Celtic Horned God

Gunnora Hallakarva gunnora at bga.com
Wed Oct 23 16:02:51 PDT 1996

>Does anyone have any good source material on Herne/Cernunous, the Celtic
>Horned God?  I'm doing research for the Stag field for Lyonnese.

An excellent source would be a book called "Pagan Celtic Britain."  I gave
my copy to Mari ferch Rathtyen, and do not have the bibliographical details.
Mari, can you post the info?

I will give some info from:

Ellis-Davidson, Hilda R.  Myths and Symbols in Pagan Europe: Early
Scandinavian and Celtic Religions.  Syracuse: Syracuse Univ. Press.  1988.

"One is the horned deity known as 'Cernunnos' (Horned or Peaked One),
because the incomplete name '...ernunnos' has been made out on a stone altar
from Paris on which the horned deity appears.  His horns resemble those of a
stag, and he may have been the guardian of the forest animals.  He may be
the same as the bearded god on the Gundestrop cauldron, although the latter
is without horns, who has been shown holding up a stag in either hand.  The
god with horns is also shown on one of the main panels of the same cauldron,
sitting cross-legged with a huge stag beside him, whose horns are a close
match to his own; this deity holds a serpent in one hand and a neck-ring in
the other, presumably symbolizing healing and wealth.  He is shown again on
a stone from Rheims with a sack of coins, indicating that he could grant
prosperity, but can be distinguished from Mercury, who here appears at his
side.  A link between a horned deity and serpents at a much earlier date has
often been pointed out in the huge antlered figure with serpents in a
carving of about the fourth century BC at Val Camonica in Italy.  How far we
can assume that a horned deity is one particular god, however, is uncertain,
since horns were a recognized symbol of power and a link with the wild
creatures of the natural world." p. 209

"The horned god in Gaul, generally known as Cernunnos, is not only depicted
as Lord of the Animals but also as a dispenser of wealth, holding a
neck-ring or a sack from which coins pour out." p. 121

The Viking Answer Lady cannot let this all pass by without also noting that
Freyr, the Vikings' ithyphallic god of fertility and wealth, is connected
with the stag as well.  When Freyr fell in love with Gerdr and sent his
faithful servant Skirnir to woo the giant maiden for him, the god gave
Skirnir his sword.  Afterward, Freyr's only weapon is the antler of a stag,
with which he will fight at Ragnarok.



Gunnora Hallakarva
Ek eigi visa (th)ik hversu o(dh)lask Lofstirrlauf-Kruna
heldr hversu na Hersis-A(dh)al

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