In Druidry, Paganism, and nature spirituality, many people take an interest in the old stories of horned deities, forest gods and the mysteries of the wild. In nature we find magic, messages from the divine, and guidance on our path in the way of plants that speak to us, and animals that bring messages that help us see the way forward and give us a deeper understanding of the world and our role within it. Many people also encounter the Gods, Goddesses and other spiritual presences of the wilds in their meditations and dreams. The image of the horned ones of the forests and wild places is a powerful archetype that has an ancient history and their presence is often an invitation to understand the wild within ourselves better.
These Wild Ones are depicted in art stretching back millennia and all across the world. The human with the horned headdress is seen in many places where horned and antlered animals are found. They are also alluded to in old folk traditions and have become an important part of modern Pagan practice and folk tradition celebrations. Some are particularly old survivals such as the Bromley Horn Dance in England, while others are glad to explore new ways of expressing their connection to this powerful archetypal image.
Deities associated with horns include Herne the Hunter, Elen of the Ways, Cernunnos, Shiva, Selene, Hathor, Pan and Silvanus as well as many others. Working with the horned deities could take you down many different paths of exploration into learning about mythology, history and culture, or taking part in traditional folk practices such as a summer parade or seasonal celebration. Deities associated with the wild hunt also include Odin/Woden, Gwyn ap Nudd, King Arawn, King Arthur, Merlin, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, and Manannán. In modern Wicca and Witchcraft traditions the Horned God as a character in themselves is also important, and can relate on a personal level to many of these other deities.
When I create jewelry inspired by the deities of the wild, I tend to include stones that connect us with the spirit of nature and the wild. I have chosen in my most recent pieces to give the antlers and horns a texture that makes them look like wood. The reason I have decided to do that is because not every place in the world has antlered creatures, but every place does have wood, the wilds and the spirit of nature, so to make them seem wood-like, makes them more an emblem of that energy in all nature, rather than specific to places with antlered creatures alone. The growing, thriving movement of branches reflects this same energy, so I have shown that they are connected in this way.
Stones that help us to connect with nature wisdom include green garnet, green aventurine, nephrite jade, moss agate, tree agate, new jade, malachite and japsers. Stones for spiritual connection include amethyst, clear quartz, fluorite, labradorite, and moonstone. There are many others that can also be added to create unique stories for the pieces as we combine the individual stone meanings and energies.
Wearing a piece inspired by the horned deities might inspire you to learn more about their stories and folklore, or about the surrounding cultural histories and legends such as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, the Green Man, and others. Finding a passion for story and history can help awaken our relationship with the natural world. Of course, spending time in nature is another powerful way to explore these energies. Simply taking time to explore in nature can open us up to incredibly spiritual experiences of the wisdom of the Wild Ones. We can also learn about plant medicines, wild foods, foraging and gardening to connect with the magic of nature, and many people who are interested in the magic of plants might see the horned gods and goddesses as personal guides in their work.
For myself, working with the Wild Ones as the horned deities has helped me to understand the presence of introduced species here in Australia. Often species which are sacred to our Druidry traditions are considered weeds or invasive species here and that can create some conflict on a spiritual level as well as a practical one where we consider caring for the land. Delving into this topic with the guidance of these spirits of nature, I've learned about the need for balance, resource management, care for fragile ecosystems and the importance of caution, patience, and humility in our work with the Earth. The image here is of a Wild One who visited me. A horned god of all species, no matter where they come from. A spirit that challenges us to understand nature's will to exist, to survive and to pass on life to future generations and to create a thriving vibrant world. What part will we play in this dance of life?
I hope that wearing these pieces inspires you to find your own inspiration and connection to the Wild Ones, in your time in nature, in the stories of the horned deities of the wilds, and in your understanding of the Earth and you place within it. Their mysteries ask us to explore the otherworlds of existence, to learn about the magic of the wild worlds, and to understand plant magic and wisdom. It’s a wonderful journey. The pieces will be released on 13th October from 7pm Sydney NSW time. I'll be live sharing a video about them on my Facebook page Forest Spirit Jewelry. See the event details here: