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Working with the God Cernunnos

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Cernunnos is a Celtic God associated with nature, fertility and the wild. Sometimes known as the ‘lord of wild things’ he embodies the untamed forces of nature and the cyclical rhythms of life. The God Cernunnos is thought to have Gaulish origins and is often depicted with antlers, a symbol of the primal and mysterious aspects of the natural world.

Who is the god Cernunnos?

Cernunnos is the guardian of the wild and his influence extends across ancient woodlands and other untamed landscapes. He is often accompanied by animals such as stags, boars and serpents, which represent the energy and wildness of nature. As the guardian of the wild, the god Cernunnos invites us to explore our own untamed spirits and establish a connection with the primal energies of the Earth.

Cernunnos is often pictured with a majestic set of antlers, symbolizing virility, strength and the perpetual cycle of renewal. In Celtic lore, these antlers connect him to the wild essence of the stag and represent the unbridled forces of the wilderness.

While there aren’t extensive myths or stories directly featuring the god Cernunnos, he is often depicted in Celtic art and iconography. The most notable representation of Cernunnos comes from the Gundestrup Cauldron, a Celtic artefact discovered in Denmark. In this depiction, Cernunnos is shown seated and surrounded by animals, emphasizing his connection to the natural world.

In contemporary Pagan and Neopagan circles, Cernunnos has experienced a revival from these ancient roots. Modern practitioners, drawn to the divine masculine and the energies of nature, choose to work with Cernunnos in rituals that honour life’s cycles, celebrate abundance and embrace the untamed spirit within. As we work with Cernunnos, we discover a timeless guardian, whose antlered silhouette beckons us to explore the wild, both within and without.

Working with the Celtic God Cernunnos

Many people feel drawn to work with Cernunnos and his wild nature. You do not have to be of Celtic origin to honour this ancient deity, the spirit of the wild masculine abounds in many cultures and religions. Both men and women can benefit from reconnecting with nature and our primal, instinctual side, too. The Divine masculine is in no way similar to misogynistic or patriarchal representations of the masculine. It is part of a natural balance that both men and women should seek to honour and embrace.

Here are some ways you can begin working with Cernunnos.

Nature walks and meditation

Spend time in nature, particularly in forests or places with a strong natural presence. Practice mindful walks and meditation, attuning yourself to the energy of the land. Consider this a form of communion with Cernunnos, connecting with his wild and primal aspects.

Create an altars

Create an altar dedicated to the god Cernunnos. Use symbols such as antlers, acorns, or other representations associated with nature and the wild. Offerings might include herbs, fruits, or items found in nature. Keep the space sacred and use it as a focal point for your connection with Cernunnos.

Rituals for growth and transformation

Cernunnos is often associated with transformation and the cyclical nature of life. Design rituals that reflect personal growth, change and transformation. This could involve releasing old habits, setting intentions for personal development, or celebrating milestones in your journey.

Cernunnos-inspired art and creativity

Tap into your creative side and express your connection with the god Cernunnos through art. Create drawings, paintings, or sculptures that embody the essence of the wild, nature and the divine masculine. Working with clay, or objects found in nature can be a particularly good way to connect with Cernunnos on a deeper level.

Wildcrafting and herbalism

Explore the world of herbalism and wildcrafting to connect with the natural world. Learn about plants associated with the god Cernunnos, their properties, and how they can be used in rituals, medicines and teas, or as offerings.

Study Celtic mythology

Immerse yourself in Celtic mythology and learn more about the god Cernunnos. Explore his stories, associations and the cultural context in which he was revered. While the myths and stories around Cernunnos are limited, many ancient artefacts have been found that depict this God. This knowledge can deepen your understanding and connection with this deity.

Cernunnos symbols

Cernunnos is often depicted with various symbols that represent his attributes and powers. While specific symbols may vary, here are some commonly associated with the god Cernunnos.

Antlers and the stag

Cernunnos is closely associated with various animals, particularly the stag, which is often depicted at his side. The stag represents strength, fertility, cycles of nature and a connection to the wild and spiritual realms. The stag is a traditional hunting target, and successful hunting was crucial for the survival of ancient communities.

Many representations of the god Cernunnos show him with antlers. Antlers represent virility, the cycles of nature and the wild spirit. They are a powerful symbol of his connection to the animal kingdom and the untamed aspects of nature. By embodying the stag, the god Cernunnos takes on the role of a provider, symbolizing abundance and sustenance for those who revere him.

Trees and Green Man imagery

Trees, especially those with lush foliage, are symbols of life and regeneration. The god Cernunnos is sometimes associated with the Green Man, a symbol of rebirth and the cyclical nature of life. Both images emphasize the deity’s connection to nature.

Horned serpents

In some depictions, Cernunnos is shown with a serpent with horns, emphasizing his connection to both the earth and the underworld. The horned serpent is a symbol of transformation and primal energy.

Bag of coins or purse

In some depictions, Cernunnos holds a bag or purse, symbolizing wealth, abundance, and the material aspects of life. This connects him to prosperity and the gifts of the earth.

Drinking horn or cornucopia

Cernunnos is sometimes depicted holding a drinking horn or cornucopia, emphasizing celebrations, feasting and the enjoyment of life. The horn is a symbol of abundance and the joy found in the sustenance of nature.

Triple crescent moon

Some representations of the god Cernunnos show a triple-crescent moon, which may symbolize the lunar cycles and the interconnectedness of the divine with the changing phases of the moon.

Tattoos and body decorations

Cernunnos may be adorned with tattoos or body decorations, emphasizing his primal and untamed nature. These markings could represent a connection to ancient practices and rituals.

When working with Cernunnos, consider incorporating these symbols into your rituals, altar setups, or meditative practices to enhance your connection with the deity and his energies.

Cernunnos Connection Ritual: Embracing the Wild Within

What you need

Altar Setup

Antler representation or image of the god Cernunnos
Images or symbols of animals associated with Cernunnos (stag, boar, serpent)
Green and brown candles
Fresh greenery or symbols of nature
Offering bowl

Offerings

Fruits such as apples or berries
Nuts and seeds
A piece of bread or grains
Wine or water

Optional tools

Drum or other rhythmic instruments
Small pieces of paper and pen for intentions
Music with natural sounds (birds, flowing water)

What to do

Find a quiet and comfortable space either indoors or in nature.

Set up your altar, placing the antler representation or image of Cernunnos as the focal point.

Begin by cleansing the ritual space and yourself. You can cleanse with incense or by ringing a bell or clapping your hands.

As you light the green and brown candles. Speak a heartfelt invocation to Cernunnos, expressing your intention to connect with the wild and divine energies.

Spend a few moments in quiet meditation, focusing on your breath. Imagine roots extending from your body into the earth, grounding you in nature’s energy.

Hold a piece of bread or fruit in your hands. As a symbolic gesture, take a small bite, acknowledging the essence of the earth and the cycle of life

Place the rest of the bread or fruit, plus any other offerings in the offering bowl. As you do this, express gratitude for the abundance of the earth and ask for Cernunnos’s presence.

Write down on small pieces of paper any intentions or aspects of your life you wish to align with the energies of Cernunnos. Place these papers on the altar.

If you like, use a drum or other rhythmic instrument to create a heartbeat-like rhythm. Allow yourself to move and dance freely, feeling the wild energy within and around you.

Spend some time in silent reflection. Be receptive to any insights, feelings, or messages that may arise.

Thank Cernunnos for his presence and blessings and extinguish the candles. Express your gratitude for the connection you’ve experienced.

Ground yourself by placing your hands on the earth or imagining any excess energy flowing back into the ground.

I hope you have enjoyed this introduction to the god Cernunnos. You can read more about working with deities here.

If there are any other Gods or Goddesses you would like to work with let me know in the comments below. I’ll offer any insights from my practice and experience in a further blog post.

Eva May Baker
Eva May Baker
Hello, and welcome to The City Witch, your portal into the magical world that exists within the hustle and bustle of city life. My name is Eva Baker and I am an urban folk witch, author and your guide on this magical journey.

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