The Goddesses Ereshkigal and Epona and Their Help in My Grief by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteIn November, my paternal grandmother passed. She was five days away from her 93rd birthday. As I was/am going through the grieving process, I started to actively recall all the studies I have done regarding death and grieving practices across the globe and throughout the centuries. Mixed with the grieving process was constructing a January term class called “Goddesses Around the World.” As I marked each culture, religion, and goddesses we would be studying I kept coming back to an interesting fact. In many ancient cultures, it was the divine feminine who oversaw death, not only at times as the bringer of death but more importantly, as the guardian of the dead, the protector of all those that have gone from the earthly realm. Continue reading “The Goddesses Ereshkigal and Epona and Their Help in My Grief by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Celebrating Epona by Mary Sharratt





The following is a guest post by Mary Sharratt’s Welsh mare, Miss Boo aka Queen Boudicca


The ancient Romans and Gauls knew something that many modern day humans have forgotten. Mares are divine.

The worship of Epona was popular throughout the Roman Empire. Epona was a Gaulish deity whose name means “divine mare” or “she who is like a mare.” Epona was the the only Celtic divinity to receive her own official feast day in the Roman Calendar: Eponalia, December 18, was celebrated on the second day of Saturnalia, the Roman midwinter celebration (December 17 to December 23). But as far as we horses are concerned, every day is Epona’s Day! Go out and hug a horse right now!

The patron deity of horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules, Epona also protected those who looked after equines or worked with them. Thus she was beloved of the Roman cavalry. Epona’s worship stretched from Roman Britain, across Gaul and Germania to Spain, Rome, and Eastern Europe. Not only did she have a temple in Rome and her own holiday, but there were shrines to her in almost every stable. Her altars were adorned with fresh roses. Horses and donkeys were adorned with roses for her processions.

Some modern humans are inspired by these ancient traditions. At midsummer, my human ties roses in my beautiful mane when we ride out together.


In her iconography, Epona is often depicted as a majestic woman riding side saddle, always travelling from left to right. In the image at the top of the page, “Epona from Kastel,” she is riding and carrying a round fruit or loaf. Epona is associated with abundance, fertility, and sovereignty.

A votive image from Budapest shows Epona as a great sovereign lady seated between two horses who feed from her lap.


In the Middle Ages, Epona’s archetype lived on in literary figures such as Rhiannon in the Mabinogian.

Epona was a nurturing mother figure, a giver of abundance and plenty. But what does this mean for us today? Anyone who has spent any time around us horses knows that we are capable of great empathy. Any person who is sad or depressed should spend some time just quietly grooming horses and being with them, and the healing will unfold. When my human is upset, I know right away and I’m especially gentle with her and give her lots of tender snuffles. I also love children and am extra careful around them. Here’s a picture of me with one of my little human friends.



People have reported great success using horses to treat autistic children and adults. Even people suffering from eating disorders can heal if they spend time with equines. Horses have huge hearts. Especially mares! We’re hard-wired to nurture.

Heartland Girls’ Ranch in Minnesota offers equine therapy to help heal sex-trafficked girls. Each girl is matched with a horse that she cares for and this partnership helps build back her sense of trust and self-worth.

The Romans celebrated Eponalia by giving every horse, donkey, and mule a day of rest. Modern humans who keep horses can observe this by giving their horses a day off and by offering them apples, which are sacred to Epona. Humans can also honour Epona by donating to equine charities, to Heartland Ranch, or your local horse rescue centre.

What would human civilization look like had there not been a millennia-long partnership between humans and equines? Have a heart for the horses who have carried their humans so far and so faithfully.


Epona’s Day: The Gifts of Midwinter by Caitlin Matthews

Heartland Girls’ Ranch

Miss Boo aka Queen Boudicca is a Welsh mare who lives in the Pendle region of Lancashire. A hereditary Welsh trad witch in the most archetypal sense of the word, Miss Boo lives in deep communion with the Earth and is a keeper of ancestral wisdom. Miss Boo is a committed feminist, and she and her herd preserve an ancient matriarchal social structure unchanged since the dawn of their species. Don’t mess with chestnut mares! She is the proud owner of the author, Mary Sharratt. All royalties from Mary’s book sales will go to keeping Miss Boo in the style to which she has become accustomed. Visit her human’s website.


Epona – Goddess of the Land by Deanne Quarrie

celtic-horseDeanne QuarrieThis week I bought a pendant that caught my attention.  It is Celtic knot work of horses, meant to represent Epona.  This triggered my interest in Epona and off I went to learn more.

Epona is a goddess from Gaul.  Sadly, any information about her from those early days of worship are lost to us. This is the case of the most ancient deities from that region and time in history. It is thought that she was picked up in Gaul by the conscripted soldiers of the Roman Army who saw a depiction of her upon her horse and they adopted her. Since this army rode across the land on horseback, she was the perfect deity to pay homage to and so, she traveled with them. She soon made it to Rome and is one of only a few deities, not originally Roman, to be worshiped in the Roman Empire. Continue reading “Epona – Goddess of the Land by Deanne Quarrie”

Epona, Celtic Horse Goddess by Judith Shaw

judith shaw photoEpona, Celtic Horse Goddess was worshipped by the Gauls (the Celtic French). Her worship spread to Britain and Rome from Western Europe. Hundreds of statues and shrines dating from between the first and third centuries CE have been found in France alone.

Today we can understand Epona mainly from her images, as few stories of her have survived.  She is often shown either riding a white horse side saddle or standing or sitting between two horses.  Many images show her feeding mares and foals from a cornucopia or a basket of fruit.

Epona, Celtic Horse Goddess Continue reading “Epona, Celtic Horse Goddess by Judith Shaw”

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