Oct. 18 – Great Horn Festival—Horned God and Lady of the Wood invoked for the fertility of wild game and the Hunting Season.
Everything autumn sums up this time. Cider, wines and warming herbs and spices to gods and goddesses.
We are in between what Druids call Mea’n Fo’mhair, honoring the God & Goddess of the Forest, and the Celtic other hinge of the year , Samhain, when one might enter through the Otherworld, and the doors between worlds stand open.
A time of mysteries, we recognize the aging of the goddess and visit ancestors’ graves, decorating them with leaves, acorns and other elements of fall. Tables are covered in feasts of breads, root vegetables and apple cider, as scents of cinnamon and nutmeg fill the air.
The Horned God
The Horned God is “the personification of the life force energy in animals and the wild” and is associated with the wilderness, virility and the hunt. Doreen Valiente writes that the Horned God also carries the souls of the dead to the underworld.
Doreen Valiente has called the Horned God “the eldest of gods” in both The Witches Creed and also in her Invocation To The Horned God.
The Horned God is the lord of the woodlands, the hunt and animals. He also is the lord of life, death and the underworld. He is the sun to the Goddess’ moon.
The Horned God represents sexuality, vitality, the hunt, logic and power.
He is the hunter and the hunted, he is the light and the darkness.
I am the summer winds that rustle through your spirit
and stir the whispering leaves of your soul.
I am the wild and darksome stag
that raises horn and hoof within your wildest places. from The Charge Of The Horned God
In Paleolithic times the principle male deity was a God of Hunting. Humankind needed success in the hunt in order to survive: the hunt provided skins for clothing, food, and bones for tools and weapons.
Stags, rams, bulls, and antlered horned heads represented virility, fertility, animals, nature and reincarnation.
The myth of the Wild Hunt has through the ages been modified to accommodate gods and folk heroes.
The Wild Hunt
“As far as practitioners of nature spiritualities are concerned, the Wild Hunt offers an initiation into the wild and an opening up of the senses; a sense of dissolution of self in confrontation with fear and death, an exposure to a ‘whirlwind pulse that runs through life’. In short, engagement with the Hunt is a bid to restore a reciprocity and harmony between humans and nature.”
— Susan Greenwood.
Between animals and souls, animals and the dead, animals and the beyond, there exists a profound connection.
— Carlo Ginzburg, Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbat
The Lady Of The Wood
She is the Lady of the Wildwood.
Hidden in the shadows of the trees, she watches you with eyes millennia old. You may catch a brief glimpse of her, and then she is gone, flitting silent as ghost amidst the snowy boughs, disappearing in a heartbeat.
She is the heartbeat of the wood, of the wild places, of heathland and moorland. She dances under the moon in star-filled skies, her dance exhilarating and free.
Take a deep breath of crisp, autumn air and savor the warm spices of the season.