Cernunnos - The Horned One and The Devil

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

The Horned One and The Devil

Lord of Souls, Celtic Lord of the Underworld, the Dead, Healing, and Wealth, Cernunnos has dominion over nature, animals, and abundance. Cernunnos is traditionally depicted with a man’s body and stag’s horns, although this may be a shamanic guise.

Cernunnos is the Latin name given this mysterious Celtic deity. His original name is now unknown. Cernunnos is usually translated as “the horned one” and derives from an Indo-European root word ker meaning “growth” or “to become large and hard.” It may be a name or it may be a title: the word appears on an altar found at Notre Dame that also depicts his image.

Images of this god appear throughout Celtic Europe. His worship seems to have been widespread throughout Celtic territory, from Ireland to Romania, and he remains beloved in the Neo-Pagan community.

Cernunnos appears on the Early Iron Age Gundestrup Cauldron, which was found in a peat bog in Denmark in 1891, as well as on over 30 surviving ancient depictions. On the Gundestrup Cauldron he sits cross-legged surrounded by forest animals, holding a ram-horned serpent in one hand and a torc in the other. In a relief found at Reims, France, Cernunnos sits crosslegged with a stag and bull at his feet. He has a large sack from which he distributes what appear to either be coins or grain.

Cernunnos’ attributes include a huge sack of treasure and a torc, the Celtic sign of nobility and power.

See also Herne the Hunter; ANIMALS: Snakes; TOOLS: Cauldron.