Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Cernunnos – the Horned God

It’s now Day 27 of my April daily blog posts to do with the writing of Before Beltane.

Cernunnos is the topic of the day. Cernunnos is thought to have been the horned god of the Celtic world. The derivation of the name is unclear but may have an association with the word for horn. References to the god have survived in only a few inscriptions and a few images thought to refer to the god Cernunnos show him wearing antlers. He is deemed to have been the god of the forest and of its creatures.

Gundestrup Cauldron

Varying references name him as a peaceful god, the lotus-style seated position on the Gundestrup Cauldron an indication of this. Other portrayals of Cernunnos are of a fickle god of the forest who can be nasty to humans who disturb his environment in some way.

I saw the incredible Gundestrup cauldron when the Celts Exhibition was on at the British Museum in London (perhaps 2016?), and it is truly awesome to view. Although it depicts objects that were used in central and western Europe, it was found in a bog near Gundestrup in Denmark, which would have been beyond the northern boundary of what would normally be assessed as the Celtic regions of Europe. However, it’s thought that the designs suggest that it was not made in the area but was fashioned much further east. The strange animals and lotus pose of the antlered figure give an Asiatic impression. The scenes all around the cauldron are thought to depict ancient tales that have been lost to us.

I can't legally show on here any of the images of Cernunnos that you'll find on Etsy, or other internet sites, but since Cernunnos features in neo-paganism, there are plenty of highly artistic representations of him. 

Cernunnos is mentioned in Nara's story in Before Beltane when she takes a couple of the younger acolyte priestesses into the forest to give them further instructions in stalking and hunting. Their aim that morning is to kill a young deer that will become a focus of their feast for their Festival of Imbolc (1st Feb). 

Happy Reading.

There are only about 36 more hours (as I write this) to Pre-Order  Before Beltane at the bargain price of £1.99. Launch day is 29th April 2022!


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