Hern is dead? Is it possible to kill a God? ..assuming that Hern or Herne IS actually a god! Some consider `him’ to be a shaman-figure, others think he was a Hunter / Games Keeper in the services of the King of England (a long time ago) who hunted in the realms of Windsor Great park. There are stories of `Hern sighting’ in Windsor to this day.
Only a few years ago, when I was being walked off Windsor park by the Queen’s Park Keepers, after 3 friends and I had been camping out there on one Samhain (Halloween) night, one of the Park Keeprs said he had heard of a sighting. (They were probing us as to why we had stayed there over-night, and I had explained that we worship Hern and were honouring him on Samhain by being there!)
Well, I first properly came across the figure (not literally) when I was watching the now famous `Robin of Sherwood’ TV program about 25 years ago. But it was only in 2004 that I actually started `worshiping’ Hern as a God-form. (so yes, he is a god to me). And yes, for some reason, I have always refered to him as `Hern’ and not `Herne’ (no `e’). At that point in my life, I was quite low emotionally and feeling rejected (well, I had been) and disempowered, and sort of fell into Hern-worship. So much so that I eventually started an outdoor Ritual & shamanic pagan group in London – called `Hern’s Tribe’ .. which is now possibly quite well known (though people may not know what, where or how it operates, unless they actually attend!)
So, getting back to `Hern is dead’. What is that all about, you ask?
I have been making a Hern – a woody figure made of pieces & off-cuts of Willow branches in my garden. I think it must be over 2 years old. And quite recently I have had the thought to burn it down fully. (I have a habit of burning away old magical tools – wands, talismans, charms, artefacts that I had created.. I feel it releases tied up energy, stagnant energy and unwanted energies.. so that I am free to create new magical artefacts again. It’s not like someone is going to want to keep my old magical artefacts in a museum now is it ? well, few close loved ones think it should… but that is not how I see it. As magicians, we strive to be empowered, and though we may start by attaching our beliefs and power to objects- ultimately it is about taking those powers within, and be free from external objects. It is a sort of power-integration within! And that is my path, something I am keen to write about and teach eventually).
So, the Hern figure in the garden., Well, after a trip to Windsor great park, to do some much needed personal magical work with Hern-energy, I got home and a day later took the `head’ of the outdoor Hern sculpture (as tall as me..no, taller!) and ritually burnt it.
We hear of the phrase, `All that dies shall be reborn, all that falls shall rise again’ in Wiccan coven circles as part of a chant. Well, in order for that process to happen, things must die, things must fall. (Ideally doing that around Lammas – time of Harvest and the sacrificial Corn-King is best. But the fall can happen any time in the scope of a magician’s life).
So though it may be horrifying for some, I have no major concerns about such personal activities – destroying magical artefacts – provided I then go off and create new ones!! And that is what I have done, more or less over the following day.
So although the old head of Hern is dead and burnt, there is now a new one.. a far better one in fact – as this one now has real set of antlers or two, and he has a better body (from a new batch of Willow tree prunning).
It is a bit like the saying, `King is dead, Long live the King,’ – meaning that when an old one dies, a new one becomes King.
There is so much to say on the matter of Hern worship, and of empowering. There is so much dis-empowering in the world – and am sad to say I see so much of that within the pagan communities. Yes, people can have all sorts of explanations, but people forget that other peopl do have `real’ psychic sensing…and not just `a feel’ or intuitive thinking. Some of us actually `sense’ energy with our bodies…and at times it’s bloody painful…chest aches, blocked chakras, head-aches, tingling foreheads & ticklish necks…buzzing backs.. ! I suppose that is for people who are `sensates’ – one type of psychic people who pick up psychic energies physically, rather than visually, audibly, intuitively or emphatically( am that too, and that can be a pain.. especially when loved ones are going through tough times…miles away and their states affect me).
So point I make.. yes there is a quite a lot of dis-empowering in the community..and pagan communities are no exceptions. And me burning Hern has a purpose. What with all the Pluto-square-Uranus transits going on, these are the days of death, rebirth and transformations for us all.. and as one late High Priestess once said to me, I seem to live magical things harshly first, before I teach it to others.
With that old Hern-head, burnt, a part of me is also dead. But with a new antlered Head and filled body of Hern reconstructed, my magic undergoes similar transformation. It’s image magic.. poppets and blood..and bones.. on a larger scale.
Hern is dead. Long Live Hern!
Deep Earthy Blessings…and `May Hern protect us!’
ps. My long awaited book `Book of Hern: Magical pathways for personal Empowerment’ is being published on 21st December 2012 – on Winter Solstice day..longest night, when hope is reborn! Keep an eye on my website Hern’s Tribefor updates.