Cernunnos/Hurnaz represents the spirit, soul, or incarnation of the forest itself. Unlike most gods, which fill an archetypal form congruent to their other roles, Cernunnos isn’t necessarily one that the practitioner aspires to be(come), but rather, a spirit one asks for protection, aid, and blessings from. Our idol stands at the edge of our property where things are considered “ordered,” representing the liminal space between the safety of the homestead and the inherent dangers of the wilderness. With this in mind, and within a Germanic context, we see Cernunnos representing an older, ancient, natural “Jotun” or “Wight” type of spirit; one that we must form a relationship with if we want to have a completely unified connection and understanding of the forest and all of its life forms.
It is here we bring the dead we find and offer fruits and other foods for the wildlife, the children (and embodiment) of the forest. Cernunnos represents all landavetter and spirits residing in the mysterious woods.
This god, as all others, has many different venerative systems, especially based on where it is you are practicing. If in a more urban setting, one might view this god as the Roman’s or civilized Gaul’s did, as a fertility and commerce god. If in the rural or farther reaches of society, one might have a more direct relationship with this god as the embodiment of the forest, as one by the sea would visualize the entirety of the ocean as Poseidon or Njord. Likewise, many cultures practiced this type of veneration in association with their geographical surroundings. Volcanoes, mountains, forests, lakes, oceans, etc., all embodied a certain god form inherent within them. This is where polytheism and animism overlap, forming the mindset of many of our ancestors prior to Christianity.
May we all venerate the great spirits of nature.