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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Horned God
'Horned God, with Animals': A Call to Pagan Artists

The Horned, seated among animals.

This iconographic type—long familiar from the Gundestrup Cauldron and the famous “Pashupati” seal from the Indus Valley—is surely known to nearly every modern pagan.

All paganism is, of course, local. What horns the god wears, naturally, vary from place to place. So, too, do the animals gathered around him: stag, wolf, snake (in Denmark), rhinocerous, elephant, and tiger (in Pakistan), beaver, eel, and bear (in Siberia).

If I could paint in pigments, instead of just in words, I would paint a Minnesota “Cernunnos”: antlered, cross-legged, among bison, bear, deer, beaver, cougar, wolf, and loon.

What would a Rocky Mountain Horned look like? What horns would he wear? What animals would attend him?

A Florida Horned? Saskatchewan?

As pagans of the New Pagan Era, it cannot suffice merely to copy Old Pagan art. Rather, it is our responsibility to create a New Pagan Art specific to our own environments.

In days to come, I foresee a temple adorned with a series of canvases or murals depicting the Horned in all his varied environments: Lord of the Broadleaf Forest, of the Boreal Forest, of the Prairie, of the Tundra, of the Mountain, of the Wetland.

What would the Horned of your place look like? What horns does he wear, what beasts would he gather to him?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Domestic and wild: that's Him. He's all about the Divided Self. Hence the two horns.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The horned is lord of the animals both domestic and wild. Around here he would have both the horns of cattle and the antlers of a

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Thrice-Bent God

Do you know what torques me off most* in contemporary depictions of the Horned God?

When the artist gets the legs wrong.

He's called the Thrice-Bent for a reason. In the arms, one bend. In the legs, two.

Check out the picture of the goat leg shown above. Note that the hind legs feature two bends: one pointing forward, one pointing back.

The forward bend is called the knee. The backward bend is called the hock.

When the Horned is shown with the rear legs of an animal (he isn't always), he should have both.

If you love the Horned well enough to depict him, you should love him well enough to look.

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Intimations of a Horned God: A Bronze la Tène Lamp, Circa 100 BCE

Open-form lamp with twisted handle and bull's head finial (bronze)

La Tène culture (3-1st c. BCE)

Switzerland

(Private collection)

 

By the light of this ancient Keltic lamp, the modern witch sees the shadow of the Horned God.

Look closely. What do you see?

With a little imagination, one may read this small (length: 9½") bronze lamp as a bull lying on his back: the lamp's bowl is the bull's body, its twisted handle and decorative finial the bull's neck and head.

Ex tauro, lux: from the bull, light.

Known as Lighber, the light-bearer, the god of the witches is understood by his votaries as the Enlightener, He Who Gives Understanding to his people, Wisdom to the Wise. Between His Horns burns the flame of illumination. If we read this god, Lord of the Beasts, as the collective body of all animal life on planet Earth, this understanding articulates the rise of consciousness, in which material existence gains self-awareness.

To the witch's eye, this ancient artifact embodies this understanding.

Although described in a recent auctioneer's catalog as an oil lamp, in all likelihood this lamp (given its Alpine origin) was fueled by animal fat instead, even—rather poignantly, one thinks—by tallow (beef fat).

From the bull, light.

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In Which Our Intrepid Blogger Comes Across Something Unexpected in a Gay Porn Mag

 Reader alert: Explicit gay sex

 

My friend hands me the open magazine.

“Steve, you have got to see this.”

I've never much been one for written erotica, but when I see the title of the story, my jaw drops.

The Cult of the Horned God.

So: our hero, a studly young anthropologist fresh out of grad school, has gone to rural France to study contemporary survivals of the Cult of the Horned God.

He's been staying in a farmhouse owned by two brothers: one blonde and one dark. Don't worry, you'll find something, they keep telling him, but the entire summer has gone by and he has turned up absolutely nothing. Watching the brothers swim naked at the beach, he can't decide which one is hotter, but really, what does it matter? he thinks: Just another disappointed hope.

On his last night in France, the brothers say: Hey, it's your last night: come with us. We have something we want to show you.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Painting With Pan

Oh Pan, you have your ways. 

When it was time to figure out what Nathaniel and I were going to submit for PantheaCon 2019, we knew we wanted to do another dance-music-ritual experience - following in the footsteps of "Hekate at the Crossroads" (2017) and "Dreaming the Raven" (2014). I had just finished writing some pieces for an annual that will be published next year, and Pan had goated his way into that work. He was also showing up pretty much everywhere I looked.  I know what that meant, and so we submitted a presentation called "A Revel for Pan."

Which got accepted, meaning now we'd have to get into the grotto and get some work done. Yes, I tend to work in such a way that I present ideas - and if there's interest, then I put it into motion and start the actual planning. 

As I contemplated what the Revel would look, sound, and feel like, the vision of having a large painting as an altar piece kept poking at me like a set of persistent horns butting against my head. I looked around my studio for available panels to paint on, and was informed they were all "too small." Then a large 2'x2' panel that had had several unsuccessful attempts at a "Witch's Sabbat Ride" theme fell over. Not so subtle hint taken.

I contemplated full body renditions on this square hunk of wood - something along the lines of the Pan that I created for Jason Mankey (middle of the bottom row here). I thought about head and shoulder shots - but when I sat down to paint, I felt I needed to reject a square presentation and turn the panel into a diamond shape.  This made it very hard to stabilize on both my easel and desk, but it gave me the most amount of room to include his horns, and possibly include shoulders and a panpipe.  As I got to work, just the head was the message I got and that was more than enough. 

After I got the basics down, the expression that was needed nagged at me. What came to mind was a headstudy of Pan that I saw in a "Museums of the World" book, going back at least 20, if not 30+ years in my memory.  What I remember most was the eyes were oddly shaped with a unique expression, very fey and full of mischief.  I couldn't find that original image from my memory, but as it happens, Nathaniel has been known to take on that very same expression. AND I had photographic evidence of him looking just like that. He's actually the only person I've ever seen to pull it off - and every time he has done it, that memory would sail on by.  Strange how weird things are connected through time and space! 

I had also just freshly re-read "Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins, so that added another layer to the image. There is a blending of a face emerging from leaves, taking physical form - as well as a sense of the invisible made visible - with a touch of Green Man feel. 

Perhaps though the trickiest part of all of this was figuring out how to have this heavy piece of diamond-oriented wood affixed to an altar in a hotel ballroom that was about to be filled with 300 people reveling.  With some help from friends, gaffer tape, a ballroom chair, and a sari - we managed to secure the painting in front of the stage - and it stayed put the entire revel! 

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    He's gorgeous and inspiring! Thank you for sharing.
Why I Don't Call the Horned God 'Cernunnos'

The Horned God is assuredly one of the preeminent (and, I would contend, patron) gods of the Pagan Revival, and I would be willing to hazard a guess that in English-speaking Pagandom at large, He is named by the majority of His votaries as “Cernunnos.”

(Writer and thinker Ceisiwr Serith once remarked to me that an image search for “Cernunnos” turns up mostly modern, and very little ancient, art.)

But though the Horned is my heart-god and I offer to Him daily, I myself never call Him Cernunnos.

Why not?

To me, names are culture-specific—one could even say culture-bound—material. “Cernunnos” is a specifically Gaulish name, bound to a particular language, place, and people. I'm not a Gaul, I don't live in historic Gaul, and I don't speak Gaulish. Therefore, though I honor the Name and recognize it, I don't use it.

The same with “Herne,” “Pan,” or most other historic Names that you'd care to mention.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Well, of course how you, or anyone else, conduct your spiritual lives, Greybeard, is no business of mine. But if one accepts my pr
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Wait. What? We can't say Cernunnos because we aren't Gaulish? Can we say Ishtar if we aren't Babylonian? Can we say Diana if
  • Kile Martz
    Kile Martz says #
    Indeed, I don't think of him as antlered, but horned. I was born under the sign of the ram, was raised around cattle. I see the ho
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks Joanna. Personally, I'm a big fan of precision in language. If that's pedantry, so mote it be. The issue that you raise is
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Plus, Cernunnos is an antlered god, not a horned god Am I the only pedantic when it comes to this lol? Great blog post, great b

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Living Deliciously

Wouldst thou live deliciously?

So the Dark Lord* whispers into Tamsin's ear, from behind, at the climax of Robert Egger's 2015 film The VVitch: A New-England Tale.

(Anyone who knows the Master well will recognize that nape-nuzzling whisper from behind.)

Forget all the nonsense about the Devil and temptation. We enter here into the realm of the Animal God.

See Him that we call the Horned as the collective body of animal life on planet Earth.** Embrace Him—embrace Life—and live deliciously.

Or reject Him and what He has to offer, and endure a joyless existence of crabbed misery.

“Buddha” was wrong. Yes, life is full of suffering, but there's joy, too. Embrace the Horned, embrace the life which as animals, is our inheritance by right. Embrace bodily existence, for all it's worth.

This is the gift of the Horned, lord of this world: the gift of a god.

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