Horned God

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Image of a horned god. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.

Horned God

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In Paleolithic times the principle male deity was a God of Hunting. Humankind needed success in the hunt in order to survive: the hunt provided skins for clothing, food, and bones for tools and weapons. In cave art, this god is portrayed wearing horns just like those found on the animals the men were hunting. That horned image can almost be considered a prototype for what eventually became known as the God of the Witches. Over time he developed into a general God of Nature, but he is still frequently depicted with horns or antlers in representations used by modern day Wiccans.

The Romans dubbed the Horned God Cernunnos, meaning "the Horned One." This name was adopted in many areas, often shortened to Cerne (and modified to Herne in some locations).

By the Bronze Age, horns had become a sign of divinity, and horned gods were fairly common in areas such as Mesopotamia. The number of horns came to indicate the importance of the god, with seven horns representing the acme of divinity—hence the seven horns of the Divine Lamb in the Bible's Book of Revelations. Interestingly enough, in the Bible, Satan is never described as having horns, although the Church tried to equate him with the God of the Witches because of the presence of those appendages.

In Wicca, the Horned God is regarded as the Lord of the Underworld and of Death and all that comes after, as well as of Life and of Nature. His symbol is the Sun, as the Goddess's symbol is the Moon. He rules over the "dark half of the year"—the winter months—while the Goddess rules over the summer months. At certain Wiccan rituals, the High Priest plays the part of the God by donning a Horned Helmet. Different Witchcraft traditions have different names for this deity. Some use Pan, the horned woodland deity of Arcadia; some use Herne, the hunter of England; and others use Cernunnos. As with the Goddess, there are many names by which he is known.

The Horned God is very much a god of fertility and, from the earliest cave paintings, is frequently depicted as an ithyphallic figure. In Stone Age society, the fertility of the animals was important, because the more fertile the animals were, the more there was to hunt. Human fertility—for the continuation of the race— was equally important. And, with the coming of agriculture, fertility of the crops became important as a source of food. These are the main reasons that both the god and the goddess are fertility deities.

When the altar at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was being repaired near the end of the eighteenth century, a much older altar was discovered beneath it. On it was carved a representation of the Horned God, an obviously pagan deity. At the behest of Pope Gregory the Great, in a letter to Abbot Mellitos in 601 CE, all "well built" pagan temples were to be cleansed and consecrated and converted to Christian churches. Open sites where pagans were traditionally gathered to worship were supposed to serve as the site of new Christian churches.

References in periodicals archive ?
Another 1,144 people in the region describe themselves as Wiccans - a pagan religion often involving the worship of a Moon Goddess and a Horned God, which also sometimes involves the practise of magic.
Cirlot in his Dictionary of Symbols itemizes many other instances that link the horn with nature's fertility and gods--the Cilician horned god of agriculture holding handfuls of corn, the African rhino's horn prized as an aphrodisiac, the horn as decorative motif on Asian temples, the cycle of the Zodiac initiated by Aries and Taurus, both horned.
His soul would be offered to the ancient horned God known as the Ooser if the latter would make an old farmer virile again.
One puff and he's transported into a bisexual Polynesian disco-fantasy wonderland where barely clad chorines assume Busby Berkeley formations and the horned god Pan (Cumming again) gets .
Tyneside celebrations get under way with the Horned God making his way from Gateshead to Newcastle
Other internationally-rated performers appearing over the New Year across Newcastle Gateshead include Deabru Beltzak from Bilbao with "Drums of Fire" in which the horned god Aker takes to the street surrounded by his ram-like escort of percussionists; American Scot Jenerik, a sound and performance artist, and Eric Hobijn from Holland, a performance and installation artist who creates large-scale fire sculptures.
We managed to take in some of the highlights, like the green- horned god from Enkomi and the strange figurines displayed as they were found at Agra Irini, 2000 of them gathered around a single altar.
They organised themselves into covens to worship a horned god and/or an earth-mother goddess.
The Cosmic Life Force is unknowable in itself but has been expressed since Neolithic times in various manifestations or masks (the goddess, the horned god, etc.
His comments on the horned god of the north, the Devil in Islam, the Devil in literature and on modern exorcists are, for example, somewhat superficial.
Both males and females are respected in the symbolic Earth Goddess and male horned God, Pan.
15pm: Deabru Baltzak, the Drums of Fire, from Bilbao, Spain, with the horned god Aker taking to the street surrounded by an escort of percussionists with pyrotechnic effects.