When I wrote my book “Mountain Magic”, which is about traces the Celts left behind in lore and traditions in the Alps, I ended up elaborating mainly about the Goddess. A lot. I did discuss the various forms in which the Gods may have survived there in the stories of old. But I was never satisfied with the fact that the Gods are somewhat underrepresented.
Not because I am a male myself, but because I truly believe in the importance of an equilibrium in everything, including a balanced presence of Gods and Goddesses. I also have an awesome relationship with the Goddesses in their Alpine form, and wouldn’t want to miss that for the world. Still, something was missing.
So, the other Sunday I went on a walk with my dog, and took a rest, as usual, at the trunk of my tree-friend there. We exchanged pleasantries first, and then I fell into a meditative contemplation, because I didn’t have anything particular on my mind. She must have, though, for she told me that it was time to meet and get to know Cernunnos. As I opened my inner eyes, there he was, standing at the tree line around the clearing, gesturing something that could, with a lot of fantasy, be interpreted as an enthusiastic greeting. A little wave with the hand, maybe.
Well, next time I could, I decided to go back into the Otherworld and search for Him, getting to know Him better. Soon enough, I saw a majestic stag coming towards me, in the fog of the morning forest. You know, his head bouncing slowly, the massive neck absorbing the weight of the huge antlers; in a fashion typical for a stag leisurely strolling through the woods. Then, while they antlers and head stayed where they were, the face, neck and chest (from what I could see from the front) slowly turned into a human-like shape, broad shoulders, muscular arms and all. Pleased to meet you, Mr. Cernunnos!
Again, pleasantries at first, and then a lesson. Not that I asked specifically for that one, but (of course) he knew that I had been observing the Pleiades a lot in the weeks following Samhain, cranking my neck every night when I let out the dog for her last business for the day. “Look at the shape of the Pleiades,” he thundered, “create a mirror image, and connect the dots. Take my antlers as a guide. And then think about what their appearance and disappearance – and my own – during the course of the year have in common.” Lesson over.
A picture says more than a 1000 words, so I fabricated one that follows his instructions. And yeah, the Pleiades are antlers! And yeah again, the Pleaides tell us when it’s Beltane (when they sink, together with Taurus with the Sun), and when it’s Samhain (when they appear again on the eastern night sky). Although, isn’t that exactly opposite to Cernunnos’ path, appearing in Spring and retiring in Autumm, together with the Goddess? Mirror-image, baby! And, let’s not forget: when the Pleiades (the antlers) disappear in the evening, where were they all day? Right. Exactly above us. We were roaming the land right below them.
Funny how that works…