A most welcome guest

I’d like to welcome into my abode this charming simulacrum of the great Cernunnos, who plays a key role in my devotional practice.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I’m a bit picky about my Cernunnos imagery. I really don’t like these squishy New Age depictions of Cernunnos as a generic Green Man/Herne/Pan/whoever (at least not as depictions of Cernunnos—they’d be fine for the Horned God of Wicca, which is who they’re really meant to depict), but unfortunately these are at least 90% of what’s out there. But Cernunnos’ actual iconography is so rich and distinctive that it gives plenty of scope for artistic expression just as it is. This lovely statuette from Sacred Source is a perfect illustration of that point:

Cernunnos statuette

Cernunnos statuette from Sacred Source.

Based on a statuette at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, it depicts Cernunnos (a) crosslegged, (b) wearing torcs, (c) with antlers—which were missing in the original piece—and (d) with ram-headed snakes that he is (e) feeding. Five for five! (Actually, the ram-headed snakes here look almost like ducklets—but no matter.) He is also tricephalic, as ‘classical’ Cernunnos depictions sometimes are. Altogether, it is a singularly graceful and beatific depiction, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. Now I can address my prayers to Cernunnos to a simulacrum worthy of serving as a dwelling-place for that god and a conduit for his power and grace.

In other news, this time relating to hero worship, yesterday I tried out a new hero ritual template I developed. The ritual is loosely inspired by Æneas’ rites in memory of his father Anchises (minus the fivefold suovetaurilia and the elaborate funeral games!). The beneficiary yesterday was Cosimo de’ Medici, who refounded Plato’s Academy at Florence, bringing together Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Angelo Poliziano and other such luminaries.

Cosimo Pater Patriae

Cosimo Pater Patriae (statue in the Uffizi).

Inspired by Gemistus Pletho, this Academy would reintroduce Plato and other classical writers to a Western, Latin-reading audience, reinvigorate the Western alchemical and magical tradition, spearhead the rediscovery of classical æsthetics and learning, and in other ways catalyze the Renaissance and in turn the Enlightenment. (This was apart from Cosimo being a shrewd and far-seeing statesman, a successful financier, the patron of artists like Donatello, etc.)

Today’s for Confucius, whose birthday is traditionally celebrated today. Now, what I’m trying to accomplish in this ritual is to honour and commemorate a hero and to offer gifts without necessarily invoking them the way that one would a god—or even stating categorically what I think has become of them. Have they since been reincarnated? If so, into which world? Or have they joined the immortals through apotheosis? In the normal course of events, this can’t be known; for that reason, I feel uncomfortable asking for a hero’s intercession, since we don’t know if they are in a place where they can hear prayers, or where they’d be in a position to intercede anyway. (They might at the moment be a juvenile elephant in the Isles of the Blest.) But it does seem right to remember them, to offer them honours, and to ask the gods to look favourably on them. Does this seem too tame, too limited? If we really do hold them to be heroes, does that mean that they must have higher powers we mortals can call upon? Such is not my understanding—but feel free to disagree in the comments section!

About DeoMercurio

I’m a Gaulish polytheist, now back living in lands ceded by the Council of Three Fires after several years’ sojourn in Anatolia and in the land of the Senecas, with frequent travels to Gaul along the way. My grandfather’s family came from the area around Trier, and I identify closely with the Treveri in my religious practice.
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4 Responses to A most welcome guest

  1. Filipa says:

    I just come across your post and your questions are ones i have asked myself. I don’t know about the higher powers but i’ve read we could contact with the essence of that particular life even though they could encarnate as another person. no? 🙂 But great post. I’d like to honor some inspiring persons like this too 🙂

    • DeoMercurio says:

      Thanks very much! I’m glad you liked it. 🙂 Yes, that’s certainly a possibility (i.e. contacting the essence of a soul even if incarnated elsewhere). Now that I think about it, that might be the underlying assumption of ancestor/hero worship like mine.

      If you’d like, I could post my calendar of heroes; that might help you construct your own. I find it’s helpful to see other people’s ideas so I can say, “Oh, no, I don’t agree with that” and “Great idea!” and “Hmm, not sure, but how about this other person?”

      I love your avatar picture, by the way! That’s a gorgeous painting. 🙂

      • Filipa says:

        Yees please, i’d love to see your calendar! 🙂 I’m still searching my way around, i don’t have a specific path per se so i’m always welcome to new ideas and interested in reading about other people’s way of doing things 🙂
        Thank you 🙂 I’m an art lover 😉

        P.S. I actually found your site Deo Mercury before i surprisingly stumbled upon your blog here.

  2. DeoMercurio says:

    Ooh, neat! How did you find them, if I may ask? Est-ce que tu lis le site en français ou en anglais ? This is a bit of a random question, but you wouldn’t happen to feel like doing some translating into Portuguese, would you?

    And finally, here’s the calendar (incomplete, to the extent that it does not include Kalends, Nones, Ides and other holidays, but complete with respect to heroes and also divae and divi): https://deomercurio.wordpress.com/calendar-of-divi-and-heroes/ (I’ll add further explanations about some of the notation presently.)

    Feel free to share more art as well! I have a feeling I’d like some of the same pieces that you do. 😉

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