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By Aimee Langevin
(Written for Ecclasia)

I would like you to sit back and relax. Now imagine yourself on the edge of a forest. The forest is lush and green with a slight chill in the air. The forest is inviting you to come in.

As you enter, you hear wolves howling in the distance. There is no fear in your heart... only excitement. The beating of your heart grows a little stronger. Then you hear it again... the wolf howling. You can feel it moving; moving farther into the forest, toward what appears to be the center. Noticing that you are moving toward the center as well, you begin to pick up some speed. As your heart is pounding out of your chest, you find yourself running through the trees, winding in and out, and leaping over fallen branches and stumps.

All of a sudden, the sound of hoofbeats is in the forest surrounding you, almost as if they were running with you. Catching a glimpse of a clearing, you feel an urge to keep going toward the center. As you approach, you begin to see a figure sitting in the very center of this green world that you have happened upon. In fact, you feel as though this figure is the center.

You see two animals approaching with you... the Wolf and the Stag. They were a part of your journey, leading you to the seated figure that is before you. This figure seems to be drawing energy from below his half-man, half-animal body. It appears that he himself has hooves like the stag that is now beside him, as is the wolf. In one hand he seems to be holding a torc and in the other is a ram headed serpent. You then notice a second torc around his neck. Coming from the top of his head you see two great horns covered with foliage. He is centered and poised as more animals approach him respectfully. And then you realize whom you are seeing. You are face to face with He of Many Names. You are face to face with Cernunnos.

This God-image that is sitting before you is the most prevalent in all of paganism. His image has been seen drawn on cave walls in the Middle East and India that date back to 5000 BCE. Cernunnos is still revered in the European pagan traditions. The Horned God's image was demonized by the early Church, and he became the prototype for their Devil. As you look upon him, you don't see the evil that has been depicted of their Devil. All you see is kindness as you feel a great respect for Him. There is a sense of ancient wisdom surrounding you and all the inhabitants of this forest. You sit beside him and reflect on your knowledge of Him.

He was the uninhibited goat representing the fertility rites of Beltaine, and the master of the hunt who came into his full power in late summer and early fall. He was the primal fertility God, consort to the first Great Mother, and the male creative principle. He is also honored as a death deity; the hunt is sometimes viewed as a metaphor for rounding up the souls of the living to take to the Otherworld. He has also been cast as the role of gaurdian of the Otherworld's gates, and as a God of the woodlands, animals, revelry and male fertility.

You feel yourself being surrounded by a warm feeling of love and affection. You feel as if you are coming out of slumber... and you find yourself in the here and now, still aware of your journey to meet Cernunnos.

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This page last updated November 21, 2004