Celtic God Cernunnos
The ancient ideals, beliefs, and practices of the Celts are preserved through their art, ruins, and mainly, their stories. They weren’t very big on having a written language, which mans that we have to trust the legends, even if they are not concretely sound. Although we can’t be completely certain of some things, there are many thoughts and ideas concerning the mysterious horned god, Cernunnos.
Worshiped across Europe, this deity has shown up on numerous stone carvings, artistic works, and other religious artifacts. Thus, we have a pretty accurate conception of how the Celts viewed his physical image. He is personified into a human male form with stag’s antlers emerging regally from his head like a crown. Cernunnos is also typically portrayed sitting a meditative position surrounded by wild animals.
The Name Symbols Of Cernunnos
Although is Celtic name is unknown, there are several schools of thought regarding who this Latin name may refer to. Some associate Cernunnos with the Celtic “Man in the Tree“, also called Derg Corra. Others think he could be a Latin version of the god Fionn, who was known to have a relationship with deer. While people may disagree on specifics, they all share the belief that this deity is a male entity connected with fertility, hunting, agriculture, growth, and the cycle of the four seasons. We can also break down the specific symbolism of certain aspects of Curnunnos’s image.
Celtic Symbols Of Cernunnos
Cernunnos Symbol : Horns
The first element of Cernunnos’ appearance that we can look at is the dominant horns that sit atop his head. For the Celts, horns, with their captivating presence and grandeur, speak of power, virility, progress, and authority in a male form. For wild animals, they are used as both tools and weapons, in addition to playing role in mating rituals. Whichever beast had the larger antlers or horns would be most likely to dominate, as these head features were thought to symbolize fitness.
Cernunnos’ horns are always symbolized as massive, which represents the magnanimity of his power, fitness, and clout. Clearly, he was viewed as a highly important deity across all cultures who revered him. Horns are also symbolic of the cyclical nature of life, especially when focusing on recycling. Antlers grow during the season of new life, spring, fall off in the fall, and regrow, demonstrating how all living things experience birth, death, and renewal. Symbolically, Cernunnos symbol would have stood for the transience inherent in all of life.
Horns also played a role in a cosmic sense. The pair that Cernunnos wears branch out greatly and symbolize the expanding rays of the sun. Solar symbols are also symbols of power, strength, and light, so this interpretation fits in with the other masculine characteristics associated with him. In later artistic depictions, this god was shown with a crescent atop his head, similar to the horns of a bull. The crescent is indicative of lunar symbolism and a unity with feminine energy. Agriculture and abundance are represented in this symbol, which is fitting for Cernunnos as he is the planter of seeds. Horn symbolism is very diverse, allowing you to approach it from a variety of angles.
Cernunnos Symbol : Torc
Cernunnos is also portrayed holding a torc, an ancient piece of jewelry demonstrative of status: the more ornate, the higher your rank in the clan. Sometimes, he is even shown with two of them, which boosts his status even further. Golden, copper, brass, or silver torcs, which are essentially a thick, nearly-full circle that can be worn around the neck signified high class, wealth, and the perceived deservance of respect. This shows another Celtic occurrence of the half-moon symbol, reusing the concept of femininity and the union of gender energies for the purpose of balance and new life.
Cernunnos Celtic Symbol : Gold Coins
Furthermore, Cernunnos is also shown with a purse filled with gold coins, a sign that he was rich in…something (probably wisdom and power) – a god doesn’t really need gold. He is thought to be a generous god, sharing his riches when they are deserved. As a result, Celts often turned to him when they were in need of abundance and/or wealth.
Cernunnos Celtic Symbol : Snake
The final symbol of Cernunnos came to the Celts in the form of a snake, which he often holds in his hand. Snake symbolism is often difficult to interpret, as you must consider the specific culture and era when studying it. To the ancient Celts, snakes were a tricky one. They possessed a mix of powers representative of both genders, again signifying the male-female balance and the joining of polar energies.
Snakes demonstrate the birth of an entirely new kind of energy that is born from the joining of the two. Thus, it speaks of Cernunnos’ divine power which possesses infinite potential. Additionally, snakes shed their skins after growing, which is directly symbolic of the transitions we each go through in life.
The diversity in interpretation regarding Cernunnos allows you to make your spiritual searching into a personal journey. Your experience and interpretation will be unique and you will strengthen your relationship with Cernunnos.