Cernunnos is a Celtic horned god. There were many horned gods throughout Europe. It is believed that Cernunnos is sort of a final representation of all of these gods. But remnants of horned gods were found in many early European areas not just in the UK. For example, German and French cultures had a prominent horned god figure. The horned god is the god of the wilderness and the beasts. He is King of the forest. He is often seen seated in a meditative position, in trance and tranquillity, surrounded by the beasts of the forest. He is an embodiment of the sacred masculine. The god of the hunt. He is said to be full of love and compassion and able to communicate with all the creatures of the wood.
Cernunnos is often depicted with an erection (which I did not include in my image.) However, this is an important thing to take note of about his character. He is sitting in all his power full. This can only be done when one embraces all aspects of self, including sacred sexuality. It also signifies his creative potency, and ability to impregnate the fertile Mother. To bring new life to this world. Unlike in Christianity, where the male spiritual role model (Jesus Christ) is instead celebrated for is his piety, purity, and celibacy. In my opinion this is repressing a large part of the masculine psyche, and taking the sacred out of sexuality. When sexuality is viewed as something to be “overcome,” or hidden away, we loose authentic connection to self. Cernunnus is not only telling us this part of us is alright to express, he is telling us it’s essential for our well being and wholeness.
When I talk about the “masculine” that does not just mean people who identify as male. Like I point out in other posts, we each have both masculine and a feminine nature within us. The Animus and the Anima. We may draw on each of these sides at various times in our lives depending on what qualities are needed at the moment.
In Druid training the first year is about connecting with the Goddess, the second year the God. Meaning our own personal ideals and representations of these. When I did a journey (similar to a guided meditation) to meet the “god” I had no idea what to expect. I was met by (I came to find out later) Cernunnus. He was absolutely magnificent, he sat at the base of a great tree, perhaps the tree of life. He was surrounded by greenery, vines, moss, wild untamed growth bursting all around him. The animals were close by too, surrounding him. He could communicate with them telepathically. He was in a state of profound trance. There was so much power and energy coming from him I was nearly blown away. The wild world responded to his every cue. As he spoke streams of poetry flowed from his mouth and as they did the world changed with them. In other words he spoke it and it became manifest. He was the god of the hunt, yes, but at the same time had tremendous compassion and tender love for all the animals. He simply understood the cycles of life and death, and the necessity of one beast to die and be eaten so another may live. He was also extremely protective of all his animal “children.”
I will note here that “protective” is a quality I consider masculine. Although we all know not to mess with a Mama bear, I believe Mama bear is tapping into her masculine side at that moment. I’m not going to get into the laundry list of masculine and feminine qualities here as that may come at later date with my “Wholehearted” yin/yang heart shrine write up.
That experience with Cernunnos left a great impression on me about what the sacred masculine is. That was several years ago. Recently I had a dream about Cenunnos. I wanted to honour him in some way. This shrine sits at the base of a tree in a grove of giant, old maples. It just felt like it’s where he wanted to be. Back in the Autumn a friend and I performed a ceremony. We wanted to “manifest” certain things in our lives. I had just come out of a two year intentionally single/ celibate period of my life. I had decided I was ready to try again with the whole relationship thing. One of the things I asked to manifest in my life was my next life partner or “soul-mate.” The ceremony was powerful and at the end I collected some of the coals for she and I to use if we wanted to bring that energy we had created to another fire in the future. I was intuitively drawn (pun intended) to use a piece of that very coal to draw Cernunnos here. I think in a way I was putting a signal out to the universe; I want to find the god to my goddess. I want to find my male counterpart. Perhaps that was partially the subconscious reason for this shrine’s construction. So mote it be.