Your browser does not support script
TWV Presents...

Articles/Essays From Pagans

[Show all]

Views: 16,505,465

April 20th. 2014 ...

Six Rules for Safer Pagan Sex: A Guide

Safety: Let's Shift Our Focus

A Pagan Perspective on Easter

Morality and Controversy in the Craft

The Oak King's Domain (A Story)

The Star Child

April 13th. 2014 ...

Magick and Consequences: My Experience with Sigils

Being a Worrisome Witch

Don't Talk Yourself Out of Trying Something New!

What to Do When the Spell/Ritual Flops

April 6th. 2014 ...

The Elements and the Quarters

Dark Moon Scry: Aries 2014

How the Wheel of the Year Works “Down Under”

13 Keys: The Understanding of Binah

March 30th. 2014 ...

Manifesting the Dream: On Religious Organizations, Pagan Abbeys and our Order

True Meaning of Community

Thoughts on Unverified Personal Gnosis

My Beautiful Grove- A Matter Of Perspective

March 23rd. 2014 ...

Spirituality and Social Change

The First Step to Anywhere!

March 16th. 2014 ...

From Christian to Pagan (Part I)

Nature And The Celtic Tree Calendar

The Teeth in the Darkness

March 9th. 2014 ...

Healing the Witch Within

Incarcerated Witches

Discovering Wicca as a Young Child

March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright

March 2nd. 2014 ...

Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward

The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role

Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?

The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects

February 23rd. 2014 ...

Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences

Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless

The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community

What Makes Us What We Are

February 16th. 2014 ...

The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief

Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing

Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence

Alternative Medicine – What Is It?

February 9th. 2014 ...

Words of Power!

The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse

Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings

February 2nd. 2014 ...

The Magick of Jewelry and Metals

Building a Magick Mirror

The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)

January 26th. 2014 ...

Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do

The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)

13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed

Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected

January 19th. 2014 ...

Open Letter to the Goddess

A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality

Social Conventions and the Pagan World

Reclaiming Independence

January 12th. 2014 ...

Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing

One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression

January 5th. 2014 ...

Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age

Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey

2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!

Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild

December 29th. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)

13 Keys: The Might of Geburah

Beyond The Season of Greed

December 22nd. 2013 ...

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)

December 15th. 2013 ...

The Hex Murder of 1928

My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)

Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)

Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots

December 8th. 2013 ...

Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey

Using Your Wand in Reverse

The Cry of the Soul

Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward

December 1st. 2013 ...

The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness

A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism

Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?

November 24th. 2013 ...

The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective

The Pagan and the Papacy

November 17th. 2013 ...

Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca

For Love of the God

A Threat to Religious Liberties?

November 10th. 2013 ...

Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?

NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.

Article Specs

Article ID: 14417

VoxAcct: 188617

Section: words

Age Group: Adult

Days Up: 1,180

Times Read: 3,987

RSS Views: 15,365
The Raven, The Horse and The Goddess

Author: Sorita d'Este [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: January 30th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,987

“I knew by the voice of the raven, each morning since you journeyed from me, that your downfall was true and certain.” -- The Lay of the Wife of Meargach, Ossianic Society 4:173.

In the British Isles, the Raven is probably the bird most commonly found associated with Gods and Goddesses who were worshipped and celebrated here by our ancestors. The Raven also occurs on a regular basis in the mythology and symbolism of the Saxon and Norse deities. Likewise worship of horse Goddesses was widely spread throughout the Celtic world. Horses represented wealth and power, and their speed and nobility were seen as being a way to be closer to the Gods. Horses further feature heavily in Celtic Christian literature, further emphasising their enduring importance as religious icons.

Probably the best known association of a Goddess with Ravens can be found in tales of The Morrígan, the Irish Celtic Battle Goddess, who is known for her shapeshifting abilities, particular when she appears as Badb (whose name translates as “raven” or “crow”) an example of which is found in this old manuscript [MSS Trinity H3.18]:

“It is one of the three Morrígna, that is Macha and Badb and Morrígan. Whence Mesrad Machae, Macha’s mast, that is the heads of men after their slaughter. As Dub Ruise said: There are rough places yonder, where men cut off Macha’s mast; where they drive young calves into the fold; where the raven-women instigate battle.”

In the Táin Bó Cúailnge we see the Morrígan appear as a raven when she warns the Brown Bull of Cúailnge of the impending attempt to steal him, whilst Badb appears in her raven form to stand on the dying hero Cú Chulainn’s shoulder.

The entire race of Giants, the race of Gods known as the Túatha dé Danann, is symbolised as ravens in the prophetic dream of Eochaid, King of the Fir Bolgs during the First Battle of Moytura. In this dream, recounted in the Cath Muighe Tuireadh, Eochaid sees a great flock of black birds invading Ireland.

But it is not only the Morrígan who appears as a Raven, the name of the Welsh Goddess Branwen translates as “white raven”, so it is clear that she also was seen as being associated with these birds. In Gaul Epona, who is usually associated with horses was sometimes depicted with ravens, as was the Gallic Goddess Nantosuelta.

Macha, one of the three Morrígna discussed above, was undoubtedly associated with horses. Her name which means “pasture” links her to grazing land, indicating a possible equine link, but it is in her role as the divine, yet mortal bride of the wealthy farmer Crunnchu we find the most obvious links. As his wife she brings him great prosperity, but she warns him to never boast about her to anyone.

Of course he ignored her warnings and boasted to others that his wife could run so fast that she would easily outrun the King’s horses. The King upon hearing this boast imprisons Crunnchu and the only way for Macha to save her husband is to run against the King’s horses in at the Ulster Assembly. Appealing to the crowd and the King, Macha who is nine months pregnant, asks them to let her first deliver her babies. She pleas saying with them saying: “a mother bore each one of you”, but her pleading is ignored and she is forced to run. As a result she warns them that she would curse all of Ulster for what they were doing to her. As she wins the race she gives birth to twins, dying in the process. As she does so she curses the Ulstermen with the “ces noinden” a weakness curse which would cause them to become as helpless as a woman in childbirth for five days and four nights whenever they needed their strength the most. This would last for nine generations and laid the foundations for many future events.

The Welsh Goddess Rhiannon had a white horse that could outrun any horse without even breaking sweat and when she was unjustly punished for killing her son (who was in fact still alive) as recorded in Pwyll Prince of Dyved, in the White Book of Rhydderch she was forced to take the role of a horse herself, carrying people as punishment.

The Gallic Epona, who was adopted by the Roman army and brought to the British Isles is probably the best known horse Goddess. Her name means “Divine Horse” and the depictions of her usually show her riding a horse. The Goddess Áine was also sometimes known as “Lair Derg” meaning “Red Mare” which might suggest that she was also given equine qualities.

But the Raven and Horse were not exclusively linked to Goddesses; they are also strongly linked to a number of Gods. Famously the Saxon God Woden’s two ravens, Huginn and Muninn (“Thought” and “Memory”) would fly around the world each day and then return to his shoulders to report what they had seen.

Other Gods associated with Ravens include the Irish God Lugh, who is warned by two ravens of the approach of the Fomorians before the Second Battle of Moytura. In the founding myth of Lugudunum (London) recorded in De Flavis of pseudo-Plutarch, I.4. we learn that the location of the new city was chosen when a flock of ravens landed there, the reason why it was named after Lugh, the God of Ravens! A further association with the city of London and Ravens is found through the “Tower of London” which was built on “Bryn Gwyn” (White Hill) the location where Bran’s head was buried to keep Britain safe from invasion, which it did until King Arthur dug it up and chucked it into the Thames declaring that he was the only protector Britain needed. The name “Bran” also means “raven” and so the belief was born that if the ravens ever left the Tower of London terrible disaster would befall Britain, which is why to this day some are kept at the Tower of London.

The associations between horses and male Gods are fewer, but they do exist. The Irish God Fergus is given the name “Son of Ro-ech” which means “Great Horse” thus indicating an association. He is described as having large genitals, which certainly fits in with horselike features. Less known is the “Rider God” of whom images linking him with horses have been found all over Britain, the number of brooches found depicting him from all the British Isles suggests that he was a very popular figure with the Roman legionnaires.

The Guises of the Morrigan by David Rankine and Sorita d'Este (Avalonia, 2005)
The Visions of the Cailleach by David Rankine and Sorita d'Este (Avalonia, 2009)

Copyright: Sorita d'Este, 2007; 2011


Sorita d'Este

Location: Glastonbury, England


Author's Profile: To learn more about Sorita d'Este - Click HERE

Other Articles: Sorita d'Este has posted 5 additional articles- View them?

Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE

Email Sorita d'Este... (No, I have NOT opted to receive Pagan Invites! Please do NOT send me anonymous invites to groups, sales and events.)

To send a private message to Sorita d'Este ...

Pagan Essays

Pagan Web
8,000 Links

Pagan Groups
Local Covens etc.

80,000 Profiles

Home - TWV Logos - Email US - Privacy
News and Information

Chapters: Pagan/Heathen Basics - Pagan BOOKS - Traditions, Paths & Religions - Popular Pagan Holidays - TV & Movies - Cats of the Craft - Festival Reviews - Festival Tips - White Pages (Resources) - Issues/Concerns - West Memphis 3 - Witch Hunts - Pagan Protection Tips - Healing Planet Earth

Your Voices: Adult Essays - Young Pagan Essays - Pagan Perspectives (On Hold) - WitchWars: Fire in the Craft - Gay Pagan - Pagan Parenting - Military - Pagan Passages

Pagan Music: Pagan Musicians - Bardic Circle at WitchVox - Free Music from TWV

Vox Central: About TWV - Wren: Words, Wrants and Wramblings - Guest Rants - Past Surveys - A Quest for Unity

Weekly Updates: Click HERE for an index of our weekly updates for the past 6 years

W.O.T.W. - World-Wide Networking

Your Town: A Link to YOUR Area Page (The largest listing of Witches, Pagans, Heathens and Wiccans on the Planet)

VoxLinks: The Pagan Web: 8,000 Listings

Your Witchvox Account: Log in Now - Create New Account - Request New Password - Log in Problems

Personal Listings: Pagan Clergy in Your Town - Adult Pagans - Young Pagans - Military Pagans

Events: Circles, Gatherings, Workshops & Festivals

Covens/Groups/Orgs: Local Groups Main Page

Other LOCAL Resources: Local Shops - Regional Sites - Local Notices - Global/National Notices - Local Skills & Services - Local Egroups - Political Freedom Fighters

Pagan Shopping: Online Shops Index - Original Crafters Sites - Auction Sites - Pagan Wholesalers - Pagan Local Shops

Web Site Content (including: text - graphics - html - look & feel)
Copyright 1997-2014 The Witches' Voice Inc. All rights reserved
Note: Authors & Artists retain the copyright for their work(s) on this website.
Unauthorized reproduction without prior permission is a violation of copyright laws.

Website structure, evolution and php coding by Fritz Jung on a Macintosh G5.

Any and all personal political opinions expressed in the public listing sections (including, but not restricted to, personals, events, groups, shops, Wren’s Nest, etc.) are solely those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinion of The Witches’ Voice, Inc. TWV is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization.

Sponsorship: Visit the Witches' Voice Sponsor Page for info on how you
can help support this Community Resource. Donations ARE Tax Deductible.
The Witches' Voice carries a 501(c)(3) certificate and a Federal Tax ID.

Mail Us: The Witches' Voice Inc., P.O. Box 341018, Tampa, Florida 33694-1018 U.S.A.
Witches, Pagans
of The World

Search Articles

 Current Topic
 Editorial Guide

NOTE: The essay on this page contains the writings and opinions of the listed author(s) and is not necessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.

The Witches' Voice does not verify or attest to the historical accuracy contained in the content of this essay.

All WitchVox essays contain a valid email address, feel free to send your comments, thoughts or concerns directly to the listed author(s).