"Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth."
Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that Cernunnos' origins date to those times. Romans sometimes portrayed him with three cranes flying above his head. Known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn. God of the underworld and astral planes. The consort of the great goddess. He was often depicted holding a bag of money, or accompanied by a ram-headed serpent and a stag. Most notably is the famous Gundestrup cauldron discovered in Denmark.
Lord of the Hunt
Always bearing the horns of a stag, Cernunnos is identified with the hunted, which in turn identifies him as hunter as well - shamanistic practices across the world bear witness to the concept that in order to catch your prey, you must identify in spirit with the prey.
God of Sexuality, Fertility, and Abundance
Stags are sexually aggressive creatures, and the antlers can certainly be considered phallic, marking Cernunnos as a god of fertility and abundance. This aspect is represented in other symbolism as well: cornucopiae, fruit, grain and coins.
Lord of the Underworld
Along with knowledge, the serpent is also a frequent symbol of death. The cycle of hunter and hunted of course intimately revolves around death and life from death. As Herne the Hunter, generally considered to be the British Celtic version the same figure, he is the leader of the Wild Hunt.
Today, many Pagan and Wiccan traditions honor Cernunnos as an aspect of the God, the embodiment of masculine energy and fertility and power.
Celtic symbols historically of the horned god, Cernunnos.
The Ghost - the earliest written account of Herne comes from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor in 1597:
Sometime a keeper here in Windsor Forest,
Doth all the winter-time, at still midnight,
Walk round about an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch-kine yield blood,
and shakes a chainIn a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit,
and well you know
The superstitious idle-headed eldReceiv'd,
and did deliver to our age,
This tale of Herne the Hunter for a truth.—
William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor
This records several aspects of Herne's ghost which is said to have haunted Windsor Forest (covering all of East Berkshire and parts of south Buckinghamshire, northeastHampshire and northwest Surrey) and specifically the Great Park ever since his death. Further details have entered local folklore from reported sightings , such as those in the 1920s. He appears antlered, sometimes beneath the tree on which he was hanged, known as "Herne's Oak", but more often riding his horse, accompanied by other wild huntsmen and the captured souls of those he has encountered on his journey. He has a phosphorescent glow and is accompanied by demon hounds, a horned owl and other creatures of the forest.