Herne (Cernunnos) the Forest Lord

The ancient Forest Lord has appeared and made himself known by many names to nearly every culture throughout time. He is Cernunnos, a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. He is Herne the Hunter, and he is here at the Eye, represented by a new statue.

Forest Lord Statue HerneClick Here for more Images

Cernunos Herne Statue

This incredible new depiction of Herne, Cernununnos, the Horned God, is reproduced in cold cast bronze resin.  He is crowned with Antlers and holds a staff of wood spiraling at the tip. The snake, representing wisdom, the underworld, and reincarnation is at his feet.  The leaves and moss are hand-tinted.  He is the untamed Horned God of the Animals and the leaf-covered Green Man, Guardian of the Green World. The statue stands 10.5″ tall. Click here for more views of the statue

Cernnunos is mentioned by Shakespeare, as Herne the Hunter, the guardian of Windsor Forest, the Royal Wood. In this aspect it is said that he appears as Guardian of the Realm during times of National emergency and crisis. In modern times he is often called the God of the Witches and embodies uncorrupted masculine energy. His is a masculine energy that is fully-developed and in balance with the natural world.

Lore & Myth

As both Hunter and Hunted, The Forest Lord represents the great mystery of life feeding life. The Forest and fields are filled with his Mystery. He is the God of the underworld and astral planes, born at the winter solstice. He appears in spring as the young Son, child of the Goddess, embodiment of the budding, growing, greening world.

In summer He bursts forth as the Green Man, vibrant, pulsing with life, and becomes the consort of the Green Lady Goddess. It is in autumn, the dying time, that perhaps we see the Horned God at his most mature. As Master of the Sacrificial Hunt, as both Hunted and Hunter, His is the full life that is given in service of new life. He is the sacrificed god, who journeys to the Underworld, but then returns to the Earth from which he was born. The seeds of light released from his decaying body will quicken Her womb with a new Sun once again, thus continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation.

The most famous depiction of the Horned Diety or Shaman is on the side of the Gundestrup Cauldron discovered in Denmark, on May 28, 1891. In theories of Celtic origin, the figure is often identified as Cernunnos and occasionally as Mercury. But images of the Horned one go farther back. Our prehistoric ancestors knew him as a shape-shifting, shamanic god of the Hunt. Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos’ origins date to those times.

This statue of the Forest Lord brings the best of all those depictions together in a statue of incredible detail, and maybe a little bit of Oberon, Lord of Faerie, as well.

Get Forest Lord Statue

Other Depictions of the Forest Lord

  • Romans sometimes portrayed him with three cranes flying above his head.
  • He was known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn.
  • Pan, the lusty Satyr god of the Greeks, is another aspect of the Horned God.

As Herne, He became a modern star in “Robin of Sherwood” on British television in the early eighties, as the shamanic mentor of Robin the Hooded Man, and this seems to be how everybody remembers him. In the series he is portrayed as an Anglo-Saxon hunting god, based on the myth and lore of the Forest Lord, Cernunnos, etc.

The Legend of Herne

There is an old tale goes that Herne the Hunter,
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg’d horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood, and shakes a chain
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eld
Receiv’d, and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.

“The Merry Wives of Windsor”
Act 4 Scene 4
William Shakespeare

To Be or Not to Be . . . Together

Over the years I’ve heard much debate (and even argument) over the up and down sides of being a solitary practitioner as opposed to working in some sort of group, whether it’s defined as a coven or not. Of course, some paths tend to be made more for group work than for someone practicing alone, a state which then is often considered just a stop-gap until you find another group to hook up with. While other paths are more conductive to solitary practice, falling into alignment with the thought that the villages witches and cunning folk of old were loners, outsiders even. Still, a few paths seem to fall somewhere between the two, with those who tend to practice on their lonesome occasionally getting together with birds of a like solitary feather for special occasions.

I’ve known those who fall into all of the these categories and, after hearing their tales of triumph and woe, have come to consider that all have their good and bad points.

A person who is primarily solitary has no one else to rely on magickally speaking and no one to sound a warning bell should they be in danger of falling over the edge of sanity or good sense. However, they also can be made stronger by having just themselves to count on. They can avoid the in-fighting and politics that often plague group work, but it may take them longer to get where they are going because there is less of a power base to build with. The only knowledge they have is their own–and any spirits or Gods they connect to–but they also don’t have to fight to get themselves heard and the knowledge that they work with can be as personal as they like it to be. The symbols and rituals don’t have to work with anyone else’s worldview.

A person who operates out of a group has more folks they can rely upon, both to aid in magickal spells and in advice and support in all aspects of their lives. Of course, that can also be bad if they start to use that group as a crutch or if the group–or the Priest or Priestess–begin demanding undue amounts of control over their lives. Also, in a tight-knit group, everyone else’s problems can become their problem. But they also have more of a resource of potential problem-solvers because of the wide background and talents that each person can bring to the mix. When a group works well and is focused on a singular goal it can work wonders. Conversely, when it is broken it can become a hell on earth for those involved.

But what about the idea of solitaries who sometimes come together for a specific goal or event? Personally, that’s what I feel the village witch or cunning folk were all about. For the most part, they practiced alone and in service to their local community. I mean, how many witches can a really tiny village support anyway? Yet, as needed and when the call went out, these outsiders gathered in the wild lands beyond the boundaries of the villages, in the land beyond the boundaries of the Seen world, and did what work as was required of them. As a group. Probably not always easily, for each was used to being their own boss, but knowing it needed to be done and that they were the ones to do it.

I’ve heard the comment more than once that getting Pagans or Witches together to do something is akin to “herding cats.” Yet, it must be pointed out, that cats do gather into working groups with a structure. They’re called “prides” and even domestic cats will form them under certain circumstances. The purpose of a pride is to protect the group as a whole. Yet, when such prides do form, a hierarchy tends to come with it–alpha males and alpha females and so on down. It’s not just the behavior of certain felines either for primates are even more known to create strong social hierarchies and structures.

Considering that human beings are as much social creatures as other primates as a rule and, in groups, the jostling for position is entirely natural and so pretty damn inevitable, perhaps the real issue is not that some Witches crave being solitary and some do not, but that in any group made up of Witches, Pagans, and Cunning Folk the issues that arise do so because there are just too many Alphas in the cauldron. After all, part of being a Witch is having a strong sense of self, will, and opinions galore, and not being afraid to express them.

Maybe, the problem then–if problem it is–is that too many of us want to be King or Queen of the castle. That, being natural outsiders in what might be termed “ordinary society,” we find it hard to work and play nice with others. Most especially others of our kind. We’re all used to getting our own way, or putting our will and strength behind trying very hard to do so. Yet, if we can find something we believe in enough (more than getting our own way) we can still come together to work for a greater good. If we can come anywhere close to agreeing on what that is.

Sometimes. When the moon is just right. Or Mercury isn’t retrograde. Or the runes or tarot cards aren’t telling you to stay in tonight. Sometimes. When the pride needs taking care of…us cats all together, making a big noise and trying to get things right, even if we hiss and spit at each other a lot in the process.

© 2009, Veronica Cummer

In Defense of Fluffy Bunnies

by Beth Hansen-Buth

A lot has been said and written about what’s wrong with a variety of pagan or new age spirituality sarcastically referred to as the Fluffy Bunny. Just search Google for Fluffy Bunny Wicca and you will see what I mean. Those who follow the FB tradition may call themselves White Witches, Pink Witches, or Lightworkers. They are different than the black-clothed goth-lings who get their kicks out of frightening their parents and delight in improving their psychic vampire skills. Those would be the Misguided Gothic Vampire Bunnies from Hell or MGVH.

A true Fluffy Bunny believes that God and/or Goddess is good, loves us, and wants what’s best in our lives. Fluffy Bunnies like angels, spirit guides, crystals and flower fairies a great deal; as well as healing just about anything with the help of angels, spirit guides, crystals and flowers. Fluffy bunnies glow with childlike joy when they talk about their Goddess, and work hard at opening their third eye without getting bogged down with complex tools like the Tarot or Runes. Their chakras put out pastel rainbow colors when they are doing their lightworking, which is just about all the time.

Fluffy Bunnies embrace love, life, springtime and high vibrational energies. Sometimes they jingle when they walk because they love wearing bells and baubles which sparkle and tinkle. This often makes many Serious Traditional Wiccans, or STWs, who prefer their Gods imperfect, dark, tricky and unknowable very uncomfortable around the FB’s. Their circles are filled with seriousness, angst, and secrecy, believing that’s how it always has been and always should be. Incapable of lightening up, they shun the light, soft comforting embrace of Fluffy Bunnies.

Those who follow the FB tradition love to hug you any chance they get, wear lots of pink and violet, and smell like flowers. The FBW, or Fluffy Bunny Wiccans, take the wiccan rede “Do as thou wilt an it harm none” to a place closer to “do as thou wilt an it heal and uplift all” in actual practice. They make spells out of nursery rhymes, love children, and enjoy singing happy songs. They sing praise to the Goddess and thank her for her beauty while wearing super sparkley eye shadow and lipstick.

They also offer a gentle bridge to people seeking alternative, new age or pagan spirituality. Sometimes they settle down and learn to dig in the dirt becoming Gaia Pagans, and start wearing earth tones and ecologically friendly make-up. But when the flowers bloom in spring you can see the FB in them come out in all it’s glory. For they are glorious in their joy. When you see the twinkle in the eye of an FB a part of you may even see the Goddess in all her dancing, shining Maiden and Mother-love self, while the Crone and the Hunter are off catching bunny rabbits for the children to play with. Maybe, just maybe, there’s some wisdom to be found in wonder and joy too.

About the Author
Beth Hansen-Buth is a Wiccan, Reiki Practioner, Faeries’ Oracle Reader and Artist with some Druidic tendencies. She thinks it’s high time for grouchy old Wiccans to lighten up and enjoy themselves and hug a Fluffy Bunny or three.

copyright © 2007, Beth Hansen-Buth