Epona - by NomeArt
A4 Giclee Art Print on 16 x 12 inch Mounted Board by Nomeart
The Old Gods Collection
Epona – Divine Mare, The Great Mare, protector of horses and honoured by the riders of Albion.
Epona is not only protector of horses, ponies and donkeys and those who work with them, but also for those on long journeys, both physical and spiritual, as she is also a guardian for the shaman as they travel with the spirits. She is also goddess of fertility, sovereinty and the after life.
Although her worship originated with nomadic Celts in Gaul during the Iron Age it extended throughout Continental Europe. Epona was the only Celtic deity venerated in Rome itself and her importance to the Roman cavalry was signified with a shrine in nearly every stable across the Roman Empire. Even the Roman Emperors venerated her, believing her a sovereign goddess bestowing upon them a connection to the land and it’s fertility and there by the right to rule, the same as the chieftains of Gaul and Albion had before them. She is goddess of the tribes.
There are many depictions of Epona across Europe, usually representing her as a woman riding side-saddled on a white horse which was the symbol of purity and often associated with the spirit of the land or connected to the underworld. The goddess was believed to carry souls of those who died, on her horse from the realm of the living to the dead. The goddess was occasionally accompanied by a dog or a foal, or portrayed feeding a foal.
Sometimes she is simply portrayed as a white mare, as is seen with the “Uffinton White Horse” on White Horse hill in England, which is thought to be an Iron Age representation of Epona. Other various incarnations of Epona include Rhiannon in Wales, Macha in Ireland, the cult of Rigatonia in Britain and the Celtic goddess Edain.