Getting to Know the Powers: Wildness

A basic introduction of the deity
Wildness is the Second God, slightly older than his twin brother, Time, firstborn children of Night. He is the force of wildness, wilderness, desolation, ferity, madness, chaos, and everything that is ambivalent or hostile to humanity. At the same time, he is the power of and behind witchcraft, initiation, ecstasy and wild, uninhibited sex and sexuality. In a sense, he is the power of transgression, breaking boundaries and expectations, and ultimate and true authenticity in the face of conformity.
The Wild Father is often clothed in the skins and forms of animals, and is one of the least anthropomorphic of the Powers, more animal than human – and yet he is, also, the First Ancestor of humanity. He and his realm are what birthed us, and though we now fall under the influence of his twin, he is always calling us back to him. He is the White Stag leading us into Reality, which often has a strange resemblance to the Otherworld.

Symbols and icons of this deity
Skulls, hides and fur, antlers, trees, mushrooms, horned figures, bones, wilderness landscapes, zoomorphic figures, deer, snakes, phalluses.

A favorite myth or myths of this deity
Creation of humanity

At the beginning time, the worlds were created by the Divine Twins, the powers of earth and air and fire and water and spirit, and filled with all manner of life. And in the joining and unjoining of their strengths and powers, a figure was formed, of earth and fire, of water and air, living, but thoughtless and without spirit. The Spirit Twins, Dark and Light, Order and Chaos, came upon this figure, and wondered at it. Then, the Mother told them of its purpose, and showed them a vision, and the holy brothers fell in love with it. When they returned to the figure, they laid their hands upon it, and blessed it, and made love together and anointed it with their conjoined seed, and breathed a portion of their own spirit into it. And the figure shook, and the fire rose in her cheeks, and the water flowed through her limbs, and the air wove in and out between her lips, and the earth itself knitted her bones, and she Was, because she was filled with spirit. And they named her a child of the Mother, and of the Twins, and in turn, she herself gave birth to the children of the Twins, who arose and spread across the face of the earth.
And thus was humanity born – ever torn between light and darkness, unity and diversity, order and chaos, wild and tamed, for we carry each of us the power of the Dark Twin and the Light Twin.

Members of the family – genealogical connections
Mother – Night
Twin/Brother – Lord of Plenty
Children – Earth Twins and Fire Twins (progenitors of the Vanir, Jotnar, Tuatha Dé Danann, Fir Bolg, Formorii, and elemental giants; as well as the Tribes and the Fair Folk within the Waincraft cosmology); Witcher and Watcher; humanity (with the Lord of Plenty and Night)
Consort – Night, Witcher, Lord of Plenty

Other related deities and entities associated with this deity
Night
Lord of Plenty
Witcher
Lord of the Green
Guardian
Fairy Queen
Lady of Shadows
Deer (Tribe)
Serpent (Tribe)

Names and epithets
Wild God, Green God, Black God, Lord of Animals, Old Horny, Horned Hunter, White Stag, Stag of the Otherworld, Father God, God of Riches, God of the Between Places, Lord of the Forest, Great Serpent, Sorcerer, Deer-King, Lord of Death, Lord of Darkness, Witchfather, He Who Calls From the Wild
Cernunnos, Herne the Hunter, Woden, Odin, Gwydion, Pan, Faunus/Inuus, Csodaszarvas, Czernobog, and the Black or Red Serpent (one of Feri’s Divine Twins) are all extant Euro-American deities that can potentially work in this slot, for those pursuing specific cultures and mythologies.
A European (Sámi) deity that fits the slot, but should not be used due to appropriation/oppression issues, is Lieaibolmmai.

Variations on this deity (aspects, regional forms, etc.)
There are three major aspects to this deity – the Lord of Animals, the Witchfather, and the Liminal God
The Lord of Animals is the horned god, who rules over the wilderness, taking the form and nature of the White Stag. This face is the power of sex, of wildness, and instinct and intuition, and is the least anthropomorphic of the three.
The Witchfather or Sorceror is the great magician who uses all the power of darkness, nature, animals, plants and stones in his magic, as well as the magic of sex, trance, and any other form of magic that requires letting go of rules, expectations, and inhibitions. This face is the most anthropomorphic of the three, however if you look closely, the eyes are slitted, the teeth a bit too long and sharp, the hands claw-like, and just a hint of hooves. He wields and is the source of “low”/folk magic and witchcraft.
The Liminal God rides between the other two, both guarding and breaking the boundaries. He is the Initiator, the original Trickster, the god of madness, fury, ferity, and everything that doesn’t fit into neat boxes. He is the Untamer, the Wild-Maker, the one who rides the whirlwind and leaves nothing but destruction and desolation behind. But this is necessary, for we cannot become who we are meant to be as long as we cling to what we were before.

Common mistakes about this deity
The Wild Father is not the same as the NeoWiccan Horned God, though they share many similarities in symbolism. He is similar enough to the traditional witchcraft Witchfather/God that they might be the same essence.

Festivals, days, and times sacred to this deity
Un-times: eclipses, intercalary days, all occasions that lie outside the progress of standard time.
Feast of the Dead
Feast of the Fathers
Feast of Transition
Dusk to dawn, particularly midnight

Any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?
Hunting
Dancing
Sex
Entheogens
Wilderness-walking
Nature immersion
Ancestry research
Soul-centered practices

How does this deity relate to other gods and other pantheons?
Father/ancestor.

How does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality?
He is the wild potency of masculinity, and the male gender descends through his union with his brother. He and his twin are multisexual, as they ritually join in union with each other, and with their Mother, as well as with other Powers. And as they represent polarity, they actually contain within themselves all genders, and can present as male/male, male/female, female/female, male/other, female/other, or other/other.

What quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?
I admire his fierce authenticity, his overwhelming call, his rootedness in Reality. But these are the very same qualities that, if not balanced by those of his brother, can lead to madness, utter dissolution, and inability to function in society.

Art that reminds you of this deity

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/31/Pintura_Trois_Freres.jpg

http://image.hotdog.hu/user/goagirl1/magazin/csodaszarvas_1.jpg

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ecQct8XzD94/TT9Kppy5K4I/AAAAAAAAADQ/3Jsh7P1LzTQ/s400/Kernunos%255B2%255D.jpg

http://pctrs.network.hu/picture/1/1/9/3/_/csodaszarvas_1193751_6840.jpg

http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2012/242/c/4/chernobog_by_soleibee-d5cz246.jpg

http://www.druides.fr/altitona/images/kernunos.jpg

http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lquql84CVJ1qap2xr.jpg

http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2011/031/6/c/zbrush_concept___cernunnos_by_orientalisdraco-d38hj7f.jpg

http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/data/media/23/CERNUNNOS-port.jpg

http://fc00.deviantart.net/fs40/i/2009/046/1/4/Cernunnos_by_axelAmnon.jpg

http://d2tq98mqfjyz2l.cloudfront.net/image_cache/1335222298819461.jpg

and pretty much everything in the “wilderness” search on Google Images

Music that makes you think of this deity
Hymn to Herne, SJ Tucker
Wild, Inkubus Sukkubus
Old Hornie, Inkubus Sukkubus
Song to Pan, Inkubus Sukkubus
Wild Hunt, Inkubus Sukkubus
Serpent Trance, Mother Destruction
Summoning Pan, Daemonia Nymphe
All ecstatic trance drumming, dance music, etc.
Indigenous music (e.g., yoik, Tuvan throat singing, Native American chant and instrumentals, etc.)

A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with
[…]Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb
tonight.

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

“Sweet Darkness” – David Whyte

You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

The weeks stood still in summer.
The trees’ blood rose. Now you feel
it wants to sink back
into the source of everything. You thought
you could trust that power
when you plucked the fruit;
now it becomes a riddle again,
and you again a stranger.

Summer was like your house: you knew
where each thing stood.
Now you must go out into your heart
as onto a vast plain. Now
the immense loneliness begins.

The days go numb, the wind
sucks the world from your senses like withered
leaves.

Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.
Be modest now, like a thing

ripened until it is real,
so that he who began it all
can feel you when he reaches for you.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

Any interesting or unusual UPG to share?
Same as Night

Any suggestions for others just starting to learn about this deity?
Adopt a wild place and take care of it, be yourself free of expectations, nurture the wildness/innocence within, hunt an animal you would use for food, perform an animal dance, learn the local ecosystem (particularly arboreal ones), explore the wilderness, learn wild-harvesting or other forms of foraging, honor your ancestors, practice traditional folk magic or witchcraft.

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8 thoughts on “Getting to Know the Powers: Wildness

  1. Hi there. We don’t know each other, but I just wanted to mention that the “White Stag”, or Csodaszarvas, is not solely male (and is more appropriately described as being Eurasian-American, not just Euro-American). In many areas, such as some contemporary Siberian, Hungarian, and historically Scythian regions/cultures, the White Stag is more often depicted as a female deity, usually with mother associations. There is also an old Hungarian Christmas ballad that describes Csodaszarvas as being the mother of the sun, carrying it in her antlers.

    If you’re interested in learning more about her I’d recommend reading “The Deer Goddess of Ancient Siberia: A Study in the Ecology of Belief” by Esther Jacobson. You can read a hefty portion of it on google books. It’s very academic, but it devotes an entire chapter to the religion/culture side of things.

    • The three Primal Gods of Waincraft are outside of gender binaries, even though many of their titles are gendered, so it doesn’t surprise me that Csodaszarvas is seen as both male and female in varying tales!

      • That’s not what I mean though. I mean that you keep using only the pronouns “he” or “it”, with no “she” whatsoever when referencing traditional/cultural manifestations. Yet tradition actually does have a prominence of “she”. Modern translations assume the Hungarian “stag” is strictly male like it is in English, but it was not the case in the past (just like how English “man” in the past was used to reference all humans, rather than strictly males). The “stag” part of Csodaszarvas is better understood as “deer”, as an ungendered part of the title.

        Now maybe I misunderstood and assumed that your use of “White Stag” is the same as Csodaszarvas, but I wanted to put the information out there just in case others were interested in that particular deity.

        • Well, the figure of a white stag is not limited to Hungarian/Magyar mythology; it is also present in several Brythonic/Arthurian stories and related medieval folklore, and in those stories the stag is always male, sometimes with an accompanying white doe, but usually alone. In those stories, he is a messenger from the Otherworld, signifying a taboo being broken or in danger of being broken, the transition between this world and the Otherworld, or the initiation of a quest with spiritual significance.

          So, my apologies for any misunderstanding. The mention of Csodaszarvas is as an example of a white deer leading people as a messenger of the gods. The power of Wildness itself is, as I said, beyond gender and encompassing all gender simultaneously. It’s just more logical to use certain gendered terms when speaking of this Power because the essence is very much what most societies have considered masculine, and the nature of the mythic relationships Wildness shares with humanity and with other Powers is also within common definitions of masculinity. This does not necessarily mean that, unlike other Powers to come further in the series, that Wildness should automatically be seen as one gender or another (in fact, that would be antithetical to the very nature of the duality Wildness represents half of (Abundance is the other half)), but if forced onto a spectrum of assigned gender behavior, most would consider Wildness more male than female.

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