Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lord of Wild Things... Cernunnos

Cave Art from Trois Freres, France
Images of a stag headed figure can be found all around Europe, the oldest dating to around 13 000 BCE in France.
Image courtesy Elfwood

Who is this Stag headed fellow? 

 Some scholars claim it's the Celtic God Cernunnos.

Cernunnos is the common name given to the Pagan and Wiccan wild God of the Forest. He also  is known as The Horned God. His name was only written down once in recorded history and that was in the 1st century on an artifact known as the Pillar of the Boatman. He is traditionally depicted as a man with stag antlers, holding a torque in his hand and surrounded by wild animals. He is also known as Lord of Animals.

Very little is known about the origins of Cernunnos, although many scholars have linked him with the Greek god Pan (a Satyr), Minoan Minotaur and the Celtic Green Man. Rather contentiously, Cernunnos has also been linked with the Hindu Lord of the Animals, Pashupati.

Some link Cernunnos to fertility, however, it has been suggested that because he isn't depicted with an erect member, this is unlikely. He holds a neck torque which may represent wealth, and some studies have suggested that he was the god of hunting, as he sits cross legged, ready to jump and hunt. Either way, there are great variety of interpretations have been taken from his image on the Pillar of the Boatman and the Gundestrap cauldron. Which interpretation is correct, one can only guess as Celtic religion was spoken, rather than written, so little has survived to the present time. Thus there are no myths that surround him. He therefore remains something of a enigma to scholars, modern Pagans and Wiccans alike.
Cernunnos on the Gundestrap Cauldren.

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