God of the Deer

English:

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago, as I was driving one of the many twisting and turning roads of the Adirondacks, I passed a small clearing occupied by two does and two spotted fawns. The youngsters were playing, one feigning a head butt, then scampering away while the other gave chase. It was magical to watch their joyful antics, but unfortunately there was no place to pull over so I couldn’t watch for long.

Later in the fall, on that same road, I had almost-too-close encounters with a few other deer, who I imagine were thanking Cernunnos that I had new brakes in my truck. Who else could be god to the deer except the Celtic horned god, Cernunnos, who has been Lord of the Forest since the Paleolithic times?

10,000 year old cave paintings of Cernunnos have been found in France, and statues and images dating from the fourth century B.C.E. to the first century C.E. have been found in various parts of Europe and the United Kingdom. The most notable depiction of the god is the Gundestrup Cauldron discovered in Denmark.

The horned deity is usually depicted as a mature, bearded man seated cross-legged and is often with animals, particularly the stag. There are no apparent literary references, but it is believed that Cernunnos was the Lord of the Animals, Lord of the Hunt, and/or Lord of the Forest. He has been included in the Neo-Pagan Celtic pantheon as a god of the forest, fertility, life, animals, merchants, and the underworld. Horned gods, including Cernunnos, reflect the seasons of the year through the annual cycle of birth, death and rebirth.

Cernunnos, like the stags, has two distinct energies. When calm, he is the peaceful guardian of clearings, wells and springs at the edge of the wilderness. This energy is playful and joyful, like those spotted fawns. His other aspect is powerful, virile, potent, masculine energy, the energy that changes those playful head butts to full-antlered fighting.

I call on Cernunnos for the protection and preservation of the woodlands and the wild animals, and for knowledge of earthly things. It is easy to honor Cernunnos – simply leave a carrot or an apple in the woods for his deer.

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Our Etsy Shop is Open!

The time between Samhain and Yule flew by. In addition to the normal holiday madness, my husband and I have been busy starting a new business. My husband is a very talented woodworker, specializing in turned wood products. For years, whenever I needed something for my altar, he would make it for me out of wood if he could. I love the feel of wood, especially the local woods of the Adirondacks. I have beautiful pieces all around the house that were turned from logs that came off our woodpile. We’ve joked that at the end of a particularly cold winter we will be burning wood bowls to stay warm.

After much discussion about the growing pile of bowls and other designs, we decided it was time to share the creations with the world. We’ve just opened a shop on Etsy. You can find it here.

Incense Burner

Reclaimed wine bottles make awesome incense burners.

One item that’s there now is a reclaimed wine bottle incense burner. If you saw the post with my Samhain altar, you saw the incense burner he made for me, right in the middle. Burning incense in wine bottles isn’t new, but these are a unique design. The bottom has been cut off the bottle and it sits on a wood base, so I can easily empty the ash. I can also put the glass bottle in the dishwasher to clean off the soot that sticks to the inside, keeping it clear so I’ll always be able to see the smoke swirling around inside.

The other unique feature is the turned wood top. It has a wire spiral underneath to hold the incense stick. As the smoke comes out through the holes in the top, it makes a number of separate curls that snake around each other, sometimes blending together, sometimes going in different directions. It’s mesmerizing to watch and makes an interesting focal point for meditation. I wish I could capture the smoke in a picture that would do it justice.

See the incense burner on Etsy by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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