This is copyright by Robin Wood, please don’t steal it. It’s a beautiful picture I know, but she is working to make these affordable to everyone. I don’t want to contribute to image theft. I have a number of artist friends, and this is taking food out of their mouths, just as surely as walking into a bookstore and taking a book without paying for it is theft of literature.
This is a piece I wrote and posted on my Dreamwidth account. I think you might like it.
To me: Herne is the Lord of the Green Wood. He is the Lord of Hunting. He was, in fact, a living person who was murdered because the nobleman who wanted to hunt was unable to find game, and he blamed his huntsman, to wit; Herne. They tied antlers to his head and hung him in a tree.
The Wild Hunt is run by Herne. Others may participate in it, they may play prominent roles in the Wild Hunt, but Herne is the Huntsman of the Hunt, and as such, it is HIS hunt, no one else’s.
As part of that, he is the prime Hunter. He is the one who stalks the prey, kills it and does everything to it. He is not a Warrior, He is not a “tra la la skipping through the forest and glades” kid who wants to impress the Maiden, nor is he the old Coot who gives out wisdom like his teeth, he is the provider to the Mother. He is the one who kills and drags the carcass back to the hut so that he can butcher it up, brain-tan the hide and She can put some steaks on the grill with some vegetables she wild-crafted near the house and everyone can eat.
Yes, He has a hairy damned chest. That keeps the thorns off his hide when moving through the brush. His senses are keen and he can almost taste the prey he is going after. He CAN smell them. He has lots of tricks when moving through the forest. He is the ultimate Ranger, the ultimate LRRP, the ultimate “drop him in the middle of no where with nothing and in an month he’ll be on the beach in Tijuana with $500 and a pitcher of Margaritas waiting for you.” He can hunt with Spear, Bow or Knife. He has no use for a Sword of any kind (it’s too long and you can’t use it close in). You will NEVER best him in the wilds, he can appear and disappear as a shadow, coming as he wants and moving to wherever else he wants.
He is a Ranger in truth, for He also takes care of the Range and all that is on it. Meaning that He is concerned with the health of the animals, both Predator and Prey. He monitors where they are, what kinds of states they are in, their offspring and how they are breeding, and if there needs to be some thinning of this group, and if this one has been overhunted…
Civilization is only something you go back to. He has no patience with niceties in combat, for a wolf won’t wait for you to get up when you fall. A horse won’t refrain from kicking you when you are prone. If you have a chance to kill your target and your enemy when they are still unaware of you, that is the time to strike.
He has personally taken me on hunts for the leadership of the herd. I have never seen anyone go after the King Stag with only a short flint knife and win before. When the King Stag was dead, he took the rulership of the Herd to allow them to continue to live and prosper.
He’s death on someone who is only after game trophies. Taking a trophy is fine, but you damned well better use all parts of that which you kill. He is the person I learned from when it came time to learn about the Pack and the Herd. He taught me not to waste anything.
While He is not kind, His kindness is that of Nature. The sick, the ill, the lame, the hurt, the useless are killed first, to improve everything else. But He is also not a torturer. His deaths are swift, clean, and with praise for the one slain.
The Charge of the Hunter which I wrote the other day is pretty much direct from His lips.
Listen to the words of the Great Hunter, he who was called among people Herne, Cernunos, Gwynn ap Nudd, The Horned One, The Master of the Wild Hunt, Mabon and by many other names.
Whenever you have need of any meat, once in the week, and better it be when the season turns to Winter, then ye shall assemble in the green wilds and continue the cycle of Hunter and Hunted. I am the King of the Herd, the one who sustains the People in the times of rest for the Earth, and I shall show you the Ancient Cycles again. And you shall be free from civilization, and as a sign of this freedom, ye shall carry a weapon to take your meat with, be it a Spear, an Arrow or a Knife. You shall creep and stalk across the Land, becoming closer and closer to the Hunted, and understanding the ways of the Hunted. Mine is the Joy of the Kill, the thrill of the Stalk and the Praise of the Slain. My law is that thou shall take the weak and the injured, the elderly and the sick, thus to improve the Herd and make them strong. You shall use all of what you Kill and you shall praise and thank the Spirit of that which you have killed, for Death is only part of the cycle of Life, and this child of mine will live again. I demand that you take only what you need and that you replace that which you took whenever possible. My teachings are those of survival and the continuation of the next Generation. I am the Tip of the Spear, the Arrowhead and the Knife’s Edge, and you shall remember that the survival of the Herd is paramount, for if the Herd does not survive, there will be no next generation.
Hear ye the words of the Green Lord; he in the dust of the Earth, the play of the plants, whose body is all that lives.
I am the beauty of the Green Earth, just as the Goddess is. I am the sunlight pouring down upon you all, giving you energy, warmth, and life. Come unto me, and spend times in the Wilds, feeling the Ancient Rhythms of the Universe, knowing that all you see is but a small part of what exists. All things that are around you, inside yourself, expressed in Nature are part of the Natural Order, and if it were an abomination to Me it would not exist. I have blown my breath upon the Land and life bloomed, for Goddess and God together create. Celebrate that in your days and in your rituals, know that I am with you always and that you are part of those Ancient Cycles as well. Take what you need, and give back what you can is my command. You shall ever find me in the Wilds and in your own heart, talking to you about the days past and the cycles of Eternity. And I shall liberate you from the fear of death, for death is only another state, just as Living is, and you need not fear death, for all things die. And my blessing you shall always have, for you are just as sacred as the rest of the Universe, and you are part of the cycle also.
Every time I think of His appearance, I see a man, large and lean and cut, built, bearded, broad shouldered, suntanned skin, fur-skinned loincloth, bare feet. A knife in a sheath at his waist, a spear in his fist. Horns grow out of his head, large rack of deer antlers, a 15 point rack at least. He sometimes has a dog with Him. I see him in “formal clothes” as the Magician of the Robin Wood Tarot deck. That’s special occasions. The Natural World is His to command, to touch, to manipulate, but never without consideration and never to harm others deliberately. The Natural World is too vast, and if you manipulate it too much, you can cause earthquakes and volcanoes. These are always in the mind as possible consequences of that manipulation.
He won’t save you from the consequences of your actions. He won’t save you from stupidity. But he will try to save you from unintended consequences. He doesn’t want sacrifices, he does not want offerings, or worship. He demands that you be in harmony with the Green World, with the Land. That kind of obedience is the thing he wants. To be in harmony with Him and the Land, that is the connection that matters.
He is sexual. He does have sex, and he does have sex with the Lady. He is primal, and he loves his Lady much. But He also spreads His seed across the Land, just as the Lady does, to make the Earth fertile. Through them both, Him and Her, I have met the spirits of several forests, Brocilliande, The Amazon, The Appalachians and the Smokeys, and a few others. I understand them now how I could never have understood them before.
He is very much a “provide for yourself” kind of deity. “If you want it, get it.” Maybe that’s why I’m still out of work.
He has shown me the secrets of the chicks in the nest, the bears giving birth in hibernation, the cubs that are born shapeless to be groomed by their mother cougar into form. He has shown me secrets that are awe-full and beautiful.
He is also a father. In his role as provider to the family, he cherishes his children and really works hard to take care of them. He loves them, and he teaches all that he can to them, so they can be the best THEY can be. He does not force them into a mold, but he offers suggestions and points out mistakes, while at the same time praising the accomplishments and being the proud dad.
I love him so much. He claimed my soul from the first and while there have been times I’ve been having problems with Him, it has never been bad enough to change our relationship. It has always been the normal “young buck challenges King Stag” kind of competition.
I’m not ready to take his place yet. I know my capabilities and I know who I am.
“Know yourself” is the command, and I work at it constantly.
Here is an interesting piece that I wrote about the Lord. The Encyclopedia Mythica has information on Herne listed saying that he is the leader of the Wild Hunt and often associated with Cernunos. One page on Pagan-Home, A Cyber Community has a lot of good info and links to other works.
This is taken from Terry McCombs, and he has an updated version of this information at “The Horned God“
Herne, Herne the Huntsman
by Terry McCombs
SYMBOLS: Stag horns, Hounds, Hunting Horn.
USUAL IMAGE: A large man with the horns of a stag (picture), sometimes show with midnight black skin and glowing green eyes.
HOLY DAYS: The whole of the winter months, like most Celtic ‘horned’ gods, Herne was said to rule the cold months. The Goddess ruled during the summer months.
PLACE OF WORSHIP: The wild wood.
MAJOR TABOOS: Escaping.
FORM OF WORSHIP: “All heads turn when the hunt goes by.”
SYNODEITIES: Silvanus (another Celtic God), Pan (Greek/Roman), Buffalo (Native American), Mielikki (Finnish).
DETAILS: Herne is the silent master of the Wild Hunt, a legend that is found in most Celtic lands. Herne is also one of a number of horned gods that are found in Celtic tales. Like the others he was a symbol of the life force. Herne, like the Greek Pan, was a symbol for a wilder form of that force. Just as Pan’s pipes drove people to pan-ic, Herne also had a highly effective horn. Only his did not drive one to panic but called all who heard it to joint he wild hunt and be filled with an uncontrollable lust to hunt down and rip to shreds what or whom ever was unlucky enough to become the object of this hunt. He was always aided in this by a number of large hounds.