Finding names

Deity, Personal practice No Comments »

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

Research No Comments »

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: USA poster:…

Posted by Human Odyssey on Monday, September 29, 2014

New issue of Air n-Aithesc

Personal practice, Research, Writing No Comments »

Air n’Aithesc: Our Message has a new issue out! We have an excellent selection of essays, poetry, and reviews. Information on this issue from Facebook page for Air n-Aithesc lists three book reviews: The Names Upon The Harp: Irish Myths and Legends by Blackbird O’Connell; The Gaelic Finn Tradition by Maya St.Clair; and Celtic Chiefdom, Celtic State by Finnchuill.

And a quote from my article, Building a Personal Relationship with Deity:

Going before Her altar, I can sense Her presence behind me, around me, in me. Like the warmth of hands pressing on my shoulders: She is there with me both in Her temple and outside. She is the strength and anchor; the calm in the storm, the mare who guides the herd to safety.

To read more, please check out the second issue of Air n-Aithesc


Happy birthday, Grey Cat

Mentors No Comments »

A Facebook email this morning included the usual list of friends’ impending birthdays, including one for my mentor Grey Cat, who passed away two years ago. It is a strange feeling seeing someone’s name and picture smiling at you from a birthday list. For a moment, I saw Cat’s picture smiling and I reached for my phone to call. Her number is still in my Contacts list.

I stopped, caught myself. Felt the subtle swirl of emotions as I remembered the memorial service two years ago. Right about that time, a friend of mine messaged me with a note that it was Cat’s birthday. He was upset too. We spent part of the day talking about Cat and what had happened since she had passed.

I like to think that Cat would be happy with the paths that my friend and I are on. We’ve used what we learned from her as stepping stones on our own paths. We’ve taught others along the way when appropriate. In our own ways, we have honored her memory through what we are currently doing.

We both resigned from NorthWind, the tradition that Grey Cat founded, because it was no longer our home and because nothing had been happening in the group for months. Even when my friend and I had tried to encourage activities to rebuild the community of initiates, we met with resistance and disinterest. We tried for a year after Cat died to get things moving and nothing happened.

Some times the best option is to vote with your feet instead of putting energy into activities that go ignored. My friend and I both voted with our feet, a year apart. Not one person commented upon my resignation letter on the public mailing list when I resigned this past March. I had hoped for something, even a “keep in touch” from people I had known for almost 30 years.

Silence some times speaks volumes.

I miss Cat a lot at times like this. I miss the friendships and community I always found at her place within the Trad.

So many things passed away with her.

New magazine Air n-Aithesc

Deity, Research, Writing No Comments »

Here is a happy announcement! The first issue of Air n-Aithesc(which means “Our Message”) went live on February 11th! Here’s the blurb from the journal’s web site explaining the purpose:

Air n-Aithesc: Our Message is a peer-reviewed magazine that hopes to offer well researched material for Celtic Reconstructionists and others who value the role of academics as much as they value the role of the spiritual in their practice.

The magazine’s main aim is to offer as many resources as possible, from research articles to in depth explorations of how personal experiences fit in with the sources,  book reviews, and much more.


I was incredibly honored to be included a staff member and as a contributor for this issue. The other committee members and contributors are people I greatly respect. It is an honor to be amongst such fine company.

What’s in the first issue? Lots of goodies! Including an article on Epona by yours truly. It was an amazing experience to write it. (Processing the research will be another post, I think.)

Wander on over to HP MagCloud and take a sneak peek. Maybe buy a digital or hard copy and support a fine cause.

You can also follow the journal on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy Eponalia!

Horses 2 Comments »

Happy Eponalia! Every year I try to do something on December 18th to honor Epona. Whether it’s fixing a special meal, leaving offerings on the altar, or going out to the barn to visit with the mares, this day is my major holiday of the year.

To celebrate Her feast day, I had a friend over and we cooked several recipes we found online and in the book Classical Living. We made cucumeres, soft boiled eggs with pine nut sauce, shrimp with scallions, and an incredible apple cake (from the book Classical Living). This was my friend’s first time celebrating Eponalia. We cooked the meal together and talked about deity, horses, and how the relationship with each is similar. After dinner, we went to my altar and lit incense as an offering.

It was wonderful evening. I’ll have to find the apple cake recipe and post it here. It was scrumptious.


Quick review of “Lore of the Sacred Horse” by Marion Davies

Research No Comments »

Marion Davies’ book Lore of the Sacred Horse lacks two key things: citations and citations. I reviewed material that I know well (specifically about Epona) and found that key facts were missing. For example, Davies states on page 23-34, that Epona “had a feast day in the Roman calendar, on the 18th December. Epona was the only Celtic deity to be so honoured by the Romans.”[3]

This first sentence is partially true. Epona did have a feast day attributed to December 18 but it wasn’t from *the* Roman calendar. The feast day was from a regional calendar inscription from Guidizzolo in Northern Italy (which would have been in Gallia Cisalpina).[1,2]  Because this is the only example of Epona being mentioned in a fasti, wouldn’t that indicate that this marks a local celebration (instead of being part of the larger religio Romana)?[4]

Unfortunately, this kind of incomplete information is prevalent through the book. Readers are asked to trust Davies’ information and are not provided any way of continuing their research through citations. I didn’t see other authors mentioned in the text either.

Assuming that the other sections of the book are written in the same way as the information about Epona, don’t trust this book as a source. That doesn’t mean there aren’t good tidbits. You can always learn something from a book, even if it is an example of how not to present research. It is obvious that Davies did research for this book. It’s just a shame that the author did not include any evidence of it.


  1. Boucher, Stéphanie (1984). L’inscription d’Entrains CIL XIII, 2903 et l’apparition du culte d’Epona en Gaule au I siècle de notre ère. Hommages à Lucien Lerat. W. H. Paris, Les Belles Lettres: 131-134.
  2. See the inscriptions page at
  3. Davis, Marion (1995). Lore of the Sacred Horse. Capall Bann Publishing. pp. 23-24, 36, 60-1, 70, 127.
  4. “Epona in the Fasti.” (2004) Forum discussion on Ancient Worlds between Nantonos Aedui and Moravius Horatius.

Cabyll Ushtey

Processing No Comments »

A stone skipped across water
leaves ripples
aquatic hoofprints
spreading like a diffusion of memories
ending abruptly in a beard of lily pads
seated with a different type of frog


Summer of the Mares

Deity, Horses, Processing 2 Comments »

My calf injury seems to be a way of slowing me down — as if to say, hey you need to look at this other thing… Instead of always being the one putting out energy, I should let my own energy be replenished by the horses

Suddenly I find myself with five mares to play with. So this summer, my horses are my teachers. I have these gifts in the pastures and they are my opportunity to learn more.

I started reading again. I’m several chapters into Zen Mind, Zen Horse. It is so nice to feel excited about reading and learning and knowing I have this great adventure awaiting me this summer.

This summer of the Mares.

Insights when gimpy

Deity, Horses, Processing No Comments »

I had a very interesting discussion with the barn owner last night. I explained how I felt about teaching and that I felt conflicted because I want my former students to have the training they deserve (even if I’m really not the right person to teach them any more).

The barn owner kept me company while I was treating my mare’s back for the nasty case of rain rot she had. Because I injured my calf a few weeks back, I was gimping around and my poor mare was cringing from me washing her back.

The barn owner noted that she thought that there was a connection between my calf injury (which inhibits my mobility and causes me to slow down), what was happening with the horses (which means I can’t ride or do much with them), and what was happening in NorthWind.

She said that she felt that I needed to focus on the horses. I suddenly have Mom’s mares at the barn plus my own. And that I needed to enjoy the energy of my horses and let them replenish me.

I can be so stubborn some times that I don’t always hear the message She is giving me. It takes talking to someone and hearing another perspective for the light to click on.

And the light did click on in a big way. I’ve had this large stack of books to read but haven’t started reading. It was as if I was blocked from reading, like I didn’t want to take on another project.

It’s coming together for me now. I am blessed with three of my own mares and two additional gorgeous mares to learn from this summer.

By the end of the evening at the barn, I hadn’t worked any of my girls, I had only tended to their rain rot and talked with a friend. I felt refreshed and like a weight had been lifted.

That night, I read several chapters in Zen Mind, Zen Horse.