Cernunnos History, Prayers and Rituals

Cernunnos is also in various parts of the world like Western Europe and the British Isles. The depiction of this particular God has been found in various types of literary sources and books.

Cernunnos is the god of the wild forest and is also believed to be a horned God who is found in Celtic mythology. He is sometimes also connected with the male animals and particularly with the stag in rut.

This particular connection has led him to be associated with vegetation and fertility.

History and Folklore

In the year 1931, Margaret Murray wrote a book the god of the witches in which she said that Herne the hunter is the manifestation of Cernunnos.

History and Folklore

This was because he is found only in Berkshire and not in the rest of the Windsor Forest area. The writer is considered a localized God and could indeed be the Berkshire interpretation of the Celtic God.

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During the age of Elizabethan, the god of the forest appeared as the hunter in Shakespeare’s merry wives of Windsor. He has also embodied fealty to the realm and also to the guardianship of the royalty.

Some of the editions which are present in the pagan and Wicca, the different cycles of the seasons follow the relationship between the God of the wild forest and the Goddess.

During the fall, the wind of the forest dries as all the land & vegetation go dormant and at the time of spring this god is again redirected for impregnating the fertile goddess of the land.

But this particular relationship is relatively very new as the Neopaganism concept.

There is no scholarly evidence present for indicating the fact that ancient people might have celebrated this particular marriage of the Cernunnos and the mother goddess.

Because of the horns which are present on the head of the god and the occasional depiction of the large and erected phallus, He has often been misinterpreted by many of the fundamentalists as a symbol who is related to Satan.

Many times the Christian churches as pointed to the Pagan for the following of the Celtic God. This is because of the 19th Century paintings of the Satan which included large horns similar to those which are present on the head of Cernunnos.

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In the present scenario, the majority of the pagan traditions honour the wild God of forest and consider him a symbol of fertility power and masculine energy.

Prayer to Cernunnos

Various prayers are recited for honoring the wild God of forest Cernunnos.


One of the main prayers which are recited for worshiping and pleasing this god is given below:

God of the green,

Lord of the forest,

I offer you my sacrifice.

I ask you for your blessing.

You are the man in the trees,

the green man of the woods,

who brings life to the dawning spring.

You are the deer in rut,

mighty Horned One,

who roams the autumn woods?

the hunter circling round the oak,

the antlers of the wild stag,

and the lifeblood that spills upon

the ground each season.

God of the green,

Lord of the forest,

I offer you my sacrifice.

I ask you for your blessing.

Neopaganism and Wicca

In Wicca and other such forms of Neopaganism, the horned god of the wild forest is considered to be a very divine character & is related to several other antlered Gods from various cultures including the Celtic God himself.

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The God of the forest reflects the different Seasons which are present around the year and also depicts the annual cycle of the life, death and the rebirth.

Another tradition of Gardnerian Wicca, the God Cernunnos is considered to be one of the greatest and sometimes known by the name of Kernunno.

Name and Etymology

The name Cernunnos has only appeared on the pillar of the boatman, which was a Gallo Roman monument which dates back to the early first century CE. The proto Celtic form of the theorem is constructed in the form of Carno-on-os.

Name and Etymology
Name and Etymology

Some of the writers have stated that the etymology of his name is unclear but his name seems to be rooted in the Celtic word which means in English horn. His name is also being compared with many divine epithets.

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The roots of his name have appeared in the names of various Celtic polities, the most prominent among which is Carnutes.

Connection of Cernunnos with Saint Ciaran

Many of the religious Saints and literary scholars have seen the qualities of the God which are absorbed into the life of Saint Ciaran of Saighir. He was one of the 12 apostles of Ireland.

Connection of Cernunnos with Saint Ciaran
Connection with Saint Ciaran

At the time when he was building his first tiny cell and as the hagiography goes, his first disciple and the monk was a boar that had been rendered very gently by the God almighty.

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This particular fact was followed by a fox, a wolf, a badger and the Stag.

Epigraphic Evidence

The pillar of the boatman is a monument which was constructed probably by the sailors in the 14th century CE.

Epigraphic Evidence
Epigraphic Evidence

It was discovered in the year 1710 well within the foundations of the cathedral of Notre Dame De Paris.

It is considered to be a site of ancient Lutetia and also the capital of Celtic Parissi. In the present time, it is now displayed in the national du Moyen age in Paris.

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The stone pillar is so distinctive and important monument of the Roman religion that it depicts and labels several names of Roman diabetes-like Vulcan, Jupiter and castor and also some of the Gallic deities like the Tarvos, Trigaranus, Smertrios and Esus.

The name of the god could have been easily read on the 18th-century drawings or the inscriptions.

Additional pieces of evidence have also been found one by one which shows that the Cernunnos is an important God of the Roman religion and a Celtic Wild God of the forest.

Rituals and Honour

In different traditions, the honoring of Cernunnos is done in different ways. He is worshipped especially around the season of Beltane Sabbat.

Rituals and Honour
Rituals and Honour

John Beckett has said the following lines about the rituals which are performed all around the world for the wild God of the forest. He has written these lines in an article at the Pathos:

“His presence, which had been mild but undeniable since we started setting up (what, you think a Forest God is going to sit quietly outside the door till he gets a proper invitation?) became overwhelming.

Someone shouted. Someone got up and began to dance.

Then another got up, and another, and another. Before long we had a whole line of people dancing, spinning, and chanting around the altar.

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Juniper, who works at the walking the hedge has a very loving and moving ritual, which is worth reading by all the religious people around the world.

It is famous by the name of a devotional ritual to Cernunnos. She has said the following lines about the wild God of the forest:

“I call to Him with feeling, with love with desire. I call until I feel His presence, I do not assume a few words of poetry will be enough and carry on.

I call until the hair on the back of my neck stands up and Goosebumps run down my arms. I call until I can smell His scent on the air…

When Cernunnos has arrived I thank Him with gifts, by showing Him what offerings I have brought for Him and placing it at the foot of the god-stang.”

Various other ways are also present in which one can worship the god of the wild.

People around the world make various offerings to him especially those people who have a forest or a wooded area near their house.

The devotees take some wine, milk or consecrated water and then put up on the ground while playing and calling out the name of Cernunnos.

Some of the devotees also decorate the altar with the symbols, which signify this particular record like leaves, moss, fresh clean soil and shed antlers.

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If someone is trying to conceive a child and he or she has got a partner who is open to the practice of ritual sex magic, then one has to consider a bit of outdoor passion during the time of evening and then call upon the name of the god for blessing you and your union with your partner.


The Cernunnos is said to be the god of Wild who is associated with the fertility of the land and the crops. He is associated with the different seasons around the year.

The depiction of this particular God has been found in various types of literary sources and books. He is also found in different parts of the world like Western Europe and the British Isles.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Cernunnos is said to be the god of what?

He is considered to be the god of animals and wildlife. He is many times associated with the forest and the wild animals, along with the fertility of the land and the seasons.

Is Cernunnos considered to be the Green Man?

In the Wicca tradition, he is related to the horned god and as the symbol of the seasonal renewal and the ecological balances.