CERNUNNOS     (Pan-Celtic) [KER-noo-nos] Known to all Celtic areas in one form or another. The Horned God; God of Nature; God of the Underworld and the Astral Plane; Great Father; “the Horned One”. The Druids knew him as Hu Gadarn, The Horned God of fertility. He was portrayed sitting in a lotus position with horns or antlers on his head, long curling hair, a beard, naked except for a neck torque, and sometimes holding a spear and shield. His symbols were the stag, ram, bull, and horned serpent. Sometimes called Belatucadros and Vitiris. Virility, fertility, animals, physical love, nature, woodlands, reincarnation, crossroads, wealth, commerce, warriors. Cernunnos is a Greek name, one of the many names of the European Great Horned God. Whatever his original Celtic name might have been has been lost to history.

Cernunnos appears to have been recognized in the region of Gaul, that is now central France, as the God Dispater. He is typically drawn as a man bearing the antlers of a stag, not necessarily representing an animal spirit but a deity closely involved with animals and one that can transform instantly into animal shape. In the Celtic world, horns and antlers were generally regarded as symbols of virility and fertility. On the Celtic Gundestrup Bowl from Denmark, Cernunnos is attended by a boar – an animal revered by the Celts for its speed, pugnacity and magickal connotations – and on the same vessel he seems to be associated with a bull. This later link reappears on a stone relief from Reims. Cernunnos is also depicted in association with snakes, sometimes bearing rams’ horns, as on a stone relief found at Cirencester in England. His legs may be replaced by snakes, and at Sommerecourt (Haute Marne) a relief was found depicting the god in company with an unnamed goddess holding a basket and feeding a snake. The snake symbolism is generally associated with rejuvenation. Other reliefs show him holding purses of money.

He is equated with the Greek God Pan whose name means ‘all’. Both Cerunnos and Pan became the prototype for the Christian anti-God, Satan. This was not a judgment on the attributes of these deities, but rather a device for frightening the European populace away from the Old Religion.

Also: Cernawain; Cernenus; Herne the Hunter; Kernunos
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