Horses have been revered by cultures all around the world for a long time. Namely, they are magnificent creatures and represent mighty concepts such as strength, power, freedom, and more. In fact, so highly regarded are horses that they have countless gods and goddesses associated with horses. Given that, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about common horse deities and their meanings.
Table of Contents
- History of Horses in Mythology
- Symbolic Meaning of the Horse in General
- Common Gods Associated with Horses
- Common Goddesses Associated with Horses
- Other Common Horse Deities
- Horses In Native American Wisdom
- Ways to Honor Horse Deities
- Frequently Asked Questions About Horse Deities
- Conclusion About Gods and Goddesses Associated With Horses
History of Horses in Mythology
Before we go into the gods and goddesses associated with horses, let’s take a look at their role in mythology in general.
The horse has been a symbol of power and strength since ancient times. In many cultures, the horse is associated with deities and myths.
The ancient Greeks worshiped a number of horse deities, including the goddesses Demeter and Aphrodite, and the god Apollo. The Roman goddess Diana was also often depicted with a horse.
Horses also play a significant role in Celtic mythology. The most famous is the white stallion which pulled the chariot of the sun god Lugh. Other Celtic deities associated with horses include Epona, the goddess of horses, and Rhiannon, the queen of the underworld.
In Norse mythology, Odin, the king of the gods, was said to have an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. This magical creature could travel between worlds and was said to be faster than any other horse in existence.
The horse has also been important in Chinese mythology. One of the most famous stories is that of Mulan, who disguised herself as a man and rode into battle on her father’s horse. There are also many tales of dragons who can transform into horses.
Symbolic Meaning of the Horse in General
The horse is a widely recognized symbol with a long history and many different meanings. In general, horses represent freedom, power, and grace. They are also associated with strength, nobility, and courage.
Horses have been used as symbols in art and literature for centuries. In ancient Greece, they were often associated with the sun god Apollo. In China, they were seen as a symbol of good luck. In Native American cultures, the horse is often seen as a spirit animal that embodies all the qualities of the ideal warrior.
The horse is also a popular motif in religious art and iconography. For Christians, the horse represents Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. For Muslims, the horse is a symbol of paradise. Hindus believe that the horse is an incarnation of the god Vishnu.
Throughout history, horses have been revered as noble and majestic creatures. Today, they continue to be one of the most popular symbols in both art and culture.
Common Gods Associated with Horses
There are many gods and goddesses associated with horses in myth, legend, and folklore from cultures all over the world. Some of the most common horse deities include: Epona from Celtic mythology, Sleipnir from Norse mythology, and Pegasus from Greek mythology.
Epona was a goddess of horses and ponies who was especially popular in Roman Britain. She was often depicted as a woman riding a horse or with a horse by her side. Epona was thought to protect horses and their riders, and she was also associated with fertility.
Sleipnir was the eight-legged horse of Odin, the chief god of the Norse pantheon. Sleipnir could run at an incredible speed and travel to the underworld as well as to Asgard, the home of the gods. He was also said to be able to carry dead warriors to Valhalla, where they would spend eternity fighting and feasting.
Pegasus was a winged horse who sprang forth from the blood of Medusa when she was slain by Perseus. Pegasus assisted Bellerophon in his battle against the Chimera and later carried Zeus’ thunderbolts for him. He is often depicted as white or pale gray in color with wings on his back.
Common Goddesses Associated with Horses
There are many goddesses throughout history who have been associated with horses. In ancient Greece, the goddesses Demeter and Aphrodite were both linked to horses. Demeter was the goddess of agriculture and fertility and was often depicted riding a horse-drawn chariot. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was also said to ride a horse-drawn chariot. Her Roman equivalent, Venus, was also associated with horses.
Other goddesses associated with horses include Freya (Norse), Epona (Celtic), Arinna (Hittite), and Ishtar (Sumerian). These goddesses all represent different aspects of life, such as love, fertility, war, and death. Horses were an important part of ancient cultures, and thus these goddesses held an important place in mythology and folklore.
Other Common Horse Deities
There are many horse deities in various cultures around the world. Some of the most common include Epona in Celtic mythology, Poseidon in Greek mythology, and Sleipnir in Norse mythology.
Epona was a Celtic goddess who was associated with horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules. She was said to protect and care for them, and she also had the ability to heal them. In some stories, she is also said to be able to communicate with them.
Poseidon was the Greek god of the sea, but he was also sometimes associated with horses. He is said to have created the first horse, and he was often depicted riding on a chariot drawn by horses. He was also said to be able to control the waves with his trident, and he sometimes used horses as transportation across the water.
Sleipnir was the horse of Odin in Norse mythology. He was an eight-legged stallion who could run faster than any other horse. He was also said to be able to travel between worlds, and he carried Odin into battle.
Celtic Deities Associated With Horses
There are numerous Celtic deities associated with horses. Epona is perhaps the most well-known. She is a goddess of fertility and protector of horses, donkeys, and mules. Her feast day is December 18th.
Other Celtic horse deities include:
- Rhiannon: A Welsh goddess of fertility, love, and beauty; also associated with the moon
- Macha: An Irish goddess of war and death; also associated with Horses
- Flidais: An Irish goddess of forests, wild animals, and fertility; often depicted riding a red deer or on a chariot pulled by deer
Japanese Gods and Goddesses Associated With Horses
In Japan, there are a number of gods and goddesses associated with horses. In fact, very often, horses are considered lucky animals in Japanese and Chinese cultures. Here are some horse deities that have equine essence strongly featured:
- Sarutahiko Okami: The patron deity of horsemen and equestrians, Sarutahiko is also said to be the god who led the first emperor of Japan to the island nation. He is often depicted as a man with a large head and an antelope or deer horn on his forehead.
- Ebisu: The god of fishermen and good fortune, Ebisu is also said to be partial to horses. He is often shown riding on a horse or carrying a fishing rod.
- Bishamonten: One of the Seven Lucky Gods in Japanese mythology, Bishamonten is the god of warriors and protectors. He is sometimes shown riding on a white horse.
- Daikoku: Another of the Seven Lucky Gods, Daikoku is the god of wealth and prosperity. He, too, is sometimes depicted riding on a white horse.
These are just some of the many gods and goddesses in Japanese mythology that are associated with horses. Whether they are seen as beneficent beings that can bring good fortune or as powerful protectors, these deities all have an important place in Japanese culture.
Greek Gods and Goddesses Associated With Horses
There are many ancient Greek gods and goddesses associated with horses. The most famous is probably Pegasus, the winged horse of myth. Other well-known horse deities include the war-god Ares, who was often depicted riding a chariot pulled by four horses; Poseidon, god of the sea, who rode a golden chariot drawn by hippocampus (sea-horse) hybrids; and Helios, god of the sun, who rose each morning in a golden chariot drawn by four white horses.
Other lesser-known Greek deities with associations with horses include:
- Apollo: God of the sun, poetry, and healing. He was sometimes depicted riding a golden chariot pulled by four white horses.
- Artemis: Goddess of the hunt. She was often depicted riding a chariot pulled by either two or four deer or dogs.
- Dionysus: God of wine and ecstasy. He was sometimes depicted riding a donkey or mule instead of a horse.
- Hera: Goddess of marriage and childbirth. She was sometimes depicted riding a peacock or cow instead of a horse.
- Hermes: Messenger god and patron of travelers. He was often depicted riding a winged horse or driving a golden chariot drawn by two winged snakes called caducei.
Roman Deities Associated with Horses
The Roman goddess Diana was often associated with horses, as she was the goddess of hunting. Her twin brother Apollo was also frequently shown riding a horse. Other deities associated with horses include Mercury, the messenger god; Poseidon, the god of the sea; and Hades, the god of the underworld.
The most famous horse in Roman mythology is probably Pegasus, the winged horse who was captured by Bellerophon and ridden into battle against the Chimera. Pegasus later became the constellation we now know as Pegasus.
Horses In Native American Wisdom
Native American heroes and legendary horses go hand-in-hand. Many famous Native Americans had close relationships with their horses and even considered them to be family. Some of the most famous Native American heroes, like Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, were known for their skills in horsemanship. Their horses were often just as famous as they were.
Many Native American tribes have stories and legends about powerful horse deities. These gods and goddesses are often associated with the sun, wind, or rain. They are also sometimes seen as protectors of the natural world or as bringers of good fortune. In some cultures, horse deities are even thought to be able to transform into other animals.
Ways to Honor Horse Deities
When it comes to horse deities, there are a few key ways to show your respect. First and foremost, horses are highly revered for their strength and power. They are also associated with speed, freedom, and grace. As such, many believe that horse deities can help us tap into our own personal power and strength. Here are a few key ways to honor horse deities:
Offer up prayers or devotions
This can be done either privately or publicly. If you choose to do this in public, consider setting up an altar or shrine dedicated to the horse deity or deities you wish to honor.
A great way to honor horse deities is to be grateful and recognize the blessings they have bestowed upon you. Whether it’s good health, success in your endeavors, or simply protection during difficult times, be sure to express your gratitude.
Spend time in nature
One of the best ways to connect with horse deities is by spending time in nature – whether that means going for a ride in the country or simply taking a leisurely walk through a nearby park.
Many people choose to make offerings of food, flowers, or other items that are dear to them. This is entirely up to you – just be sure that whatever you offer is given with sincerity and gratitude.
Frequently Asked Questions About Horse Deities
Some of the most popular horse deities include Epona, Poseidon, and Athena. Each of these gods and goddesses associated with horses has their own unique stories and equine connections.
Horse deities often represent strength, power, and freedom. They can also be associated with fertility, wisdom, and war.
People worship horse deities in many different ways. Some may offer sacrifices or gifts, while others may simply pray or meditate. There is no wrong way to worship a horse deity, as long as it is done with respect and reverence.
Conclusion About Gods and Goddesses Associated With Horses
As you can clearly see, the role of horses in spirituality and mythology is an interesting one for sure. Horse deities are present in many different cultures, and they have been associated with a diverse range of characteristics. Whether it’s Freya as the goddess of love and fertility or Epona as a protector of horses, these gods and goddesses have played an important part in their respective religions for centuries. No matter which horse deity you choose to honor or worship, their power will surely impact your life in some way! As always, thanks for reading!