I light a candle

for Epona

to light the way
through the darkness.

I walk through the darkness too

with all the mothers
who have lost their sons

with all the sisters
who have lost their brothers.

We flit like bats against the walls.

We are searching
for our oldest animals

to lead us through the darkness

to the prison of the child
now a young man.

On the solstice
when the sun stands still
by candlelight

we will bring him back.

Today, December the 18th, is the festival of Epona, the Great Mare. Over the past few years the story of the search of the Mare Goddess for her lost son has been revealed to me as a relief of Epona riding through the Otherworld with engravings of animals, Rhiannon’s loss of Pryderi, and Modron’s loss of Mabon have sealed into one.

It’s my personal belief the episode in Culhwch ac Olwen featuring the search of Arthur and his men for Mabon with the help of the Oldest Animals and his rescue from the House of Stone replaced an earlier version in which the Great Mare (Epona) / Great Queen (Rigantona) / Great Mother (Matrona) searched for her son and rescued him from Annwn, where he was taken by his father, Annwn’s King. A similar story is told in the modern film, Labyrinth, where Sarah rescues her brother from the Goblin King.

It has taken on a personal meaning for me this year because, at the beginning of the month, my brother was admitted to hospital for brain surgery. It went well and he came back home to stay with me and my parents to recover, but was readmitted due to complications. We are hoping he will be returning from the hospital, a liminal place like the House of Stone that was Mabon’s Annuvian prison, between sickness and health, life and death, some time after his reassessment on the winter solstice.

12 thoughts on “I light a candle

  1. Kris Hughes says:

    I have been doing a lot of deep work with both Mabon and with the story of Urien Rheged – as a result Modron has been in my mind a lot the past few months, and that has very much included the run up to today.

    Blessed Feast of Epona to you!

  2. Greg Hill says:

    May the Solstice bring your brother back into the light and the New Year bring health and renewal. And may Epona be with you in your care and anxiety.

    I will light the candle for him too.

    Pob Bendith

  3. Thornsilver says:

    Best wishes for your brother’s swift return to health, and for your own peace of mind!

    I like the connections you’re making between the various Brythonic stories, and the figures in them. And I especially love the comparison to Labyrinth! Given that I see Gwyn as very similar to Jareth in how He appears to me, I’ve felt a personal connection to both Sarah and Toby in that particular story, in different ways.

    And happy Eponalia. We celebrated Her feast yesterday at Corvids and Cauldrons, and someone read your poem about Her skin becoming a drum. I hadn’t heard that one before but I loved the idea that much like the drumbeat, the Great Mare’s back carries people into trance/journey/the Otherworld.

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