess Rhiannon, The Great Queen

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Rhiannon“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Within the Sacred Mists, “The Celtic Tradition of Witches and Wiccans“.

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

PaganNews.com, “Rhiannon“.

 

 

Rhiannon – Divine Queen

Saille, Rowen. Order of the White Moon, “Rhiannon: Great Queen of the Celts“.

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, R. Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who is Goddess Rhiannon?

Epona.net, “Later Influences of Epona“.

Goddessgift.com, “Activities to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Meditations to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess“.

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Rhiannon“.

The Mabinogion, “Rhiannon“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, “Mórrígan” (p. 339 – 340)

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Rhiannon, A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigatona: Great Queen“.

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Rhiannon“.

Shaw, Judith. Feminismandreligion.com, “Rhiannon, Goddess of Birds and Horses“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Rhiannon“.

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

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Rhiannon“.

So, I’m very thankful – it’s been a very successful week, both spiritually and mundanely…well, except for this morning when I had to be up at 4:30AM to drive my husband to the airport (Army stuff).  But, then again, I’m thankful for that now that I think about it because this school he is going to and the orders we will receive when he completes it has stopped him from being deployed to Afghanistan…so yes, I can say that I’m thankful for that.

Anyways, spiritually – I’ve made a very long-awaited connection with Epona.  As I’ve stated in comments under my Epona entry, I’ve always loved and had a strong connection with horses.  Equine Science was my first college major until I’d gotten into a car accident on my way to college one early icy morning on my way to the horse barn to groom and take care of the horse that I was responsible for, Briar.  Despite having to be up at 5AM every morning to get to the horse barn, it was well worth it to me as I loved EVERYTHING about it.  I loved the smells, the sounds of the horses whinnying and snorting, and most especially grooming her.  That was when I was at peace in my “happy place” – spending that one on one time with her rubbing, brushing and picking hooves.  I also loved riding – the freedom from all my cares that came with it was amazing…

“Rhiannon” by Amanda Walsh

In my younger days, when confronted, being “cut down” or if someone tried to discourage me from doing something I had set my mind to, I remember “feeling” like a wild horse saying, “I will not be broken!”  Stubborn…very stubborn (if truth be told, I still am).  I’ve felt a faint connection with Epona for several years now; with Her name popping into my head for no apparent reason and calling out to Her when feeling weak, hurt and vulnerable.  For the past few weeks, I’ve been feeling Her energy grow stronger and stronger as She made Her way into my life and really made Her presence known.  Perhaps that began when during our last Druid study group several weeks ago, I pulled the Horse card from the Druid Animal Oracle deck after focusing on the question, “What do I need to focus on today?”  I’ve also felt a spark with Rigantona and Rhiannon, even Macha; but more so with Epona.  Maybe because Her energy just feels so much “older” and primal to me than Rhiannon, Rigantona and Macha.

“Epona the Horse Goddess” by Gene Avery North

It’s been extremely healing, opening up a whole new sense of deeper love, understanding, forgiveness and acceptance that I was afraid that I’d never come to know.  I had a friend a long time ago that said, “Pony medicine is good medicine – healing medicine,” and as far as I’m concerned, he was right on the money!  I’m not sure what finally sealed the deal completed this connection – perhaps when it was when I was riding one of the horses with my daughter at the Renaissance Festival last Sunday – I have no idea.  All I know is that She’s here and I’m so thankful for Her warm, loving and peaceful presence I feel when my anger or feelings of discontent and frustration flare up.  I can “see” Her: a milk-white mare with big soft brown eyes just staring at me and feel Her comforting warmth.

I’ve also decided to try to work with Her as a Gatekeeper, which I understand is usually a male deity.  However, I feel She would make a perfect Gatekeeper as She is associated with protection, keys, the Otherworld and Underworld, being a psychopomptravel, shape-shifting, dreams, the Feminine and magic – just to name a few of Her associations.  As I have more of a Dianic nature, it just feels right.

“Green Goddess of Beltane” by ArwensGrace

I’ve thought a lot about the Goddesses that I feel connected to and noticed a pattern.  First off, Brighid – Celtic, who goes by many names depending on the region or tribe you’re looking at (i.e. Brìde in Scotland, Brigindū in GaulBrigantia in Great Britain, etc.).  Nemetona – Celtic, worshiped in eastern Gaul.  Sulis – Celtic, another Gaulish Goddess worshiped at the thermal spring of Bath (with associations with Brighid).  And now Epona – another Gaulish Goddess worshiped throughout the Celtic and even Roman world.  I also have an interest in Artio a Celtic/Gaulish bear Goddess, worshiped notably at Bern (Switzerland) and Abnoba, another Gaulish Goddess who was worshipped in the Black Forest and surrounding areas with connections to Diana (another favorite Goddess of mine).  Do you see a pattern?  They’re all Celtic Goddesses, yes, but more specifically, they’re all Gaulish.  I think I’ve found my pantheon 🙂

This kind of surprised me as I had expected it to be more of an Irish pantheon, but the feeling of connectedness just isn’t as strong as it is with the Gaulish pantheon.  Perhaps because of my Ancestors?  I will freely admit that yes, I am a mutt – Sicilian, Polish and Czechoslovakian on my father’s side and Irish, German, Polish, English, French and Dutch on my mother’s side.  Now, I know that there are people who say that ancestry doesn’t have too much of an influence on what deities call to you, and I agree with that; however, I feel that sometimes, it does.

Onto a different topic now…

I’ve just now discovered a very yummy and acceptable offering to the Shining Ones – Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey.  It caught my eye one day as I was walking through the PX looking for a bottle of whiskey to use for my offerings, especially after our very successful garage sale we’ve been running all this past week.  I felt a collective acceptance from the Shining Ones as we gave offerings of thanks for our blessings we had received.

That then inspired my husband…mead making.  Eventually, when he retires from the military, we would really like to live a self-sustainable life.  My aunt and uncle are beekeepers and sell their own honey.  I one day want to learn this skill and sell honey and make soaps and skincare products.  My husband sees an opportunity to make and sell mead as well.  Perhaps some Divine Inspiration?  🙂  Who knows…we’ll see where this dream takes us…

Goddess Rigantona

“Rhiannon” by Hrana Janto

“Rigantona’s themes are sports, excellence, magic, fertility, movement and travel. Her symbols are horses, the moon, white items and birds.  A Roman/Italic form of Rhiannon, this Goddess travels the earth on a swift white horse, a lunar symbol, sweeping us up to travel along and get everything in our lives moving! Stories portray Rigantona in the company of powerful magical birds and She also represents fertility.

In Italy, people attend the Palio Festival, a horse race that started in the 13th century and has continued ever since as a time to show physical skill and cunning. It’s a perfect place for Rigantona to shine. Any type of physical activity that you excel in will please Rigantona today and encourage Her motivational energy in your efforts. Get out and take a brisk walk, swim, rollerblade. As you move, visualize yourself atop a white horse, the Goddess’s symbol, approaching an image of a specific goal. All the energy you expend during this activity generates magic for attainment.

If birds fly into your life today, pay attention to the type of bird and its movements, because birds are Rigantona’s messengers. Birds flying to the right are good omens, those moving to the left act as a warning of danger and those flying overhead indicate productivity in whatever you try today. If any of these birds drops a feather, keep it as a gift from the Goddess.”

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

Rhiannon (from the Mabinogion) by Alan Lee

Rigatona (pronounced REE at-on-a) meaning “Great Queen” is thought to be from where the Welsh Goddess Rhiannon’s original name derived.  “Continuation of the name would indicate the existence of a Brythnoic Goddess known as Rīgantona, though no trace of Her (save for the name of Rhiannon) has been left to us. Whether this Rīgantona was an independent deity or represented an aspect of Epona (who is occasionally referred to in the plural and may be a triple-Goddess) may not be known for certain though the surviving tales of Rhiannon would suggest the later interpretation. Thus there may once have been an insular Brythonic deity known as Rīgantona Epona.

Rhiannon’s name is directly cognate with the Irish goddess Mórrígan (which also menans ‘Great Queen’). In terms of attributes, however, Rhiannon is most closely similar to an sapect of the triple-Goddes, Mórrígan known as Macha; a Goddess of war, horses and kingship.” [1]

Rhiannon is a potent symbol of fertility, yet She is also an Otherworld and death Goddess, a bringer of dreams, and a moon deity who is symbolized by a white horse. Her father was Heveydd the Old, and She was married to both Pwyll and Manan. The story of Her marriage to Pwyll, and the subsequent accusation of the murder of Her child, is well documented and most people are familiar with Rhiannon from this tale. [Click here to read Her tale].

“Rhiannon” by Susan Seddon Boulet

Patricia Monaghan comments: “What can one expect of a Goddess of death? Her son disappeared, and the queen was found with blood on Her mouth and cheeks. Accused of murder, She was sentenced to serve as Pwyll’s gatekeeper, bearing visitors to the door on Her back; thus She was symbolically transformed into a horse. All ended happily when Her son was found; Rhiannon had been falsely accused by maids who, terrified at finding the babe absent, had smeared puppy blood on the queen’s face.

Behind this legend is doubtless another, more primitive one in which the death queen actually was guilty of infanticide. This beautiful queen of the night would then, it seems, be identical to the Germanic Mora, the nightmare, the horse-shaped Goddess of terror. But night brings good dreams as well as bad, so Rhiannon was said to be the beautiful Goddess of joy and oblivion, a Goddess of Elysium as well as the queen of hell” (p. 266 – 267).

“Rhiannon” by Jan Hess

“In Her guise as a death Goddess, Rhiannon could sing sweetly enough to lure all those in hearing to their deaths, and therefore She may be related to Germanic stories of lake and river faeries who sing seductively to lure sailors and fishermen to their doom. Her white horse images also link Her to Epona, and many scholars feel they are one and the same, or at least are derived from the same archetypal roots.

In today’s magick and ritual, Rhiannon can be called upon to aid you in overcoming enemies, exercising patience, working magick, moon rituals, and enhancing dream work.” [2]

“Call upon Rhiannon to bless rites of fertility, sex magick, prosperity and dream work. Work with Her to enhance divination skills, overcome enemies, develop patience, and to gain self confidence. She is most definitely a Fae that every woman can relate to on some level. Her perserverance and will is an example of what we as women are, have been, and will continue to be for millennia to come. Solid, unwavering beauty and strength, like Mother Earth below our feet.” [3]

 

ASSOCIATIONS (Rhiannon):

General: Moon, horses, horseshoe, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.

Animals: Horse, badger, frog, dogs (especially puppies), canaries and other songbirds, hummingbirds, and dragons.

Plants: Narcissus and daffodils, leeks, pansies, forsythia, cedar and pine trees [evergreens], bayberry, sage and rosemary,[jasmine, any white flower]

Perfumes/Scents: Sandalwood, neroli, bergamot, lavender, narcissus, and geranium.

Gems and Metals: Gold, silver, cat’s eye, moonstone, crystal, quartz, ruby, red garnet, bloodstone, turquoise, and amethyst.

Colors: Dark green, maroon, gold, silver, rich brown, white, black, charcoal grey, and ruby red.   [4]

Element: Earth

Sphere of Influence: Animals and fertility

Best Day to Work with: Monday

Suitable Offerings: Music

Associated Planet: Moon    [5]

Moon Phase: Waning

Aspects: Leadership, movement, change, death, fertility, crisis, magic for women, protection, strength and truth in adversity, dreams

Wheel of the Year: Willow Moon (Saille): April 15 – May 12

Ivy Moon (Gort): September 30 – October 27   [6]

 

 

 

Great Goddess, help me remember that times of sorrow are opportunities for the greatest growth.  Rhiannon, I affirm that I have the courage to overcome my doubts and fears.

And here’s a great 13 minute video on Goddess Rhiannon, The Great Queen

Sources:

Goddessgift.com, “Goddess Symbols: Rhiannon“.

LadyRavenMoonshadow. Within the Sacred Mists, “The Celtic Tradition of Witches and Wiccans“.

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

Nemeton, The Sacred Grove: Home of the Celtic gods, “Rhiannon, A Cymric and Brythonic Goddess, also known as Rigatona: Great Queen“.

PaganNews.com, “Rhiannon“.

Rhiannon – Divine Queen

Saille, Rowen. Order of the White Moon, “Rhiannon: Great Queen of the Celts“.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Barkemeijer de Wit, R. Celestial Journey Therapy, “Who is Goddess Rhiannon?

Epona.net, “Later Influences of Epona“.

Goddessgift.com, “Activities to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Meditations to Invoke the Goddess Rhiannon“.

Goddessgift.com, “Rhiannon, Celtic Goddess“.

Griffith, Carly. PaganPages.org, “Rhiannon“.

The Mabinogion, “Rhiannon“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore, “Mórrígan” (p. 339 – 340)

Revel, Anita. Reconnect with Your Inner Goddess, “Rhiannon“.

Sisterhood of Avalon, “The Goddesses“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Rhiannon“.

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

Wikipedia, “Epona“.

Wikipedia, “Rhiannon“.

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“.

Dark Moon Dreamin’

"New Moon Goddess" by Montserrat

During the Dark Moon is the time to commune and heal with the Dark Mother or the Crone.  It is a time to dive down deep into the dark abyss within ourselves and deal with that which has wounded us. It’s all part of the great cycle of birth, death and rebirth – it’s how we heal ourselves.  “As a culture and a society, we have been taught to fear the darkness, the unknown and death.  We have forgotten the purpose of the Dark Phase and have no idea how to navigate its terrain.  We are consumed with fear, panic and anxiety  when we think about physical death of the body, our planet, a relationship, a way of life, an addiction, an identity or even a belief system.  Because of our  lack of understanding of such times and lacking the proper guidance in order to deal with them as they arise, we end up more dependent on chemical addictions or engage in self abusive behaviors to deal with the feelings of grief, depression, anxiety, and anger” (George, Demetra, Mysteries of the Dark Moon, p. 266).

As the Goddess stirs and awakens from Her long slumber, we are finally being given the opportunity to reclaim all of Her, both light and dark aspects and everything in-between.  The Dark Goddess is not to be rejected, denied or feared.  She is to be acknowledged, respected and listened to – for its Her knowledge and wisdom that guided our ancestors through the dark times and it is Her wisdom and guidance that will guide us through ours to come, as individuals, societies and as a species.

Only within the last century as the Goddess has slowly stirred from Her Dark Phase have we had incredible breakthroughs in realizing the power of the mind.  As Demetra George has pointed out, it is thanks to people like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung (a personal favorite of mine) that we have been able to comprehend the workings of the unconscious and our Shadow Selves (p. 276).  Many therapeutic techniques have been “discovered” in Eastern philosophy and medicine as well as Aboriginal shamanic teachings.  Techniques, such as dream analysis, allows people to explore the depths of the unconscious and understand  the workings and wisdom of the Shadow Self and the Dark Mother, especially when dealing with nigthmares.

"Behold, The Night Mare" by Zephyri

“Nightmares represent our innermost fears.  They suggest that we have emotional fears and issues that need to be confronted.  The monsters and other terrifying and disturbing images that haunt these disturbing dreams are thought to come from a universally shared mythology recognized by all cultures.  The word ‘nightmare’ itself comes from Gaelic mythology – the night ‘mare’ is the horse Goddess Rhiannon, and connected with the Underworld, dreams and the moon.

Nightmares occur very frequently in childhood as children struggle more than adults to deal with powerful emotions, such as rage and other strong emotions.  During the night, children’s vivid imaginations recreate these feelings as forceful dream images.  Children have difficulty coping with nightmares because they have trouble differentiating between dreams and reality.  A child’s mind has limited reasoning capacity as it is still developing.  This affects their perception of the world and can cause inner conflict.  If left unresolved, these childhood fears can cause very muddled thoughts and feelings that linger into adulthood.  At any time, an incident could trigger this old memory, reeling the psyche of the adult into a nightmare scenario.

"Sleep-walking" by Leah Praytor

It is important to note that bad dreams can have physical causes as well as mental ones.  If your body comes under stress, due to high temperature for example, it can give rise to hallucinations as you sleep.  Nightmares can even induce sleepwalking by increasing the flow of adrenaline and producing the “fight or flight” response in the sleeper (I suffered chronic sleepwalking during Basic Training and through my early years while on Active Duty).  Hormonal fluctuations too can have an effect on our dreams.

Hormonal changes upset the balance of the body’s chemistry and in a dream, this upheaval is encoded through disturbing scenes.

Some psychologists believe that people who have nightmares have not fully integrated or understood physical sensations in relation to real-life situations.  Teenagers often have intense dreams reflective of the emerging sexual drives they have difficulty translating when awake.

Anyone at anytime could experience an inexplicable trauma which can resurface without warning.  These could be forgotten childhood traumas reawakened in adulthood.  They could be experiences of going to war. Recurring nightmares are caused by unresolved emotional issues that are deeply entrenched in the sleeper’s mind.  An entire dream can recur, which is identical each time or disguised using different dream symbols.  Its purpose is to get our attention…” (Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul, Interpreting Your Dreams).

Through journeying to the Underworld to the Dark Mother, we can uncover the meaning of such dreams.  There are methods you can use to confront and gain insight from your nightmares.  As Demetra George states, “You need to cross the logical threshold of the consciousness and travel across a terrain of your psyche that is normally hidden from your conscious awareness and one which we cannot comprehend with our conscious mind.  The dark sphere of the human psyche contains all that lies beneath the surface of consciousness” (p. 279).

"Nightmare 1" by eliXile

The following is summary, found in Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul – “Interpreting Your Dreams”.  These are questions to ask yourself to assist you in decoding your dreams.  First, look at the imagery of the dream.  The imagery of dreams can be interpreted in two different ways: Literal – information found in your dreams is seen to have a direct parallel to your everyday life; and Symbolic – information in dreams is “coded” in an unusual way. What was the theme and time?  The time you had the dream indicates how relevant  it is to the everyday world.  The nearer to the waking hour, the more accurately the events reflect problems in your waking life.

Was it light and spacious or dark and claustrophobic?  Where did the dream take place?  On land? At sea? Water represents emotions, land represents money and self-worth.  Air relates to the intellect.  To find yourself underground suggests a search for lost treasure.

What happened?  Where did it happen?  Is it a place you know from the past or is it unknown?  This can give you clues about personal insecurity or issues about your childhood or present circumstances.  Were you a participant in the dream or were you viewing form afar?  This will tell you how intimately you are involved in the situation in the real world.

What was the form you took in this dream?  Were you someone who exhibited unwanted or underdeveloped traits?  This would be your Shadow Personality manifesting.  What stage of life where you at in your dream?  Were you male or female?  Dreaming of being the opposite sex may indicate an imbalance of the opposite sex’s qualities. Did you take the form of an animal?  Perhaps you you’re struggling with your so-called “animal instincts” or baser instincts.

Who was in your dream?  Were they people you recognized or were they strangers? Family, friends and acquaintances may highlight a particular deficiency within your own character, mirroring back and making you aware of an unfavorable trait.  Were there any animals?  Did they remind you of anyone you know?  Often animals stand in as representatives for a situation or a person.  In this way, our subconscious can explore our true feelings about a person or event without interference form everyday prejudices.

"Is This a Nightmare?" by XxshadowxphobiaxX

What were the colors of certain objects in your dream?  What was the mood of the dream?  Dream situations in which you feel scared, tense or fearful are often reflections of a dangerous or overwhelming situation that is brewing around you.  Such sinister moods can be revealing of great anxieties you are experiencing in real life.  Threatening moods in your dream can be illustrated in the dreamscape as nighttime scenes or overcast skies.  Alternatively, there may be just be an underlying feeling of impending doom.  Blurred or hidden details in a dream suggest that you have confused feelings which, if unheeded, could lead to many troubles and worries in business.  If the truth is hidden in your dream, this may be indicated by a cloudy atmosphere in your mind.

Look at the symbols in your dreams and try to examine what, if any, are linked with a childhood situation or just a sense of helplessness.  Your dream could also be caused by a sense of guilt or disgust of being in a situation in which you did not want to participate.  Ask yourself, were you physically, mentally or emotionally terrorized?

If you’re not already keeping a dream diary, start one NOW! A dream diary is like any other collection of information that is gathered and put into order.  It builds up into a reference of information about your personal responses to your own life experiences.  Keeping a dream diary helps you understand yourself, enabling you to make informed decisions about how to fulfill life’s journey.  By keeping a dream diary, you are putting snippets of the jigsaw puzzle that represents your life into a book so that you can piece them together in order to help you heal.

Note the date, time of awaking, main theme, characters and objects, action, atmosphere, special comments, previous history and real-life connections.  Note connections between the main characters in the dream; the significance of characters and previous history with the characters; dream atmosphere and the message if one was given. (Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Soul, Interpreting Your Dreams)

"Ereshkigal" by kundrys-inner-world

As Demetra George makes it quite clear, “the home of the soul, the Dark Phase  is the place where we hold the residual memories of the sum or our past, in this and previous lifetimes. Here, we find the wounds of the soul that are crying out to be healed.  It is here where we hold our repressed traumatic memories and rejected aspects of our selves.” (p. 279).  Nightmares have a constructive purpose and may point the way towards resolving a difficult situation from our past. Our passage through the Dark Phase offers us the opportunity to heal these wounds, and in the process we can discover the hidden wealth of the unconscious.  It is only going into the Dark Phase of inner space and coming to peace with our memories and resolving our issues that a way opens towards healing and the nightmares stop. During this essential healing process, we can discover who we truly are and come to know the Dark Mother and the lessons She has to teach us.

Sources:

Enhancing Your Mind, Body and Spirit, “Interpreting Your Dreams”. International Masters Publishers

George, Demetra. Mysteries of the Dark Moon: The Healing Power of the Dark Goddess.  HarperSanFrancisco, 1992.

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