EPONALIA

Eponalia was celebrated on 18 December in the calendar of Roman Feast days. There is an inscription from Cis-alpine Gaul which counts back to this date from ‘New Year Calends’, seeming to suggest a sequence through the Midwinter period. One of the earliest observances developed by Brython was a placing of Eponalia in this context. Here is one such observance recorded as personal practice.

epona-beasts
Epona – from a funeral stele in Gaul

The Sun sits low in the sky and dips even lower as his year draws to an end. The pale light of day soon passes to night. The tide ebbs. Each flower, each tree, each head of grass and grain, has shrunk to back to kernel: to hard seed, to nut, to reserved essence, biding the time until the light grows again and roots find a way through nurturing soil.

For now, Epona traverses the paths of the dead, riding through the dark, through earth and sea, each life that has passed moving with her, finding the way that she opens for them, losing the memories she closes behind them. The Sun will return and a new year begin, but now is the time of repose.

Epona, we are with you in the time of waiting, we pause with you now in the dark of the year.  We mark the time until the longest night when you stir the deepest well of the darkness like a river rising from the caverns of gloom.

A candle is placed on the altar unlit, marking this time of darkness. It is a dark candle and when lit it will be scented and burn low and slowly. Another candle is placed there beside it, a large red candle for the rebirth of the Sun. This will be lit at the Solstice and burn through the longest night. Some holly and some ivy are also there.

Darkness falls
on the ivy leaf

Yulelight glistens
on the holly bough

As red fire stirs
in the kindling.

We count three days
to the longest night

Three more till the glimmer
of a longer day

Then seven to the eve
of New Year Calends

These days we count
from the Feast of Epona

First festival
of the Year’s turning.

The candle for Epona is lit.
The candle for the Sun awaits the Solstice.

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I am keeping Eponalia for the first time tomorrow. In part I do this to honour not only Epona, but my spirit horse who has been a steadfast companion on many a journey. A special way I will mark the day is to hang the horse painting I bought from my stepdaughter a few weeks ago, it is quite large and stunning. It seems a fitting time to hand this special piece that links me not only to Epona, but Brigit as well. I will spend time with Fleetheart once the painting is hung in the silence of the space and light a candle to remember and honour.

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  2. Tonight I’ll light a candle for Epona in front of the prayer card Potia sent me and beside an ivy leaf and say this prayer, then spend some time with my own horse guide, and meditating on the horses of my past, most of whom have passed to the plains of Annwn.

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