The Great Pendragon
The great Horse Goddess of Celtic belief
Her worshipers are most prevalent in the Gaulish lands but there are small cults for Epona across Logres. Sir Cynwrig Kellen and his late brother, Sir Brennan Emrys Kellen counted themselves among her worshipers. She is the protector of horses and their riders and all true knights, and anyone else whose livelihood depends on horses. All good people should worship her (or so the Kellen brothers insist).
Although of Gaulish origin, most inscriptions of Epona are written in Latin as the custom of setting up dedications for others to read was introduced to Gaul by the Romans, so the inscriptions use Epona as a foreign name.
Most inscriptions of Epona are on plaques, alters, or in shrines and temples dedicated to her. The Roman military (before Christianity invaded them) would often pledge vows to Epona and erect temples or alters to her when a vow was fulfilled as a thank you for her blessing.
Depictions of Epona come in three main forms:
- Sidesaddle Type
- Imperial Type
- Cart Type
The most common depiction. In these, Epona is shown riding a horse sidesaddle on tableaux’s or small portable statuettes & figurines. This is not sidesaddle as would be depicted for more recent times when the ladies saddle allowed a woman to face forward with her leg draped across, but true sidesaddle as if she were sitting on a chair facing to the side of the horse. She holds the horse’s mane with one hand and often carries bread or fruit in the other.
Here Epona sits or stands facing front with horses on each side of her. Sometimes two, sometimes four in total. Sometimes they can be seen eating apples from her lap. She is the true Mother of Horses.
This is where Epona is drawn in a cart by mules or horses. The least common depiction, some would not recognise this as Epona unless there was an inscription to go with it.
Epona is also an aspect of fertility, and is the leader of soul out of (birth) and into (death) the other worlds, she is frequently known as Rhiannon to the Cymric and Gaelic people.