Epona on a funeral stele from 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 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.
on the ivy leaf
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
of the Year’s turning.
The candle for Epona is lit.
The candle for the Sun awaits the Solstice.