I have for years felt a pull toward the Stag-Horned God, but I admit, I’ve been reluctant to wholeheartedly pursue the relationship. Lately, though, I’ve been reading about Traditional Witchcraft, and some of what I am learning is giving me the spine tingling Yes! This! that lets me know that I should pay attention…
I tried for a while to get to know Cernunnos, but it never really went anywhere. I mean, Cernunnos is cool and everything, but honestly I mostly picked him originally as an Antlered God because he was “Celtic,” and an “authenticly ancient” figure.
Even though Cernunnos himself has never really called to me on a deep level, I’ve always been intrigued by the multifaceted Horned One, the God so old yet young.
The sorcerer of the cave-wall, dancing with trance-wide eyes. And oh! Herne, Herne, Herne the hunter, riding tine-crowned across skies wracked with storm, hounds and lost souls baying in his wake.
The thing is, I’ve never seen “my” Horned God as a fertility Deity – I feel no calling toward the Wiccan Cycle; those myths of the Horned One’s love-dance with a Great Goddess that turns the world’s green wheel.
(It’s all of life/death that turns the wheel after all, the golden key and the iron, the rot of flesh and the birth of soil, the nourishing rain and the wearing down of mountains, “the force through which the green fuse drives the flower.”)
I was reluctant to get to know the Horned One for so long in part because I wasn’t sure what his “real” face was supposed to be, the “truest” or “most authentic.” But I have always known by what name I should call him with ecstatic voice, I just didn’t admit it to myself because this name isn’t “ancient,” was never of old the name of a God.
First mentioned by William Shakespear, but surely a name based on local folk tradition-
It is, and always has been Herne, the Hunter – dark cloaked, bedecked in chains, hollow eyes far seeing, a caller of the dead and keeper of the ways between th e worlds. I will no longer deny that I should call out to him, my fears of being authentic enough be damned. I will hang upon my forked stang his stag-mask that I long ago hammered out of copper, I will deck his horns with Cunning Flame.
I will kneel and call him Father.