I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
The Divine Mare
Epona is a Celtic goddess and was venerated in Gaul. In Gallo-Roman religion, she was the goddess of horses, ponies, donkeys and mules. Her name means Divine Mare in Gaulish. She is also the only Celtic goddess that was venerated in Ancient Rome itself. In her role as Divine Mare, she can also be seen as a parallel to the Welsh horse goddess Rhiannon.
Epona is often depicted feeding mares and foals from a cornucopia or basket. As not much of her mythology has survived, the most important sources of information are her depictions and statues. She is either shown sitting or riding on a white horse or standing or sitting between two horses. But apart from this, she is also associated with dogs, geese, raven and birds who are giving her protection. Foods and plants that are sacred to her are oats, roses, apples and carrots; her shrines were often decorated with roses.
“Sculptures of Epona fall into five types, as distinguished by Benoît: riding, standing or seated before a horse, standing or seated between two horses, a tamer of horses in the manner of potnia theron and the symbolic mare and foal. In the Equestrian type, common in Gaul, she is depicted sitting side-saddle on a horse or (rarely) lying on one; in the Imperial type (more common outside Gaul) she sits on a throne flanked by two or more horses or foals. In distant Dacia, she is represented on a stela (now at the Szépmüvézeti Museum, Budapest) in the format of Cybele, seated frontally on a throne with her hands on the necks of her paired animals: her horses are substitutions for Cybele's lions.”
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Often, she is often shown with keys which links her to the Underworld and the dream world. Her horses are her messengers in this role. They carry the messages from the spirit world to the realm of humanity.
Epona, being a Horse Goddess, a divine mare, and also holding a cornucopia shows her to be a goddess of fertility as well. Unlike other Celtic deities, which were usually associated with specific locations, Epona’s fame and worship is unrivalled, as being a horse goddess which is by rights always moving, is not tied to a particular place. Horses were very important animals in the antique, as they were important in farming, travel and warfare alike.
It is no small wonder that there have even been (mainly Latin) inscriptions found dedicated to her veneration. One is particularly interesting, found in Mainz Germany (which isn’t too far from where I live) and was written by a Syrian who had probably come there with the Roman army. But also Germanic tribes and many others worshipped Epona for her associations with horses and fertility alike.
Epona, in feeding her horses, is the symbol of motherly love and abundance. She shows you that Nature (Divine Energy/God) always provides. She also symbolises the energy of deep meditation and sleep, the dream space, which can bring you many answers to questions your waking conscious mind may not grasp. Visualise yourself riding through the mists of the dreamworld or Underworld and ask your unconscious mind to reveal the answers to your questions and solutions to any challenges you are encountering.
Also, keep a dream journal beside your bed, so you can write everything down as soon as you wake up, as dreams often elude you when waiting until fully awake. When you are travelling, know that you are protected and cared for, no matter where you go. But also make sure, you are well prepared.