Tag Archive: uffington white horse


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“.

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“.

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