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Mystery of Cernunnos & Proto-Shiva

To: alt.religion.druid
From: (Pwyll)
Subject: Re: Mystery of Cernunnos & Proto-Shiva
Date: Mon, 26 May 1997 17:53:51 GMT

On Fri, 23 May 1997 10:38:14 -0700, Complete Copy 

>Bill501 wrote:
>> Ian,
>> Herne is obviously a much later creation of the Brits. I'm not sure when
>> the legend began. I've got the info somewhere. 
>Shakespeare emntoins him as the 'huntsman of Windsor forest', a legend
>apparently current in his day.
>>But, I think he fits the
>> archetype (I take it back to the Trois Frere 'Shaman'). 
>I just wish there was an actual Celtic tale or image of a Horned Hunter.
>But AFAIK, there isn't.
>Actually, as I think about it, there may be a few in north Britain. I'm
>remembering this from Pagan Celtic Britain.
>> The ram headed snake is a most interesting symbol. It is most obviously
>> phallic and thus a fertility symbol. The ram head is very glans like-- a
>> good pun. But the symbol could also be interpreted as the joining of wild
>> with domestic animals-- .So one could think of him a the God of animal
>> domestication.
>Which would tie in with his place as God of Bounty and Underworld
>Wealth. In many cultures, fertility arises from the Underworld, and cows
>were the basic unit of wealth in Celtic and Germanic culture.
>> I'm curious about the underworld association. Could you expand on that.
>> Also, I must admit that I am not much of a student of the Irish pantheon,
>> except very generally. Are there descriptions in Gaelic or depictions in
>> Ireland of horned gods?
>None. There is a badly erased statue that might have antlers. There's
>the Ulster hero Conall Cernach, whose name may be related. 
>The underworld thing I take from the starting point of the classical
>commenters who state that the Gauls worshipped 'Dis Pater' as the first
>ancestor and chief God of their Way. Dis Pater is a title of Pluto,
>whose basic power is rulership of the wealth under the earth (ie
>plutocracy), as well as associations with the dead. Maybe it's leftover
>Wiccanism :) that made me start to consider Cernunnos as Lord of the
>Dead, thus tieing him to Dis Pater. I think his images make it clear
>that he's about wealth and bounty - most of them show that bag of coins
>or grain - and that ties him into Underworld symbolism. Romano-Celtic
>images make him resemble images of Pluto, as well.
>In the Irish Pantheon I now associate him with the Dagda - the
>all-skilled Ruler and Father of many of the God/desses, or perhaps with
>Donn, the First Man to Die in Erin, who became the host in the House of
>the Dead. Still no real excuse for the antlers there though.
>>I can not think of any boars associated with
>> Cernunnos (again I need to check my pictures-- esp the Gundestrup, are
>> there boars on that?).
>I think there is a boar on the cernunnos panel. But the boar is hunted
>by the various Young Hero types, rather than by the Old King.
>> If I ever get the time I am going to make a Web page for Cernunnos, if for
>> no other reason than to organize all the info I have scattered around. I
>> think the Proto-Shiva a most remarkable 'coincidence'.
>> Bill
>No coincidence at all, IMO!

The animals on the Gundestrope Cauldron aren't all so easily
identified, on his left there's a  animal that *could* be a boar,
could just as easily be a wolf though, but its part of a menagerie of
animals so i wouldn't attach too much symbolism to that. i've seen
bass reliefs showing Cernunnos in a triple god format. (New Larousse
Encyclopedia of Mythology) both pictures have him centered. One with
horns and one with a triple head, three faces. The two flanking gods
are thought to be mercury and apollo. the triple headed relief has him
in the classic grain/coin bag dispensing pose. and of all things a rat
sculpted into the arch above his head.  the symbolism of that i'm not
going to even consider

There are speculations that the green knight in the arthurian tales is
Cernunnos, and also the giant in a Cuchulain story, can't remember the
name, but its about the same as the green knight story in the
Arthurian tradition. He is in the role of the tester/dispenser. He
tests the warriors of the respective court and eventually dispenses
the title of champion on the stories heroes.  

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