Devotional Ritual to Carnonos (Cernunnos)

This last year, I was part of a project to develop rituals and practices dedicated to Carnonos (Cernunnos) from a Gaulish perspective.  The following is the solitary ritual that I developed for that project.

Note: This ritual goes under the assumption that you have an established sacred space already up and ready to go.  If you do not, feel free to use whatever your preferred method of establishing sacred space is at the beginning of Opening of the Sanctuary section.

Items needed:

  • Image/symbol of Carnonos
  • Candle
  • Two Incense holders
  • Two types of incense (Ideally a stick of Sandalwood and a small bundle of Juniper or herbs that will quickly go out)
  • Offering bowl
  • Whiskey (or alcohol/drink of your choice)
  • Silver coins
  • Sweetbread
  • Rattle (one may clap hands or use a drum instead)
  • Matches

Ritual

Purification:

Before starting the ritual, make sure to properly wash and clean yourself.  Wear comfortable clothing, preferably with deep earthy tones. When you come to the altar, light up the Juniper bundle and in a counter-clockwise motion, circle it in front of you saying:

May all that holds me be released,
May all the binds me be released,
May all that enslaves me be released.
So that I may be pure and true.

Repeat two more times (total of three)

Opening to the Sacred:

As you approach the altar, sit before it and breathe.  Connect with the earth below and the heavens above. As you connect, listen to the sound of your heartbeat.  Once you feel centered and grounded, bow to the altar (or some other form of gesture adoration).  You may say a charm of connection if you so choose.

Opening of the Sanctuary:

Pick up the rattle and shake it three times.  Then light the candle at the altar, saying:

As I light this light in this sacred place,
I call on you Mighty Carnonos,
Lord of the Deep Wood, Keeper of Ways
I have come here tonight to give offerings and celebrations.
May my words rise on the winds and may they sound deep in the wells.

Pick up the rattle and shake it three times.

Devotion and Adoration:

Light the stick of sandalwood incense:

Carnonos, I call to you.
You who keeps the Sacred Mysteries
You who knows the Ancestral Wisdom
You who are honored by many

Carnonos, I call to you
Lord of Abundance
Mighty Stag
Gatekeeper to the Inner Treasure

Carnonos, I call to you
Lord of the Crossroads
Guide in the darkness
Traveler and Protector

Carnonos, I call to you
Nourisher of the soul
Sage of the Healing Hands
You who remind us that we are both tame and wild

These gifts we give oh Antlered One:

May this whisky be a delight to you as it warms the belly (give an offering of whisky)
May these coins be a delight to you in gratitude for your gifts from the Earth (give an offering of coins)
May this sweet bread be a delight to you, as it brings people together (give an offering of sweet bread)

Ancient One, you who holds the serpent of chaos, you who holds the torc of prosperity
May your presence bring wisdom, abundance, protection, and healing.

At this point, any additional offerings (drumming, dancing, singing, etc.) are performed or presented.

Reaffirmation of Devotional Pledge:

Once adorations are given, stand up (if seated) and take one step away from the altar and hold your hands up:

Carnonos, Keeper of the Old Ways,
With this vow, I give my work to you
Keeper of the gates above and below, I give my work to you
Keeper of the Ancestral Wisdom, I give my work to you
You who heals the land and the people, I give my work to you

And to you I reaffirm:

I will walk in the wisdom of the ancestors,
I will be true to the truth in my heart,
I will be an agent of truth in the lives of others
And I will be a vessel to bring your will into the world
As long as the needs are met to continue the work.
My work and myself, I give to you, Mighty Lord.

Openness to Receiving of Blessings:

This part is just seeing if there is an indication that your devotional has been well received.  Take a moment, close your eyes, and breathe. Let the incense continue to burn and sit in meditation.  Be open to his presence and gifts that might come from that interaction. You might not see anything during the ritual, and that is fine.  Sometimes the omen happens when the needs of the work arise.

However, requesting insight to better serve Him is never a bad thing or if you feel that there is a specific message he wishes to give you as you move forward.

Closing the Sanctuary:

Lord Carnonos, as we end tonight
May your light continue to be a light to the people
May your wisdom continue to be a guide to the people
May your protection continue to be a support to the people
May your generosity continue to be a blessing to the people.

Ending the ritual:

As you stand at the altar, close your eyes and breathe.  Connect with the earth below and the heavens above. As you connect, listen to the sound of your heartbeat.  Once you feel your connection to the cosmos, take three deep breaths while you shake the rattle (one breath for three rattle shake).  Set the rattle down and walk backward from the altar to where you performed the purification. Bow to the altar (or some other form of gesture adoration).

-End of Rite- 

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