30 Days of Devotion

30 Days of Devotion – Day Six

Day the Sixth: Other related deities and entities associated with this deity.

Cernunnos
Cernunnos

His association with Cernunnos is certainly his most popular association. Margaret Murray, in her book God of the Witches published in 1931, suggests that Herne is a localised version of Cernunnos. There isn’t a great deal of Herne’s influence outside of the Berkshire region of England, so suggests he is their version of him. Personally, I’ve never felt comfortable with this association. Cernunnos is old, and I mean that with all respect I can possibly give him. Old as time, old. Old as the earth, old. Herne is his own entity, and given his myth with King Richard II, he has a “start date”. Ohhhh that sounds so horrible!

Woden
Woden

However, as Eric Fitch points out in his book In Search for Herne the Hunter, the main and most likely connection is Woden. Given that the Windsor Forest area has a large Saxon and Norse influence dating back to invasions every other generation, this connection draws more likely points of comparison, in particular both having hung themselves from a tree, they both have their own Wild Hunt.

My statue of Herne, minus the antlers as they broke off during shipping...
My statue of Herne, minus the antlers as they broke off during shipping…

The legend of Herne, however, allows the story to be his own. He began as a man, and I do believe he rose to being a Deity through his connection to Woden more so than his connection with Cernunnos, as Cernunnos began in Gaul before moving over to Britain. Given that Herne was seen in the forests after his death, and returns to be seen when the head of the Kingdom is near death, or the Kingdom is about to go to war, it makes sense that locals would turn to give honour to Herne to appease him. (I hear him with a quiet laugh, I did like those days.)

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