The night of Giamolitus, she came to me in my dreams.
I came to in a large plain with a few sparse stands of trees along a wide, shallow river. Beyond the river lay a snow-capped mountain range, standing imposing and rocky, taking up so much of the sky in front of me.
The land was quiet, save the soft sound of the river running before me. The quiet didn’t last long however, as the ground underneath my feet began to shake slightly, and back to the left of me, a low rumbling sound grew closer and closer.
I swung around towards the noise. A cloud of dust approached me, and it quickly became apparent that it was a herd of horses. Most of them blended in with the dust with coats of mottled browns and muddied greys, but the horse leading them was a pristine dappled silver-grey. I couldn’t see their legs; it was like they floated across the ground as they ran straight for me.
The herd froze behind the lead horse as they came to a stop in front of me. I blinked, and the dappled silver-grey horse, a mare, had transformed. A woman’s torso floated in the air before me, her hands crossed in front of her chest. Her face was extremely pale and round, with large, piercing brown eyes. The mare’s guise draped over her like a hooded cape, its eyes open, its hooves hanging down at her sides. It was incredibly eerie, and while her presence made me shiver, I did not look away from her gaze.
“You have not seen my son.” It was a statement of fact, not a question, so I remained silent. She regarded me so steadily, I felt her gaze in the back of my skull. It couldn’t have been more than a minute however before she nodded. I bowed to her, but when I looked up, she had already morphed back into the silver-grey mare and rejoined the herd, to continue the hunt for her son. The herd ran towards the river, not too far away.
As they began to cross, I murmured “May Ritona’s running waters guide you,” but it wasn’t just me speaking. I spoke in unison with her voice, which echoed across the sparse plain and rumbled in my chest. I placed my hand on my heart, and once they had crossed the river fully, I went down to the river bank.
The hoof-prints in the riverbank mud were real as they could be, and I placed my hand in one gently. Mud-in-Hoof. Her voice again, just over my shoulder, though I knew she couldn’t be there. I lost my focus in the river water in front of me, flowing lazily. The soft outline of a lady gazed back at me, smiling gently. Here, Ritona, and just now, Eponâ, with mud-in-her-hooves.
The next night, I came to at the riverbank. A stand of pine trees stood behind me, and one stood just across the river as well, shielding this particular spot from the rolling wind of the plains. I leaned back for a moment, enjoying the soft sun on my face. However, something about me was different. I sat back up and went to rub my eyes, except, I didn’t have hands.
I had hooves, full of caked-in, riverbank mud, and it felt okay to have them.
Behind me, there was a warming presence. I looked up to see a woman. Her long hair was pulled back in a very severe, high ponytail, and she had an extremely high forehead. Her brown eyes still seemed to look right through me. Again, she wore the grey mare’s guise as a cloak, but it was less imposing, more toned-down this time.
She sat just behind my left shoulder, as I washed my hooves in the lazy river and spoke about my life. While her presence remained warming, there was an occasional eye-roll as she shook her head and smiled as I talked. I addressed her, as the mud came loose from my hooves, as “Goddess Eponâ, mud in the hooves.”
We faded away, still on that riverbank, in the gentle sun.
The third night in a row, I came to in a field along the wide and lazy river. No mountains, but stands of trees around the edge of the field and along the riverbank. I walked along the riverbank, under the shade of the trees and the dappled light of the sun.
I crouched down by the riverbank at an inviting spot. Looking into the slow-moving water, I saw her again, the dappled silver-grey mare an apparition in sandy bottom, small fish occasionally swimming through her countenance. Time slowed down, as I watched the mare grazing, unbothered by the world. Eventually, I stuck my hands into the river, and down into the sandy bottom, thanking Eponâ with mud in her hooves. Everything felt extremely peaceful.
When I awoke in the morning, it was the first time I’ve described myself as feeling “well-rested” to my mood tracking app in almost three years.
I have been seeking a relationship with Eponâ since I came into the Gaulish community almost two years ago. I said hello and offered a few different times, and the response back from her was extremely indifferent or noncommittal. No matter necessarily; I’ve been polytheist for 15 years, and have encountered deities where the timing wasn’t right and I didn’t get that clue-by-four for a while. I pick up on it a bit quicker now after repeated whacks in the face. If it was not time yet, then it just wasn’t time.
Given my very low-key Giamolitus this year, I didn’t expect this to be the time, either. My offering was quick; I was trying to pull-off a pandemic 30th birthday party and then I was traveling across the state to see family for the first time in a year. My mind was definitely mostly elsewhere.
But, I don’t get to pick the time. The first dream was amazing; then, the day after, I picked up a piece of hematoid quartz from one of my favorite crystal shops for my birthday, and all I could think of as I looked into it was “There’s mud in this hoof.” It has big Eponâ energy. The thought of muddy hooves wouldn’t leave me alone.
So, I brainstormed an epithet to address her with. Uracallios, “mud-hoof.” Considering the visceral nature of the mud, a very Earth-based substance, and her concern with my discussion about my life and life circumstances, she seems very action-driven here on Bitus. She may travel between the three worlds with ease, but as Eponâ Uracallios, she is focused on happenings of the physical plane, and on being a catalyst for action. One cannot do without getting their hands dirty… or their hooves muddied.
As to her hunt for Maponos on Giamolitus, from my perspective, her appearance here firmly seats the hunt within the realm of Bitus. I personally suspect that he’s somewhere within Bitus perhaps in the vein of Apollo as the divine herdsman, serving Admetus for a year, a recompense for an action he has taken. Perhaps his time of recompense is now up, and he is late returning home. Eponâ is traveling the land seeking him, asking if anyone has seen him. If one does not answer her truthfully, she would reckon with them. But if one does answer her truthfully about his whereabouts, she passes them by. Eponâ Uracallios is truth-seeking, a mother of action, someone who isn’t afraid to get messy during the pursuit of something.
Ritona’s involvement is also interesting. As goddess of the fords, she would see all who crossed the rivers. She would likely hear all who crossed the rivers. With this knowledge, she may play a key role in discovering Maponos’ whereabouts, whether she plays a role similar to Helios telling Demeter where Persephone went, or just simply letting Eponâ know what she has seen and heard, as clues to where he could be.