“So, at first I ruled as the stag and God of the Hunt.
Invoked with blood and sweat and the chase.
I led the hunt through the forest and it was I
who bent the branches to scratch and tear and cut.
For without effort, what is the point of life?
Without hunger, what would feed the spirit?
Without need, all life would die.
So, their sorcerer stood in bloodied skins,
and raised his hands and called my name.
Then he fell to the ground and skin became fur,
and feet became hooves.
Blood gushed as my antlers pushed through bone
and sinew to arise with seven tines,
one for each of the moving lights within the blackness above.
Stood before them I held my head proud and tall –
none met my gaze,
they just breathed the stench of death
and the copper taint in the blood filled air.
They breathed this and it filled them with the hunger,
ready to face their own death
in order to feed the tribe.
Drums suddenly filled the silence,
and the hunters danced my dance,
invoking my spirit into their bodies.
Giving me more life, and more power.
Until, proud in full erect manhood I screamed my name
again and again, and they
span around the fire,
their throats calling with the guttural call of the rutting stag,
telling it’s spirit that the tribe must live!
And it must die for the tribe!
Then in an instant
they were gone –
as the drums suddenly stopped
they disappeared into the forest without a sound.”
– excerpt from The Horned God, An Unofficial Biography
by Damh the Bard
Of all the writings, songs and prose out in the world, this is my all-time favourite about the Horned God. Before he was known as Cernunnos, before Pan, before Herne the Hunter – back when he was born out of the cauldron of beginnings and just was… Before we gave him one name, back when he was localised and had many names, most forgotten over the ages.
I remember reading in the early days on this path that we should always shower and clean ourselves before ritual because it shows honour to the Gods. They’ve obviously never spent a proper evening with one of the Horned Gods! I thought to myself one day dripping with sweat that I should shower before sitting down at my altar, and I heard Herne’s voice asking why. Why? Sweat is a part of nature. Do you think I shower before visiting you? he laughed. “Well, no, I think once you reach the Deity level of being you’re quiet exempt!” I replied.
Sweat and blood, you’re all so scared of it. There is nothing to be scared or ashamed of doing what is natural for your body. Have you forgotten that?
I think that’s why this verse in particular is my favourite – a reminder of what was, a reminder of where we once were, a reminder of how paranoid we are of what is really natural.
We’re coming into Spring and early Summer here in Australia. There will be many days of sweat and smelly bodies ahead of us. I love the smell of sweat, how raw it is before we spray ourselves with Rexona.
I love seeing it glisten off my Muggle’s body after he goes for a run, the smell that he exudes when he’s finished…I’m a “smell” girl!
With Ostara soon upon us, I feel like the Maiden looking for a suitable mate. I feel an increased appreciation for my mate, my husband, my Muggle, as he surprises me every day. I feel like the Maiden in the Honeymoon phase as land’s fertility increases and the energies are rising.
This prose came on my iPod twice this afternoon on “Shuffle” which I’m sure was Herne’s doing, a gentle reminder that he is with me, and aspects of this prose in it’s entirety can be used as I study the Adolescent Maiden and Master archetypes.
Ahh…so that’s why this post began with an appreciation for the Horned God and side tracked onto why I feel like I’m searching for a mate. Adolescents, hormones, sex, fertility, Ostara.
I really shouldn’t question the paths of things come to be. I shake my head, thank Herne who’s now laughing in my ear, and thank him again. I really wouldn’t have this any other way!