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Author Topic: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?  (Read 1641 times)

Naerianu

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Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« on: September 09, 2014, 04:11:39 pm »
(Before Reading, please keep in mind I am not Wiccan. When I talk about Cernunnos, I mean the individual deity found on the Gundestrup Cauldron and other stone engravings, not the 'horned god' of Wicca.)

Hello! I am new to this forum though not new to the pagan faiths. I have run into a road bump so to speak in my beliefs. While I do not feel everything about Neo-Paganism is bad, I wonder about Cernunnos. He is one of the only Celtic gods that I have felt called by, and yet there is no real information on him. Yes people can claim he is the god of the underworld, fertility, etc, however there aren't really any historical sources to back up those claims, just symbolism found on the cauldron and other stone carvings.

As a background, I was first called to him about 7 years ago when I was 19. He appeared to me in dreams as a silent, guiding deity. Ever since then I have wrestled with the idea of him as who he is to neo-pagans, and who he is to Celtic Recons. After coming across more information lately about the lack of historical information, I feel uneasy.

It seems that many attributes tacked onto him have been from other similar gods (such as being combined with Herne, or Pan). Due to this, I have also read that there are many Celtic Recons who take issue with Cernunnos for that very reason. This brings me to a difficult spot. Do I rely on UPG for Cernunnos? Do I accept the neo-pagan explanations for him? I am having doubts, because I have always taken issue with not knowing the truth, and I would feel very silly if tacking on these attributes were actually incorrect, even if I feel most of them are fine with 'him'.

I am hoping to hear from other Celtic Recons on this matter, I appreciate any advice or shared knowledge/experience. Thank you! :)

Also: Yes I have already searched the forum for other threads on Cernunnos.

Altair

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 04:41:37 pm »
Quote from: Naerianu;158503
It seems that many attributes tacked onto him have been from other similar gods (such as being combined with Herne, or Pan). Due to this, I have also read that there are many Celtic Recons who take issue with Cernunnos for that very reason. This brings me to a difficult spot. Do I rely on UPG for Cernunnos? Do I accept the neo-pagan explanations for him? I am having doubts, because I have always taken issue with not knowing the truth, and I would feel very silly if tacking on these attributes were actually incorrect, even if I feel most of them are fine with 'him'.


I'm not a Celtic recon, but your thoughts above struck me. I don't know that there are *any* gods that are "pure." The ancient cultures were constantly coming into contact with each other and crosspollinating, so that deities took on new aspects and characteristics, often "borrowed" from another culture's deities, all the time. I'm afraid that may not reassure you in your quest for authenticity, but there it is.

Also, interestingly enough, we just started talking about some of the issues you raise above here.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 04:41:54 pm by Altair »
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Altair

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 04:43:14 pm »
Quote from: Naerianu;158503


(I love your avatar, BTW)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 04:43:36 pm by Altair »
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 04:57:04 pm »
Quote from: Altair;158506
I'm not a Celtic recon, but your thoughts above struck me. I don't know that there are *any* gods that are "pure." The ancient cultures were constantly coming into contact with each other and crosspollinating, so that deities took on new aspects and characteristics, often "borrowed" from another culture's deities, all the time. I'm afraid that may not reassure you in your quest for authenticity, but there it is.



Weirdly enough, just after posting this I bumped into this article on the brand-spanking-new website Polytheist.com, which you might find relevant, Naerianu:

Speaking of Syncretism


"For the most part, polytheism doesn’t proscribe which deities are valid to be worshipped, and in fact almost every polytheistic culture that exists has happily done so alongside peoples with very different deities, practices, and beliefs.  More often than not, the deities of those other peoples cross over into their own pantheons, and have often done so at such an early stage that they have become completely naturalized over the course of time.  When we speak of Aphrodite as a Greek goddess, we often do so in ignorance of her Near Eastern origins, despite the Greeks giving her epithets that connect her to her likely origin place of Cyprus.  Aprhodite is one example amongst many of this process."

http://polytheist.com/speaking-of-syncretism/2014/09/03/sos/
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Naerianu

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 05:06:02 pm »
Quote from: Altair;158507
(I love your avatar, BTW)


Thanks :). Yea I've checked out the other thread and it is interesting. I guess sometimes we have to trust upg in the abscene of historical records. I would still like to know how other celtic recons feel about this. However with seeing how many people rely on upg I am feeling a little better about it lol.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 05:07:12 pm by Naerianu »

Naerianu

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 05:12:07 pm »
Quote from: Altair;158509
Weirdly enough, just after posting this I bumped into this article on the brand-spanking-new website Polytheist.com, which you might find relevant, Naerianu:

Speaking of Syncretism


"For the most part, polytheism doesn’t proscribe which deities are valid to be worshipped, and in fact almost every polytheistic culture that exists has happily done so alongside peoples with very different deities, practices, and beliefs.  More often than not, the deities of those other peoples cross over into their own pantheons, and have often done so at such an early stage that they have become completely naturalized over the course of time.  When we speak of Aphrodite as a Greek goddess, we often do so in ignorance of her Near Eastern origins, despite the Greeks giving her epithets that connect her to her likely origin place of Cyprus.  Aprhodite is one example amongst many of this process."

http://polytheist.com/speaking-of-syncretism/2014/09/03/sos/

 
Wow yes that is very relevant, thank you for that. That is very true, so I suppose what neopagans have done with Cernunnos is not much different than what the ancients themselves did when assimilating into or with other cultures.

Aiwelin

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 08:42:13 pm »
Quote from: Naerianu;158503
It seems that many attributes tacked onto him have been from other similar gods (such as being combined with Herne, or Pan). Due to this, I have also read that there are many Celtic Recons who take issue with Cernunnos for that very reason. This brings me to a difficult spot. Do I rely on UPG for Cernunnos? Do I accept the neo-pagan explanations for him? I am having doubts, because I have always taken issue with not knowing the truth, and I would feel very silly if tacking on these attributes were actually incorrect, even if I feel most of them are fine with 'him'.

 
Not a Celtic recon here, but a Heathen leaning towards recon-ish ways.  I do honor some deities whom we know nothing of beside Their names, and obviously there is a lot of UPG involved.  I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, however.  Reconstruction means there's going to be some missing parts that need to be filled in; and just because a deity is mostly missing parts in the lore doesn't mean they're not appropriate to honor.  In fact, I think for some recons it can be a rather freeing experience, to let a deity teach you about Themselves rather than learning about Them from human sources.  From my point of view, if you feel drawn to Cernunnos, open up to Him and let Him teach you.  I think studying Indo-European parallels like other Gods depicted with horns can be helpful; but honestly with just a picture that's getting pretty vague.  I think your best bet is just to talk to Him.
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Naerianu

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 10:59:12 pm »
Quote from: Aiwelin;158527
Not a Celtic recon here, but a Heathen leaning towards recon-ish ways.  I do honor some deities whom we know nothing of beside Their names, and obviously there is a lot of UPG involved.  I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, however.  Reconstruction means there's going to be some missing parts that need to be filled in; and just because a deity is mostly missing parts in the lore doesn't mean they're not appropriate to honor.  In fact, I think for some recons it can be a rather freeing experience, to let a deity teach you about Themselves rather than learning about Them from human sources.  From my point of view, if you feel drawn to Cernunnos, open up to Him and let Him teach you.  I think studying Indo-European parallels like other Gods depicted with horns can be helpful; but honestly with just a picture that's getting pretty vague.  I think your best bet is just to talk to Him.


I do 'talk' to him, meditate, etc. I just found myself doubting everything I knew and believed about him after reading how everything we think we know is pretty much a new-age creation, not history. However this thread is helping me with that and I greatly appreciate the advice and different viewpoints :)

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 01:42:40 am »
Quote from: Naerianu;158503
(Before Reading, please keep in mind I am not Wiccan. When I talk about Cernunnos, I mean the individual deity found on the Gundestrup Cauldron and other stone engravings, not the 'horned god' of Wicca.)

Hello! I am new to this forum though not new to the pagan faiths. I have run into a road bump so to speak in my beliefs. While I do not feel everything about Neo-Paganism is bad, I wonder about Cernunnos. He is one of the only Celtic gods that I have felt called by, and yet there is no real information on him. Yes people can claim he is the god of the underworld, fertility, etc, however there aren't really any historical sources to back up those claims, just symbolism found on the cauldron and other stone carvings.



I am having doubts, because I have always taken issue with not knowing the truth, and I would feel very silly if tacking on these attributes were actually incorrect, even if I feel most of them are fine with 'him'.

 
Heck, we don't even know definitively that the figure depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron is the same being as the Cernunnos of the Pillar of the Boatmen, much less how either of those relates to other depictions of beings with horns (who might or might not be deities... which in turn depends not just on how they were viewed in their culture(s) of origin but just what one means by 'deity' - but that's a whole 'nother can of worms).

I would say that, given how vague all that is, and since you do experience direct interaction, what he has to say about himself is your best and most accurate source. If he's fine with something, how incorrect can it be? Inaccurate to ancient perspectives, possibly - but when we have so little clue what those ancient perspectives were, that's not very meaningful.

(My standpoint: I am a neoPagan religious Witch, influenced by various forms of neoPagan religious witchcraft including but not limited to Wicca, Feri, and the Cochranist trads [IOW, fairly typical of what the contemporarily-necessary misnomer 'Eclectic Wiccan' generally referred to back in the '80s], and, though not a recon of any sort, informed by historical, archaeological, and other scholarly sources, who also experiences direct interaction.)

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Naerianu

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Re: Cernunnos - Legit Deity for Celtic Recon?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 02:18:24 am »
Quote from: SunflowerP;158560
Heck, we don't even know definitively that the figure depicted on the Gundestrup Cauldron is the same being as the Cernunnos of the Pillar of the Boatmen, much less how either of those relates to other depictions of beings with horns (who might or might not be deities... which in turn depends not just on how they were viewed in their culture(s) of origin but just what one means by 'deity' - but that's a whole 'nother can of worms).

I would say that, given how vague all that is, and since you do experience direct interaction, what he has to say about himself is your best and most accurate source. If he's fine with something, how incorrect can it be? Inaccurate to ancient perspectives, possibly - but when we have so little clue what those ancient perspectives were, that's not very meaningful.

(My standpoint: I am a neoPagan religious Witch, influenced by various forms of neoPagan religious witchcraft including but not limited to Wicca, Feri, and the Cochranist trads [IOW, fairly typical of what the contemporarily-necessary misnomer 'Eclectic Wiccan' generally referred to back in the '80s], and, though not a recon of any sort, informed by historical, archaeological, and other scholarly sources, who also experiences direct interaction.)

Sunflower

 
Thank you. This is all so frustrating when there is conflicting views and ideas and as you pointed out, the pillar and cauldron may not even be the same entity.. Hell, what if Cernunnos doesn't even exist, and the entity people know as Cernunnos, is something or someone else entirely?.. Just a thought Lol. TBH I am feeling more comfortable with this thanks to those who are responding and letting him show/tell me who he is, I just need to put aside my doubts, listen, and trust I am following the right path (Not always an easy thing D: ).

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