Epona to the Gauls this ancient horse goddess is one of the most well-known of all the Celtic gods and goddesses. Epona translates as “divine mare” or “mare goddess”. She is the protector of horses, stables, and horse owners. She is the guardian of agriculture and transportation. In addition, Epona has been associated with birds. Her birds were said to have the ability to put the living to sleep and to rouse the dead. She has also been pictured with cornucopias and baskets filled with fruits, especially apples and thus she has been linked to fertility.
The Festival of Epona is on December 18th. The festival is a Roman celebration, the only celebration by the Romans that honored a Celtic deity. Perceptions of native Celtic goddesses had changed under Roman hegemony: only the names remained the same. As Gaul was Romanized under the early Empire, Epona’s sovereign role evolved into a protector of cavalry.
-Prayer to Epona-
Lady of the fields bless the beasts
that go on hoofed turned paths
brown and white, dun and grey sides
dappled and brindled, spotted and splashed liquid eyed and sweet grass
keep them from the bone breaking death
roses I give thee, like the Romans of old
no more than dust now, no matter how bold You who can sing the living
and make the dead breathe
I ask you to keep
the mare and the foal,
the cow and her calf
from all that would harm
or hinder their path
Arisaema is an artist in Southern California.