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Lyones
09-02-2005, 14:29
I find this one of the most facinating cards in the Legends deck. Cernunnos - Lord of the Forest - is half beast, half human, symbolising the creature in us all, the acceptance that we have physical needs, but also that we can become obsessive about them. He is one with nature, is nature, and nature is drawn to him.

The survival instinct is also strong - he holds a gold torc in one hand and a curly dragon-like serpent in the other as if weighing physical wealth and reality with tempting seduction, but at the same time clinging to them both. They are symbols of lordship and wisdom. As the protector of the animals and the forest, the animals seek him out, they watch him inquisitively and yet understand that he is their benefactor. They are free to come and go and yet they seem mesmerised, held captive by the presence of Cernunnos.

The moon shines through the clouds or mist, casting a green hue on the scene, a sense of illusion, foreboding and mystery. His eyes are wild, perhaps illustrating the fierceness and aggression with which the animal instinct possesses the human spirit. His behavior is not conventional, because he is not conventional. We are told in the Keeper of Words that the Chief or Shaman would become entranced and transformed to be possessed by the totem animal god to preserve the wild life, and that here Merlin plays that role.

The Keeper of Words says this of the animals: "The animals represent different aspects of primal wisdom. The fox symbolizes intuition and cunning. He is a lighting spirit and the Trickster. The otter represents the transformational, playful nature. The serpent is knowledge and understanding. The boar stands for force, resistance and overcoming fear. The stag shows proliferation and humanity's relationship with nature. Lastly the frog represents impulse, fertility and creativity."

I love the fact that Cernunnos indicates ecological balance and the need to preserve our natural surroundings. I also like the sense of power channelling with this card, because although it can mean being under someone or something's influence, the challenge of liberation and freedom from the frustration or being bound is exciting, and once dealt with, bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. He is the symbol of vitality, fertilerty and mating, he can bring chaos or success, depending on his favour.

I do not think it is an easy card to come to terms with, as the intoxication, together with the supernatural enchantment can be overwhelming, but when faced with this mirror immage of the self in a reading, I find it easier to acknowledge the dark side of my nature and bring it into balance within and without. To make the god-ship personal, as with the sacred rituals of transformation, symbolic, if not realistic steps need to be taken for the absorption of Cernunnos' wisdom to direct one's life with authority and self-empowerment.

WalesWoman
10-02-2005, 10:43
Having had the RWS version reverberating in my head, this is a different devil from those. So this is more about keeping a balance with our animal natures, not going overboard on them.

There is that "captured" element, being drawn and hypnotized by his eyes, one can just look away???

This actually seems like a very positive card once you read the symbolism of it, like getting the Devil card could be a good thing! Tho' it still sort of goes back to the traditional meaning, that perhaps we are not acting like our natural self at all and are caught up in something else entirely, be it artificial or chemical or sexual, obsessions of one sort or another, deviations from the norm.

Lyones
12-02-2005, 11:19
Originally posted by WalesWoman
Having had the RWS version reverberating in my head, this is a different devil from those. So this is more about keeping a balance with our animal natures, not going overboard on them.

There is that "captured" element, being drawn and hypnotized by his eyes, one can just look away???

This actually seems like a very positive card once you read the symbolism of it, like getting the Devil card could be a good thing! Tho' it still sort of goes back to the traditional meaning, that perhaps we are not acting like our natural self at all and are caught up in something else entirely, be it artificial or chemical or sexual, obsessions of one sort or another, deviations from the norm.

Yeah, I agree, the RWS Devil meanings are difficult to get away from when working with The Horned One, but I like this card a lot because I feel that it points out things without being judgemental. It is more accepting of the animal instincts that the Christian Devil is not, it does not associate guilt feelings with what is natural, only cautions us to channel them appropriately for best effect, reminding us of our social duties and boundaries, and prompting us to remain true to our own moral values - but also remembering that what is right for us may not be for someone else, and to respect that individuality.

I think you hit the nail on the head by saying it is "deviations from the norm", as traditionally Merlin is himself. Here we see him take on another identity - he knows that it is essential for the prosperity of the people and the land, but also knows that it is for a short time only that he takes on the form and duties of Cernunnos - and reminds me that gratifying the flesh, whether with food, drink, chemicals or sex, is a brief experience which may have consequences. However, without the natural instincts, we would have no drive for ambition, no need to 'hunt' or shop and no yearning for the excitement of sexual conquest and that abstaining in totallity from all of the above can be just as bad an obscession in the opposite extreme.

WalesWoman
13-02-2005, 03:53
I think you hit the nail on the head by saying it is "deviations from the norm", as traditionally Merlin is himself. Here we see him take on another identity - he knows that it is essential for the prosperity of the people and the land, but also knows that it is for a short time only that he takes on the form and duties of Cernunnos - and reminds me that gratifying the flesh, whether with food, drink, chemicals or sex, is a brief experience which may have consequences. However, without the natural instincts, we would have no drive for ambition, no need to 'hunt' or shop and no yearning for the excitement of sexual conquest and that abstaining in totallity from all of the above can be just as bad an obscession in the opposite extreme.

Good thoughts! Sex has been a major part of rituals, acknowledging the pro creative/reproductive connection with nature, by assuming the roles of the deities. No wonder we want to be loved like a goddess! Just doing our part to help out the continuance of life in the most pleasurable way.

I was also thinking of the ritualistic act itself, more like when it is done thoughtlessly, like going through a planned out ritual with little or no spontanaity. Like doing your "duty", thank God or the Goddess, most of that Victorian era thinking is gone with the wind. But even then, the thoughtless part of this, as a routine without conscious thought or meaning given to it. Gratification of desires.

Not only sex, but appetites as well. Overindulging the shopping bug, or what ever drives you to feel complete or satisfied. It seems the moon is a good symbol here too, there are more strange things happening under a full moon than any other time. More crimes, more domestic abuse, more accidents, more babies get born. Seems like the darker side of us is more illuminated by that moon. I'm not positive, but I think that "serial killers' are affected more by the moon as well, until it gets totally beyond their control and act more often on their instincts that drive them to do what ever they do.

It's a dark card to be sure, but with Cernunnos, sitting in the lotus position that we can gain a balance between our drives and desires and attainment without it becoming an obsession or harmful to ourselves or others.

Sophie-David
18-02-2005, 11:00
Like the Materialist card in the Connolly deck, there is a lot to be learned Legend's Horned One (http://www.llewellyn.com/tarot/images/le_hornedone.jpg), the Devil archetype portrayed in a more subtle way. One can see how this card is as necessary for balance as any of the others. Without the libidinous energy of one's instincts it would be pretty difficult to get out of bed in the morning - or to know what to do in bed too, for that matter.

Hmm, I just typed "extincts" in the last sentence before I corrected it to "instincts" - they are not only from within, but from outside, from beyond. They ground us in our bodies, like gravity they prevent us from flying off into the stratosphere, they keep us real, connected to the outer self as well as to the inner. There is no beauty without contrast, no victory without defeat, no good without evil, no spiritual without material. Embracing and directing that instinctual power, balancing it, working both with it and against it, this is the challenge which produces energetic living and meaningful art.

As Anna-Marie suggests, integration is the key. There are many treasures and abundant creative energy asleep in the shadows...

Somehow I just came to a slightly better understanding of what happened to me in my meditation on the Connolly Devil/Materialist. By "better understanding" I mean a taking to heart of what I already knew in my mind. The Wild White Stallion, a Shamanic animal, was used to recycle the negative Predator of the Soul into a small black stone which was then dropped into a convenient abyss.

As I read Anna-Marie's warning about "the dangerous repression of the instinctive nature" I thought, "Did I do that?" No, I know I didn't, and this is why: the truly important thing in the meditation was not the rendering of the predator into the stone, but the transformation and exertion of the psyche as the Stallion. The predator was but an exercise and discipline used to develop the new creature within, to integrate the instinctual energies into a positive working whole. This is what it means to work both with and against the instincts.

Both the harnessed Stallion and the stampeding Stallion are the negatives of this card. The free Stallion is the positive - and stallions should been ridden bareback if at all possible. :)

WalesWoman
19-02-2005, 13:54
LOL I just had the craziest thought before coming back to this card and re-reading your stallion post. Kept thinking about my cousins ponies and how they'd love to do stiff legged trots, puff out their bellies until we bounced off, bare backed most of the time, sometimes with a old bedspread with those fuzzy dingle balls...the circus acrobat or knights in armor. Wild gallops that left you sure your hips were up around your ear bones. LOL I can smell that hot summer horse sweat and dust right now.

Finally learning how to suppress and or resist all the devilishness, at least keep an eye on it and then discovering one can do too good of a job of that. That sometimes you need to be a bit of a devil and wild thing, go a bit on the wild side and really enjoy life. To use your cunning and wiles, to be able to see through the dark, to live in different environments like a frog and all these instinctive traits to survive, to create that balance and yet retain that zest for life.

I thought that your freudian typo was correct...without a bit of the horned one in us we would become extinct or may as well be.

Lyones
19-02-2005, 17:07
Originally posted by Sophi-David
Both the harnessed Stallion and the stampeding Stallion are the negatives of this card. The free Stallion is the positive - and stallions should been ridden bareback if at all possible.

Originally posted by WalesWoman
Finally learning how to suppress and or resist all the devilishness, at least keep an eye on it and then discovering one can do too good of a job of that. That sometimes you need to be a bit of a devil and wild thing, go a bit on the wild side and really enjoy life. To use your cunning and wiles, to be able to see through the dark, to live in different environments like a frog and all these instinctive traits to survive, to create that balance and yet retain that zest for life.

I thought that your freudian typo was correct...without a bit of the horned one in us we would become extinct or may as well be.

I agree 100% with both of you :) ... and I think as we get older we sometimes lose the nerve to even get on the horse, let alone ride it bareback, more's the pity. I also used to ride bareback when I was young - that brings back so many memories, and the sense of freedom in just doing something a bit crazy every so often :)

Sophie-David
20-02-2005, 11:22
Finally learning how to suppress and or resist all the devilishness, at least keep an eye on it and then discovering one can do too good of a job of that. That sometimes you need to be a bit of a devil and wild thing, go a bit on the wild side and really enjoy life. To use your cunning and wiles, to be able to see through the dark, to live in different environments like a frog and all these instinctive traits to survive, to create that balance and yet retain that zest for life.Yes, before I went off on my revelation that's what I was intending to write, that we do need to go on the wild side sometimes. I thought I had done so, but I see the Stallion took over!

I thought that your freudian typo was correct...without a bit of the horned one in us we would become extinct or may as well be.Now that you mention it I see the word "extinct" and see what you mean about dying out. But when that metal leap happened as I was writing the other day, I started to think about "ex-tincts" as opposed to "in-stincts", meaning primal forces that come from outside, routed through the physicality of the body. The "extinct" meaning never occured to me at the time.

I agree 100% with both of you ... and I think as we get older we sometimes lose the nerve to even get on the horse, let alone ride it bareback, more's the pity. I also used to ride bareback when I was young - that brings back so many memories, and the sense of freedom in just doing something a bit crazy every so often.Apart from brief pony rides on the beach I've never ridden a horse. But it seems to be in the blood, my daughter became quite a good rider and a friend to horses. Of course as a power animal I suppose it doesn't really matter whether I have ridden a horse - not too many people in the waking reality have hugged a bear and lived to tell about it either. :)

Grizabella
01-03-2005, 02:44
The book and one of your posts here mention the otter, but I've looked and looked at this card, and I can't find an otter. Can someone direct me to it?

Edited to add-----never mind, I found it. :)

Sophie-David
01-03-2005, 03:11
Welcome Lyric!

I had a heck of a time finding it too. There's just so much delicate detail in the original paintings that didn't miniaturize very well onto the cards.

Cheers
David

snowy25
06-03-2005, 04:55
Well for me it was hard to connect with the RWS Devil card.
The Horned One instantly reminded me of Pan.
His perants were ashamed of his looks and abandoned him.
He was the laughing stock of the Gods and worshiped by people.

I realy like the renaming and all the green and animal life in this card.
Some time ago I saw a program on the Discovery channel the history of the shape of the Devil and how the image had changed by time.
It seemd like in the middle ages people put their blame and their sinns on goats.
These animals took the burdan on them to become the first known images of the Devil.