1. Meaning of Name: Scholars give various translations of her name, all pretty similar. Olmsted translates it as “Horse Goddess”. Green derives it from the word for horse. Kondratiev translates it as “Great Mare”. Nantonos Aedui, of Epona.net translates it as “Divine Mare” or “She who is like a mare”. Mackillop gives us “Divine Horse” or “Horse Goddess”. 1
  2. Pronunciation: Ep-AWN-aa
  3. Other Names and Epithets: Olmsted gives us Rîganâ, and its Latin equivalent Regina, both meaning “Queen”. More doubtfully, he also gives us Atanta, Dibonia, Dunna, Vovesia, Catona, Epotia, Eponina, and Imona, from his translation of the Rom Inscription. However, this translation is not generally accepted among scholars. Ceisiwr Serith mentions Meduna, a name derived from the Gaulish word for “mead”, as a by-name for Eponâ. And Epona.net also mentions the Latin Regina.2
  4. Interpretatio Romana: No exact equivalent, but Eponâ was herself the subject of official Roman worship from 50 CE onward. 3
  5. Irish Equivalent: Macha. 4
  6. Indo-European Equivalent: Hékwonā, the Indo-European mare, mead, and sovereignty Goddess.5
  7. Realm: Ueronadâ/Upper World Goddess
  8. Iconography: Eponâ is depicted in two main ways – sidesaddle mounted, and seated between two horses. She is also occasionally shown in a cart. When depicted sidesaddle, she is shown wearing a long gown, often with a cloak. She often holds a cornucopia,patera (Roman style offering bowl), or a basket of fruits. She is also often depicted with a dog, a key, a foal, or a mappa (white cloth).6
  9. Significance: Kondratiev identifies her with the Welsh Mari Lwyd, the “Grey Mary/Grey Mare”, a sort of hobby horse who is taken about by mummers during the Christmas season. From this, he interprets her as the Sovereignty Goddess, the Land Goddess, and the mother of the Child of Light – Maponus, in his view. He identifies her with the winter, but also sees her as a Goddess of fertility and plenty. 7 Ceisiwr Serith sees her indo-European equivalent, Hékwonā, as a horse and sovereignty Goddess as well, but also sees her as possessing associations with untamed sexuality, and a pure power which is potentially dangerous. 8 The Italian scholar Carlo Ginzburg sees her as the prototype for the later deity of the medieval Diana Cults, and, as such, the leader of the Wild Hunt, something that fits with Kondratiev’s identification of her with the Mari Lwyd. 9 The writer(s) of epona.net is generally not willing to go so far, seeing all such elaborate theologies as unproven. 10 Morpheus Ravenna, in her upcoming Book of the Great Queensees her as a Sovereignty Goddess more or less directly cognate to the Irish Macha or Ro-ech, sharing even by-names with Macha, and, like Her, possessing martial and fertility attributes, as well as the aforementioned Sovereignty function. She sees some of the differences between the Gaulish and Irish figures as due to the effects of Romanization in emphasizing the less martial attributes, of an existing Goddess. 11
  1. Garrett Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 158; Miranda Green, Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, p. 90; Kondratiev, Basic Celtic Deity Types; Nantonos Aedui, Epona.net: A Scholarly Resource, http://www.epona.net; James MacKillop, Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, p. 190
  2. Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, , p. 158; Serith, Deep Ancestors: Practicing the Religion of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, p. 63; Epona.net
  3. Epona.net
  4. Olmsted, Gods of the Celts and Indo-Europeans, p. 158-159
  5. Serith, Deep Ancestors, p. 63
  6. Kondratiev, The Apple Branch: a Path to Celtic Ritual, pp. 125-128
  7. Serith, Deep Ancestors, pp. 63-66
  8. Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, pp. 103-106
  9. epona.net
  10. Morpheus Ravenna, The Book of the Great Queen, unpublished manuscript, pp. 105-106.
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