Horns - Tools of Witchcraft

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

Tools of Witchcraft

The primeval admiration and awe for horns has not been forgotten but remains vital. Horns and their derivatives, cornucopias, still serve as ritual tools: they are placed on altars and are especially used for summoning spells for ghosts and/or spirits.

Image Horns are filled with candy as Day of the Dead treats for child-ghosts

Image They are traditionally stuffed with grapes to summon Dionysus

Image Some Wiccan traditions, Seax-Wica for instance, substitute a drinking horn for a chalice during rituals

Image Horned helmets or caps are sometimes worn during Neo-Pagan or Wiccan rituals, especially when a High Priest is impersonating a horned god

Image Among modern Masons, the cornucopia remains symbolic of joy, peace, and plenty

Image Easter witches carry flying ointment in horns in the same way that African witches carry hyena butter in gourds (see ANIMALS: Hyenas)

Image In sub-Saharan Africa, horns are frequently stuffed with botanical and other magical material to create amulets and talismans

Image In Italian and many North African traditions, small horns or replicas of horns made from various natural and synthetic materials are popular amulets. They are used for many purposes but the most common are protection of male fertility and libido and destruction of the Evil Eye

The cornucopia, ancient emblem of abundance, is a large hollow horn from which fruits and other botanicals overflow. Deities who carry it implicitly promise peace and prosperity. If one considers the numerous images of female deities displaying the cornucopia, then the number of goddesses associated with horns increases exponentially. These deities include Demeter, Persephone, Fortuna (Rome’s Lady Luck), Fauna, and Flora. Epona, the Celtic horse goddess of fertility and abundance, holds a cornucopia, too.

Cornucopias are still used today, often as festive table centerpieces, but they are rarely if ever made from real horns now. Paper or wicker cornucopias are far more common, thus many perceive it as an abstract, crescent shape and forget the associations with horns. However these associations are explicitly stated in the symbol’s name: “cornucopia” derives from the Latin cornu (“horn”) and copiae (“abundance,” “plenty”). By definition, the cornucopia is the horn of plenty.

Allegedly, the very first cornucopia was the horn of Amaltheia, the goat that suckled Zeus; he placed it in the sky as a constellation in honor of his wet-nurse.