I dreamed of Cernunnos


Years ago, when I still lived in Ohio, I was blessed to have participated in several spiritual retreats with women of the Pagan community. These retreats took place twice a year on average – once in the spring and once in fall, generally speaking.

Most of the retreats I remember attending we were in the woods at one campsite or another, though one time we had the chance to camp out at the Olentangy Indian Caverns with several special arrangements made. The best of which was the opportunity to go through the caves after the tourist portion of the place was closed. The lights were turned off and we drummed, prayed, chanted,  and sang there in the dark. The next morning my (then) boyfriend and I took the tourist tour through the caves and it was an empty, hollow experience compared to the intensity and magic of the night before. The spirits of that land were awake and hungry for more of what we were able to do simply by being there, at peace with them, sharing community, drumming and chanting in ways similar to what they must have had centuries before… Before their homes and sacred knowledge had become a cheesy tourist trap with memorized scripts given by passionless guides only there for a summer job.

But that’s not the dream I had last night…

In my dreamwalk, I journeyed back to the site of another retreat in the woods, where the large cabin I stayed in was next to a beautiful ravine. It was common practice at these retreats for us to invoke and work with feminine power and energy: Goddess, and that was always wonderful. But one time, that changed and we instead stood in a circle facing one another and invoked the God.

I was nervous about this. It wasn’t what I expected. I’d been Pagan, a Witch, for a few years now at that point, but in the back of my mind somewhere I still felt that the God was too foreign to me. I was comfortable with the notions of the divine Mother, but uncertain how to truly connect with Her other half. I’d heard about him. I’d heard how Wiccans were believers in dual divinity and the balance between male and female, men and women, God and Goddess. But personally, that wasn’t how I felt about things.

To me, “God” was still too far away, too patriarchal, too unfamiliar and too unreachable. 

I thought I was okay with that. The Goddess was all I really felt like I needed and for the most part, I felt like I was giving ‘lip service’ to my belief in masculine deity. Sure he was there, but always just names in a book: Apollo, Herne, Enki, Hermes, Osiris,  the faceless ‘other half’ of divinity.

All of that changed that night however. Candles flickered, women chanted and hummed,  and there was something ancient, primal, powerful, strong, and otherworldly that filled the room. Even now, I still recall the energy of it but as then, lack sufficient talent and vocabulary to put it into words. But I still feel the warm static chills it brought. It smelled of moist, dark earth that was ready to be planted but could have been just as easily prepared for a grave. It smelled of forest, rain, burning sunlight, sweat, sex, and death. It wasn’t a simple scent that wafted through your nostrils… No… it was all-encompassing,  swallowing you completely until there was nothing else and you didn’t even feel as if you were still standing inside of a building but rather on bare earth and there was no roof overhead… just starry heavens.

I held the bare skull of an antlered stag in my hands and felt something I’d never felt before whoosh through me, over me, inside me, around me, everywhere all at once. I spoke and felt the words resonate from someplace other than my throat. As if my heart, stomach, mind, and larynx were all joined together somewhere behind my eyes but managed to get out through my mouth.

I don’t remember what I said. I just remember saying it with the intention of recognizing Him for the first time and asking Him to join with us. I desperately wanted that connection. I wanted to know Him as more than just “the Lady’s Consort”, more than just dusty names from ancient sources that didn’t really feel alive to me. I wanted Him to be more than just relics and myth, a character in stories who used to reside in what are now crumbled ruins and broken groves.

He answered.

He’s answered ever since.

Last night I journeyed in a dream back to that cabin near the ravine and I sat there, naked on mist-moistened earth with sunlight only a greyish hint in the sky. I smelled him again as I had that night. He arrived across the ravine as a graceful stag with golden threads like holiday tinsel weaving through the tines of his antlers. Each time he turned his head or moved they flashed. He was powerful and graceful, gazing at me across the ravine; a ravine covered across the bottom with mist so thick that it appeared I was seated both on the cool ground and above a cloud. He began walking towards me, sure-footed over the mist, hooves bouyed up by it until he arrived as he had before, smiling and happy to see me again.

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17 thoughts on “I dreamed of Cernunnos

  1. I have yet to experience him and have lost myself in hours of meditation… But still find my connection to the Goddess stronger than a thing I’m willing to let go of. Thank younfornyournwriting it makes me feel as if there is a possibility I will experience him. Any advice would greatly be appreciated.

    May the Godess watch over you,
    Anderson

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  2. Thank you for your comment Anderson,

    I don’t think you have to relinquish your bond with the Goddess to form a connection with Cernunnos, or any god.

    If you want to seek him, seek him in a place he would be comfortable with. Go outside, especially to a place where deer roam. Then sit there quietly and see what happens.

    He is a god of the wild, of animals, of fertility, as well as Lord of life and death. Work to form a connection with and understanding of these things in your own life. Through that connection, Cernunnos will find you.

    If you don’t have anything going on in your life that ‘fits’ with him then forming a connection will be difficult. He’s got to be more than a name or a character in a story to be real to you and the best way to have a connection is to have things in common that you care about or are important to you.

    If you really want him to make himself known and if you’re really ready to accept it, I think doing this will help.

    Let me know if I can be of more assistance or how this works out for you.

    I wish you a good journey!

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  3. Last night I had a dream of a stag headed man, he was powerful and sexual, yet overflowing with kindness. I woke up feeling this dream, I had never even heard the name Cernunnos, never read about him until I searched for stag headed man this morning. I was also shocked in reading to find I had this dream on the 1st of November the start of the Celtic year a significant day to him. I feel Honored to have been graced with such a connection to him, how can I show my gratitude? I am not wiccan, or pagan but I understand that this encounter was significant.

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    1. Hello Krissa,

      That sounds like a really special dream. I agree that it was significant, but how you follow up on it, if you choose to, will be up to you.

      I suggest learning as much about Cernunnos as you can. Use books, the internet, as many sources as you can find. Since you don’t consider yourself to be Wiccan or Pagan, I think it’s important that you find out what the dream could represent without crossing personal barriers or upseting your personal beliefs. Then again, maybe that’s part of why he visited. It’s your call and I wish you the best in the journey.

      If you feel gratitude for the dream and want to show your appreciation to him, go out into the woods and sit and meditate. Someplace with deer is best, as wild and untouched as you can find. Leave an offering of good beer (imported ale from the British Isles is his favorite), peaches, apples, and some patchouli incense. These are the things I have found that he enjoys and appreciates. If there is some volunteer work you could do with keeping up parks nearby, keeping natural landscapes clean and beautiful, or volunteer to do some work with animals at a shelter or zoo, he is the Lord of Wild Things. Do this and dedicate your efforts to him.

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  4. Well I am a 30 year old male. Last year just before Halloween I was visited by HIM in a dream The dream was very much real and very detailed. I can remember every detail like it was yesterday. When I awoke I was amazed and exhausted from my experience. I did not know who HE was all i knew was I had a dream of a hoofed well built shape shifter with antlers. I then looked online and was left speechless that my dream matched HIM 100% I am still left with so many questions. I wish i could fully understand why he came to me.

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    1. Hello James,

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I apologize for taking a long time to respond to this properly.

      The time around Halloween/Samhain is specific to Cernunnos in several ways, his role as psychopomp (one who leads souls) is big here. The dream could have had something specific to do with this, or with events that were going on in your life. Have you had other dreams involving him? Has he made himself known to you in other ways? There is a lot of possibility here for deep, personal work.

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  5. MM, Serpent. I found your post when I was researching Cernunnos. I’ve been having dreams of him since Thanksgiving (which remarkably matched the picture you have up and I just saw it today). The Lady of the Moon has been in my dreams as well… I’ve been trying to gather input from other Pagans/Witches about the meaning behind meeting Cernunnos in my dreams, especially since I live in Las Vegas now and have very little (if any) access to wild areas of trees and such… I’m having trouble figuring out how to commune with Him because of it… Do you have any tips or ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts… Brightest Blessings….

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    1. Hello Autumn,

      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting. I haven’t been able to get online much so it’s taken longer than I would have liked to get back to you on this. I apologize.

      Similar to what I told James is this: Cernunnos has various roles or duties that he performs. Some of these are more prevalent during particular times of the year. Halloween/Samhain and the time heading into winter aligns with his role as the sacrifice, the psychopomp, and the teacher. If you look back on what was going on in your own life during the time you had these dreams, do any of these roles seem important?

      Dreams are tricky things and can have and fulfill several different meanings or purposes. When you’re using dreams as a guideline, you have to consider all these possibilities.

      As for communing with him where you live, and as a means to learn more about him, find what other sorts of roles he has. No God or Goddess is merely ‘god or goddess of __ ” There are many subtle (and not so subtle) associations to be found that might go beyond what we typically think. Cernunnos is more than just a forest deity. While that is the area most associated with him, and where I think he’s comfortable being, it’s not the -only- place he lives and not the only role he possesses.

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  6. What an amazing experience to feel him so close. Cernunnos seems to be the hardest for many of us to connect to because of past hang-ups or misconceptions of “God.” He really is so awesome and powerful though.

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    1. Owyl,

      Definitely.

      I started writing a more detailed reply to your comment, and ended up talking at length about this again. So, you have inspired another blog post that will be forthcoming shortly hehe. Thanks 🙂

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  7. Since childhood I have felt more at home with the forest than among people. I was raised Christian. Yet I have always known of or felt Cernunnos. At a former address I know I came into contact with him. A heard of deer came thru the yard to feed on corn, apples, and a salt block we put out for them. He was a stag with great antlers among the herd. There was a magical presence about him, magnetic, drawing me to him. Our eyes locked together and I looked into his eyes for the longest time feeling his nobility, power, warmth, and loving kindness. I felt a passion only known to me once before when I met my soulmate. His love is filled with strength and grace. I am shy and I broke the gaze. Only until last fall did I begin to come into contact with him again. I have had many dreams of him most if my life. Recently as I have felt him so close I have struggled with my longing and need to know him. I recently realized there is a soul connection with him and that there are times he comes to me and I commune with him. His passion of spirit and kindness is what draws me to him and there are times I feel his energy consume me. After a recent experience with him I know now that I must learn more about him. He is the God of my ancient people from England and in a sense he is in my blood and my soul. I must learn more about following him, to walk the path of the Deer People.
    Thank you for this blessing that flows from your writing. It is a gift you share with all who wish to partake. May the brightest stars shine upon you with blessings always.
    Stargazer*

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