Herne the Hunter - The Horned One and The Devil

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

Herne the Hunter
The Horned One and The Devil

Herne the Hunter is an antlered man, swathed in deerskins. (It is unclear whether the antlers are his or whether it is a removable crown.) Sometimes Herne leads the Wild Hunt riding a fire-breathing stallion and accompanied by a pack of hounds.

Various legends surround Herne the Hunter:

Image He is the ghost of an English wizard who still haunts Windsor Great Park

Image He was an innkeeper (and wizard) who was hung from an oak as punishment for his involvement with the occult

Image Herne is a generic horned deity

Image Herne is Lord of the Realm of the Dead, Leader of Dead Souls, and possibly Cernunnos in disguise

Image The Christian Church identified Herne as the devil

Herne is the ancient keeper of England’s Windsor Park and allegedly may be found wandering around an old oak in the forest at night. (The tree is known as Herne’s Oak.) He usually carries a firebrand, a musical instrument or a birch broom.

Reference is made to Herne in Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, where he is described as a hunter who hanged himself from an oak in Windsor Forest.

See also Cernunnos; DICTIONARY: Wild Hunt.