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Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
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The History of the Sacred Circle
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GOD AND ME (A Pagan's Personal Reply to the New Atheists)
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Thoughts on Cultural and Spiritual Appropriation
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To Know, to Will, to Dare...
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A World Of Witchcraft: Belief Is Only The Beginning...
From Christian to Pagan (Part III)
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Following In Epona's Sacred Hoofprints
Article ID: 11908
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,205
Times Read: 4,260
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Author: Devon, The Maid Of Epona
Posted: July 22nd. 2007
Times Viewed: 4,260
My name is Devon and I worship Epona.
I realize that by making such a statement, those not already accepting of the New Age community of thought will discount this document and me as a crackpot and a weirdo.
So be it. Its not like I haven’t dealt with THAT attitude all my life!
But I have worshipped Epona for quite some time, even before I knew who or what She was and is. My entire life seems to have been a quest in search of knowledge, any knowledge, scientific, physical or spiritual, in association with anything equestrian. Maybe I just stopped fighting it. Or maybe the light bulb just went on in my head; take your pick.
Faith as it is for me, has never followed a conventional path. In fact nothing “normal” seemed to work for me although it certainly seemed to work for everyone around me. I learned early on that Christianity held certain inconsistencies that I found disturbing. As I matured, I came to the realization that these things that bothered me were not deity based but fallible human in origin.
The urging of some Christian groups is that if you don’t worship like us, well then, you’re wrong and you won’t get into heaven. That’s purely the human failing of “I want to find some reason that makes me better than you.” that has nothing to do with the actual Heart of God. And it is a failing that is in many religions, not just Christianity.
My interpretation of God is greater than that.
God is greater than a sexual orientation. God is neither male nor female but has aspects of both sexes. God is greater than any box we choose to attempt to cram him into but we, as mortal humans, have this deep need to put God into some sort of box so that we can better relate to the spirit of deity working within our lives.
I also discovered early on in life that the faith I was raised in, Catholicism was definitely NOT for me. Being taken to church every Sunday and listening to the priest speaking much the same words in Mass once a week had a tendency to make me yawn. If your religion puts you to sleep then it’s not the right religion for you! I also did not agree with some of the tenants of the Catholic Church, such as their stand on abortion, birth control and their attitude on sex and relationships.
Luckily my parents had much the same views so I was not read the riot act on these things. All the children in my family were told, “This is what the church believes BUT this is what WE believe.” After having one more child than my parents had originally planned, me, long after their other two were born, my mother loved the idea of the pill!
I was taken out of public school just prior to high school because of bad grades and being constantly bullied to the point that school was becoming terrifying for me, and placed in a Pentecostal private school for about a year and a half. This really messed with my head in the religious sense! After that short amount of time I was close to being brainwashed. I actually thought at thirteen years of age that I had committed the “unpardonable sin” although I was too afraid to ask exactly what that was!
Nowadays the older and wiser me believes that living an ingenuous life as to who you really are is committing the unpardonable sin to yourself.
I worship Epona because that is the form of deity that I can best relate to. Through praying to and harkening after the wisdom long forgotten that has surrounded this form of God, I have seen signs, blessings, miracles and magic come into my life.
I do NOT believe that this is the right path for everyone or that everyone should convert to follow in Epona’s sacred hoofprints. But for those who are searching and feel that at this particular time in their lives, a horse spirit has entered to guide them, reading my writings might help in their own personal quest. This is what has worked for me.
As long as I can remember, I had a yearning for horses. They were the magic and the beauty in my life although I was never raised with them. Any day spent with horses was a good day. They were what helped me to deal with my problems, my escape from the bullies and the stress when my parents couldn’t understand why I was so smart and yet my grades were so poor.
However I had very little contact with horses when I was a child. I truly believe my mother was afraid of them and, to this day, she will never watch me ride for fear of seeing me get hurt. I was allowed to see or ride a horse only a few times a year. Until then I was given books and horse toys because they couldn’t buck me off!
I was insanely jealous of my older cousin, Beth, who owned a horse and whose whole room was decorated in ribbons won at horse shows. I was told she had a horse because she got good grades. Nowadays Beth and I live maybe an hour apart and she comes to see me ride at events and we’ve trail ridden together.
I own horses now and she rents one hoping to find that perfect horse to buy someday, so there is no longer any jealousy in my heart for her.
As a child, I dreamed of owning a farm full of beautiful horses. My dreams were not supported by my family. I even remember my aunt sitting me down and having a nice heart to heart with me as to why this would never happen for me.
She was oh so wrong!
But the dream of my own farm took about twenty years of my adult life to prepare for before I finally won it.
I guess Epona just wanted to see how badly I wanted it!
I started out in the horse business as a groom. In the greater scheme of the horse world, a groom is the low man on the totem pole. Grooms come along so frequently and come in many descriptions. Some are teen-aged girls using this as a stepping stone to other greater careers with horses, some are immigrants who work hard and rarely complain, and some are people who couldn’t possibly make it in the corporate world for one reason or another.
Being a groom requires long hours and hard work in all sorts of weather. I can personally attest to that! I have had to walk down a horse in the paddock that does not want to be caught in the pouring rain, unload hay in the sweltering summer sun with sweat running into my eyes, restrain a young but very strong, two year old that had barely ever been touched for the farrier to trim his feet, be dragged along behind a panicky, barely halter broke, kid of a mare who was quickly figuring out that I couldn’t hold him back, break ice in the water trough with the winter wind screaming around my ears, and minutes before I leave for the day, find a horse colicking so I have to walk him until the vet arrives when my feet and legs are already sore from a day’s work.
It’s walking into the bank before closing time straight from the barn and noticing other people’s noses wrinkling at you because you smell like a manure heap and sliding you disgusting looks like you never bathe as they give you a wide berth. It’s pulling change out of your pocket and watching hay chaff and the pocketknife you cut open the hay bales come out with it. It’s only ever wearing muddy, nearly worn out, work boots because they do the job well, when you’re grocery shopping.
And then I’m a silly enough human to want to own my own horses so that I have more of the same work to do when I get home! I must be a glutton for punishment!
It isn’t all sitting on a horse’s back and letting the wind comb your hair on a bright spring day as you gallop across a field of tall grass! At least not all the time.
But it also is being depressed and going to the barn and pouring your soul out to your special horse as you brush him. It’s riding him down the lane and wondering, after that pathetically small paycheck you just got, how you are going to be able to continue to do this. It’s calling around in March to try to find somebody, anybody to find hay to buy when nobody has it or the hay they have is old, dusty, moldy stuff only fit for cows to eat and yet they’re charging an arm and a leg for it because they know you’re desperate enough to pay for it.
You tell this all to your horse. And he looks at you and without saying a word, with soft brown eyes full of emotion and you know you’ll make it. You have to. He’s counting on you to do it.
So there HAS to be a deity who understands this!
I remember my husband and I pulling out of our farm’s driveway one day in March and me fussing about where I was going to find hay because we needed it THAT NIGHT!
I remember a passing car flagging us down. We thought the driver was lost.
No, it was our new neighbor wanting to sell us their hay.
Yes, Epona works miracles!
I remember in January going up to the Harrisburg Draft Horse sale a day before my husband was to go in for hernia surgery. Our main reason for going was because the auction prices on horses were dismally low because of the knee-jerk reaction to the new horse slaughter bill. We thought we might be able to come home with a good horse for well under what it was worth. It wasn’t exactly a good time to be adding a new horse to the barn but we DID have an empty stall. An empty stall is always a dangerous thing in a stable. It normally gets filled with another horse!
I had prayed and prayed and prayed to Epona about this.
“Epona IF we get a horse, please let us buy the RIGHT horse for my husband.”
We came home with a coming three year old, Haflinger gelding with a double mane and a big spot of white on his forehead as round as a full moon.
Epona heard my prayer.
It’s losing a special horse suddenly, horribly and living in tears for days after. It’s losing my husband’s father just two weeks later, a father he always wanted a deeper bond with and was never able to achieve.
And then Alexander, our stallion, steps into our life to impress all who meet him with his kind, gentle nature and his incredible beauty. He’s like a horse out of a child’s dream, born of snow and golden, sunset tinged clouds.
As a child, I could have never dreamed this big and thought to catch and hold it!
And yet I look out onto my small farm and my even smaller paddock and there is Alex’s silhouette, standing by the fence after dusk with the full, midsummer moon rising from between the barely revealed tips of his ears, a great red horse, crowned in snowy mane, practically glowing in the moon’s blessed illumination.
I have a lot to thank Epona for!
I have followed Epona for many years without knowing it. Day after day, year after year, when I took care of somebody else’s horses or even my own, I was following Her glowing hoofprints in the sand.
When I bought my first horse, a wise, old, quarter horse gelding who knew dumb riders all too well, I unknowingly accepted Her gift and allowed myself to be changed by it.
When I divorced my ex-husband because he could not relate to how important horses were in my life, I was responding to Epona’s will to fight a cage. And fight I did!
As a divorcee, I spent the little money I had to buy feed for my horse and allowed myself to lose weight just to keep him, I proved to Epona just how far I was willing to go to hang onto my childhood dream of owning a horse.
And then, when I accepted the blessing of a relationship with a man also afflicted with the horse disease, I also accepted another blessing from Her. When I rode my old horse to our wedding, I honored Her gift to me so many years ago.
When I got bucked off of my first mare and landed in the hospital, I accepted her painful teaching that some bonds between horses and humans are not good and should not be forced but released. In that release, Epona honored my decision, (although, at the time, I had great guilt feelings about it) by allowing a wonderful gelding to come into my life to take care of me.
He was the catalyst that led to us dedicating our lives to this wonderful breed called Haflingers. Because of him, my husband bought a very special Hafinger gelding which we owned a precious few months before Epona took him away to the Summerlands. Our tears flowed but our dedication to horses and Haflingers deepened.
Then Alex, our stallion, entered the scene. Alex is a wonderful blessing from Epona to two Pagan would-be horse breeders.
She must approve of all we’ve done so far.
And so I ride on.
And she accompanies me, soft as a whisper in the tall grass. I continue to care for other people’s horses as well as my own. And she helps me to notice things at work -- a water tub almost empty, a fence in need of repair, a horse starting to colic.
Epona blesses me with the awareness I need to do my job. And then in late spring the babies start being born. And as I kneel in the stall, grasping a tiny pair of wet legs in both hands as the mare struggles to push life out into the world, She nickers in my ear and bids me to watch the magic of birth.
I obey and I am amazed each time.
The circle of life turns. Birth. Life. Youth. Adulthood. Age. Death. And then back to birth. Always changing and yet never-ending.
Epona dances in the sand ahead of me, ears and nose held high in the air and tail raised like a victorious banner.
I chase after her like I chase after a horse in a paddock not wanting to be caught. But I will never catch Her! It doesn’t matter. The journey after Her is the path of true enlightenment.
I follow Her glowing hoofprints and fill my eyes with her snowy image.
I have followed Her all my life. I will be following Her for quite some time to come.
Epona is with me.
Devon, The Maid Of Epona
Location: New Park, Pennsylvania
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