Hermes and Cernunnos are some of the most popular Greek and Celtic deities revered in their respective religious practices. The two deities were regarded as gods and were discharged with specific duties to perform in line with their doctrinal practices. As much as they are important deities, they have a lot of differences between. This is mainly because they were worshipped in by different people who knew their essence in fulfilling their spiritual pursuits. The following are the major differences between these deities.
First, Hermes was a Greek god of commerce and market trade. This is a responsibility which was bestowed upon him by his father Zeus. Upon noticing his physical prowess, he was appointed to be the god of commerce, market trade and gymnastics (Sorita 117). According to Greek mythology, Hermes was given this role because he deserved it. Since his birth, he had established himself as a very strong person. He had demonstrated his strength in several ways. At one time, he managed to attack and slay Argus Panoptes, a 100 eyed giant who had already been turned into a heifer by Zeus himself. He was doing this because he was preventing this giant from wrecking havoc to the people especially Io whom he had already attacked. Besides, Hermes also served as a messenger of souls. Under this capacity, they would serve both in heaven, earth and the underworld. In fact, he could cover a wide area ranging from Olympia to the land of the mortals. He was made a messenger because of his excellent speed. He is reported to have the fastest speed which could not be even be compared to that of the wind. Therefore, he could best serve as a messenger of the people since he had a mysterious ability to represent them all over (Clute 36).
On the other hand, Cernunnos was a god of wild animals, fertility, underworld, abundance, wealth and regeneration of life. She is depicted to have been very active with wild animals. It is for this reason that she is often referred to as the hunter. She was a very close god to the wild animals making her be given the name lord of the wild. This implies that she could help in determining the number of wild animals and how hunting would be. At the same time, she would be in charge of fertility. Meaning, the multiplicity of the generations was in her docket. It is for this reason that Cernunnos is portrayed to be having feminine characters. The British show her to be having female body because half of her is looking like a female creature. This makes her to be closely associated with a nature goddess. These features makes Cernunnos serve a very great role in the lives of the Celtic community. Since she was in charge of wealth and abundance, she would help in promoting development and multiplicity amongst the worshipers. This explains why her popularity extended beyond Britain and Ireland. She was a deer god to these people because she was dear to them.
The other important thing about Hermes is that he had a very stable family background. He had a father, mother and siblings. His birth was a bit extra-ordinary because it was surrounded by peculiar incidences. According to Greek mythology, Hermes was born of Zeus and Maia. His conception resulted from the raping of his mother by Zeus. Therefore, on the day he was born in the cave at Mount Arcadia, he managed to climb out of the cave on his own. This was a very mysterious occurrence which could not be witnessed in other ordinary children. Being that he had biological parents meant that he had family members. One of his brothers is Apollo who was of course the god of the sun. At the same time, he had several lovers such as Aglaurus, Antianeira, Carmentus, Chione, Pandrosus, Sicilian and Dryope. Through his juxtaposition with them, he managed to bear a lot of children including Hermes, Daphnis Therses, Hermaphroditos, Angelia, Eleusis, Oreiades, Palaistra, Penelopeia, Pan, Eros and Aphrodite. This means that Hermes as given human traits which enabled him to interact with other people. For instance, at one time, he was accused of stealing a cow belonging to his brother Apollo.
On the other hand, not much is known about Cernunnos’s family. Not much is revealed about her family background. First, it is not clear if she is a real human being. She appears to be a mysterious creature whose direct interactions with human being is not clearly indicated. This is why she ‘appears in different forms’ ( Van 95). For instance, sometimes, she looks like half female human beings. At times, she appears like a horny creature, a creature which also transforms into un-horny snake. Some times, she could appear like a ram or stag. However, this did not, in any way, obstruct her from discharging her duties. Still, she could be revered as a very important goddess who had a crucial role to play in the lives of the Celtics.
Because of his human features, Hermes is depicted to be having several behaviors which resemble those of human beings. A part from having human parents and siblings, he went ahead to establish intimate relationships with those around him. This is evidenced when he acquires a lot of lovers with whom he bore numerous children. Meanwhile, he practiced activities such as theft( Davy, 212). He was a very mischievous creature who at one time decided to steal from his brother. A part from this, he also had other traits such as strength, intelligence, eloquence and beauty. His intelligence enabled him to surpass other people and went ahead to invent numbers. This was a very great achievement. Since he was close to human beings, he was depicted as a god wearing golden sandals even if he had wings. These were used to prove that he had a very high speed which could no be compared to any known thing on earth.
Unlike Hermes, Cernunnos is only portrayed to be possessed with wild animals. Throughout her life, she does not indicate a close association with other human beings. She appears like a snake or ram. However, she has a small resemblance to female human beings. She is not known to be directly involved in interactions with human beings (Farrar 44). However, this does not interfere with her role as the goddess of fertility, wealth and abundance. Unlike Hermes, she has a body which a horny head, human face and a small bag containing grains or fruits. However, this keeps changing because at times, she appears to be wearing a stag anther or holding a torque of sacred sacrament.
In conclusion, Hermes is one of the most important Greek Gods. He is known to be having the fasted speed which could not even be compared to that of the wind. It is for this reason that he was appointed by his father Zeus to be a messenger of the people. Besides, he as a physically strong creature who could do extra ordinary things. For instance, he managed to slay a giant which was a dreaded creature in the land. These enabled him to be made the god of commerce and marketing trade. As discussed, Hermes had a lot of human features which enabled him to interact with people. Through this, he managed to create romantic relationships which enabled him to bear children. However, Cernunnos was a Celtic deity who was revered as the god of wild animals, abundance, regeneration of life and wealth. However, unlike her counterpart Hermes, Cernunnos does not engage in love affairs. However, she appears as a horny or un-horny snake which keeps on changing shape. This shows that as much as these deities served important purposes for their respective religious groups, they were very much different. However, this did not bar them from satisfying the demands of their people and getting revered by them.
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Clute, John The Encyclopedia of Fantasy Clute, John; Grant, John . The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Orbit, 2008. Print.
Davy, Barbara Jane. Introduction to Pagan Studies. AltaMira Press, 2007. Print.
Sorita, d'Este. Horns of Power. London: Avalonia, 2004. Print.
Van Dyke, Annette (1992). The Search for a Woman-centered Spirituality. New York University Press.