Saturday, February 28, 2009
Ceraunos and Cernunnos
Hola darlings! It's cold here today, brrrrrr, the wind is whipping out of the north and although the sun has won the battle temporarily with the clouds, it's not a day to be outside. I did, however, do my mile walk to the supermarket and mile walk back, so I've got my exercise in for the day :) The old saw is true - March is coming in like a roaring lion - that north wind has been nonstop since yesterday's surprise early morning coating of ice. I'm waiting for some spackling to dry in the bathroom - I decided to move one of the towel racks so early this morning I pulled out the plastic drywall anchors and spackled over the holes - a second coat may be needed before I can prime. Except for that new spackling, I'm ready to prime over what I did yesterday, so no excuses, I should get off my butt, stir up the primer, and do it! But first things first. One of my favorite things to do when I want to blog about something interesting is to open up Walker's "The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets" at random and start reading. Today the book opened to St. Ceraunos also evidently spelled Ceranus. Here is Walker's information: Ceraunos, Saint Canonized form of one of the phallic lightning-gods who descended into Earth's womb, like Lucifer, to become a lord of the underworld. Pagans sometimes called the lightning Gemma Cerauniae, the Jewel of Ceraunos - "jewel" in the same sense as the Tantric (male) Jewel in the (female) Lotus.(1) The Greeks thought when Ceraunos descended into the underworld, he became Charon, the ferryman of the Styx.(2) As a saint, he had little purpose other than to attract to Christianity those who had formerly worshipped him as a psychopomp. Notes: (1) Leland, p. 250. (2) H. Smith, p. 227. Okay, says I, so what is a psychopomp? A pompous ass who is nuts? I can think of a few of those... But - I digress. A psychopomp is actually a "conductor of souls" - gods who lead human souls through the after-world. Angels, Valkyries, certain birds (such as vultures) and animals (such as dogs) could also act as psychopomps. Here is what Catholic.org online has to say about St. Ceraunus: St. Ceraunus Feastday: September 27 614 A bishop of Paris, France. His relics are enshrined in the church of St. Genevieve there. Which tells me a fat lot of nothing! What did this bishop do to deserve sainthood??? St. Ceraunus is not listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia online. This is rather suspicious, because the Catholic Encyclopedia lists most everything Roman Catholic in the whole world. Perhaps Ceraunus was one of the "saints" that was kicked off the official list of "saints" during the reforms in the 1960s. His absence from the Catholic Encyclopedia leads me to believe that Walker's interpretation is the correct one. Homer Smith ("Man and His Gods," 1952) says the same as Walker - Ceraunus was the Christian incarnation of the Greek god Charon. (Image of Cerunnos from the Gunderstrup Cauldron, at Wikipedia) Here is Walker's entry on Cernunnos, who is a horned god. Hmmm, who do we identify as living in the underworld popularly depicted as having horns (and a forked or barbed tail and holding a pitchfork)? None other than old Satan himself, who is also Lucifer. Ceraunos and Cernunnos may be opposite sides of the same coin. Cernunnos Celtic version of the Horned God, shown in sacred art with antlers strapped to his head, seated in lotus position like a yogi.(1) This contemplative pose was typical of Gallo-Roman deities in the first millenium B.C.(2) Cernunnos was a consort of the Moon-goddesss, whose Roman name Diana may have been related to Sanskrit dhyana, "yogic contemplation."(3) Medieval romances spoke of pagan heroes who acquired godlike powers by falling into a trance of "contemplation" of the Goddess as lady-love.(4) Notes: (1) Campbell, Or.M., 307. (2) Larousse, 232. (3) Campbell, Or.M., 440. (4) Goodrich. 69. This interesting information on Cernunnos is from Encyclopedia Mythica: Cernunnos by Dr Anthony E. Smart "The Horned One" is a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals, wealth, and the underworld. He was worshipped all over Gaul, and his cult spread into Britain as well. Cernunnos is depicted with the antlers of a stag, sometimes carries a purse filled with coin. The Horned God is born at the winter solstice, marries the goddess at Beltane, and dies at the summer solstice. [So, he represented the original version of king sacrifice, which is very old]. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation. Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos' origins date to those times. Romans sometimes portrayed him with three cranes flying above his head. Known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn. God of the underworld and astral planes. [Emphasis added]. The consort of the great goddess. He was often depicted holding a bag of money, or accompanied by a ram-headed serpent and a stag. Most notably is the famous Gundestrup cauldron discovered in Denmark. From Encyclopedia Britannica: Cernunnos: In Celtic religion, an archaic and powerful deity, widely worshipped as the “lord of wild things.” Cernunnos may have had a variety of names in different parts of the Celtic world, but his attributes were generally consistent. He wore stag antlers and was sometimes accompanied by a stag and by a sacred ram-horned serpent that was also a deity in its own right. He wore and sometimes also held a torque, the sacred neck ornament of Celtic gods and heroes. The earliest known depictions of Cernunnos were found at Val Camonica, in northern Italy, which was under Celtic occupation from about 400 bc. [This ignores extremely antique cave representations as noted by Dr. Smart, above]. He was also portrayed on the Gundestrup Caldron, a silver ritual vessel found at Gundestrup in Jutland, Den., and dating to about the 1st century bc. Cernunnos was worshipped primarily in Britain, although there are also traces of his cult in Ireland. The Christian Church strongly opposed him because of his powerful pagan influence. He was used as a symbol of the Antichrist and as such figured in Christian iconography and medieval manuscripts. For a definition of "Cernunnos (Celtic deity)", visit Merriam-Webster.