New book about Epona

Avalonia Press published Epone: Hidden Goddess of the Celts by P.D. Mackenzie Cook. I’ve received my copy and am looking forward to reading it. The initial flip through of the book is promising. The bibliography has many of the primary sources I’ve used in my own research.

The description of the book on the publisher’s site says, in part:

“Epona: Hidden Goddess of the Celts reflects the importance of gender in ancient religion, and the author explores the primacy of the Feminine through Epona’s sovereignty as Horse Goddess among the Celts; her identity as “Mistress of Animals” in her love affairs and working relationships, and the surprising role she apparently played in the ancient Greek and Roman Mysteries.

“P.D. Mackenzie Cook’s unique study of Epona positions her in a broad cross-cultural context. The story he presents is at the same time historical, speculative, and deeply personal – at once a scholarly survey, intriguing detective story, and spiritual message to be taken to heart. The author offers fresh and original perspectives on Epona’s historical origins and her “birth” in human form. He explores her early presence in southern Italy; investigates her probable identity as “Macha” in Ireland and “Rhiannon” in Wales as well as her indirect influences on the ideals of chivalry and courtly love in the Middle Ages. We are then introduced to Epona’s possible presence in a set of mysterious caves in the New World, and finally to her rediscovery by present-day equestrians, and in the personal lives and accounts of modern priestesses and men devoted to her.”

Help Gleann and Grainne

My friend Saigh has had a lot of bad luck this year. She lost one of her dear pets and shortly after two more of her dogs were diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Medical tests are expensive, whether they are for people or for pets. It’s heart-wrenching when you don’t have the funds to do the tests that your loved ones, whether human or fur-covered, need.

Powered by FundRazr

If you can, please consider helping Saigh out.

Book of Pagan Prayers

prayer_book_coverMaya St.Clair of Air n’Aithesc has compiled An Leabhar Urnaí: A Book of Celtic Reconstructionist Friendly Prayers. Epona has two prayers in the book, including one by written by me to use before riding.

Here is the summary of the book from the AnA web site:

An Leabhar Urnaí: A Book of Celtic Reconstructionist Friendly Prayers was inspired by Ceisiwr Serith’s books and A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book.

This book offers prayers and invocations in Old Irish, and Gaulish, with their English translations; as well as prayers in English to Welsh, Irish and Gaulish Gods. The authors and editor also took the time to add a little information on the Gods they pray to and the reasons behind writing their prayers or invocations.

New issue of Air n’Aithesc!

Air n'Aithesc vol 3 issue 1 The Imbolc 2016 issue of Air n’Aithesc is now available in ebook and print versions from MagCloud. In this issue, I have an article on how to succeed at your research projects and not get lost in the weeds.

I finally ordered print copies of the magazine. The quality is excellent for a print-on-demand work. The paper is good quality. Ink doesn’t smudge or smear. Images are crisp. It’s something special to see something you wrote in a printed copy, instead of an ebook.

Rabbit hole example

I’m working on an article on research methods. The current section discusses scope and discipline when doing research with the key point being to resist the rabbit holes. Don’t go off on that tangent! I wrote an example that had me snickering but was far too specific for the target audience. Here is my example.

For example, were any of the horses on Epona artifacts painted? One site equates Epona with Rhiannon, and since she had a gray horse then Epona must also have had a gray horse. Rhiannon also rode a horse, but she’s from a later time period and in Wales. There is a related link to the Welsh Mari Llywd traditions around Christmas as well as hobby horses. And they could all possibly related back to Epona, but it really isn’t answering the question of whether or not any of the equids depicted with Epona had been painted.

Happy Eponalia!

Happy Eponalia to anyone who celebrates it! May Her day be blessed.

It has been raining constantly here. I’m going out to the barn tomorrow to celebrate. I’m going to pamper the mares, and if the conditions are okay, maybe get in a ride too. Later, I’ll make apple brownies and clean the altar.

Riding and honoring Her

Over the past few years, the way that I honor Epona has evolved from being in front of the altar to being in the saddle. I have focused on having a connection to Her through my connection with horses. Standing in front of my altar, I feel Her strength and calm at the core of my being. That same core has become central to riding and connecting with my horses.

There have been times when I’ve put my foot in the stirrup and known I shouldn’t ride. I’ve felt that nagging anger that rises and spills over for seeming no apparent reason. It means my inner self is in turmoil and I have no business being on a horse. It’s not always a dramatic feeling. Sometimes it’s a little thing, like getting irritated when the halter clip doesn’t come undone or my mare’s tail swats me in the face one too many times.

These are all things that should just roll off and be let go. They shouldn’t nag at me like some three-year-old kid asking for the eight time for some candy at a checkout line.

It’s more than just being centered and grounded. It’s about being fully in the present with my horse. Fully with her and aware. Letting go of what happened at work (or recognizing when I am too wound to let those things go) and enjoying the connection with my girl.

That’s what is at the core of it. Recognizing when the mood is there and we are good to work — both for me and for her. She has days when she’s had that same look in her eye that I get when I just had a crappy day. We do something else on those days. Sometimes we don’t ride. Other times we go on a trail ride, or set up obstacles in the ring and have fun playing with pool noodles.

When you commune with a deity, you don’t force the connection. You ground, center, and let go into the presence of your god(s). It’s like releasing into yourself to connect to the divine by traveling through your perceptions: a reaching in to reach out to Her.

It’s the same with riding. You have to listen to where you are emotionally and physically, and pay the same attention to your horse’s state as well. When you do, then it’s like magic because you work together, you connect and things that seemed more difficult because of poor communication are within reach.

This past year my mare and I have made more progress than we have in the past three years combined. We had a lesson a few weeks back and my girl suddenly started engaging her hindquarters so her impulsion increased. Her trot went from silky smooth to feeling like a bouncing ball.

And I laughed for the sheer joy of feeling her move and how we could work as a team. How we could be connected.

It was a ridden prayer to Her.

Site down briefly

Tomorrow is Eponalia, which had me thinking about things to post here about how I celebrate. I knew I needed to do some site updates on the backend with the new version of WordPress that came out. Opened the URL and received a pesky “Unable to connect to the database” error message. WordPress backend was also down and offered the same message.

I was able to log on to the control panel for the domain and verify that the databases were indeed there and the SQL server was up. I opened a support ticket with the hosting company and then began Googling for answers.

If you ever receive the same type of error message, this article about how to fix the error establishing a database connection does indeed help you resolve the issue.

Re-entering the database password for the database account in the control panel corrected the problem.

Sites back up. And I closed the support ticket.

Finding names

For a long time, I went by the nickname Sena, a Gaulish word I thought meant priestess. Actually, nope, sena means old. Once I realized that, I decided to look for a different name to use that would honor Her. Something with horses, I thought. You know, like the feminine form of machis, the modern Gaulish word for horseman or horse rider.

Instead, I found the name Épasias in a list of ancient Gaulish names that are attested to in historical writings. Épasias is a name for a female follower of Epona.

When I saw the name, I felt that tingling at the back of my neck. Yes, this was the right name.

Map of religions, cults, and myths

Simon Davies of the Human Odyssey FaceBook group created a poster showing the evolution of myths, religions, and cults. It’s an interesting read to peruse.

The Evolutionary Tree of Religion 2.0UK poster: http://bit.ly/ZAQR4x USA poster:…

Posted by Human Odyssey on Monday, September 29, 2014