Tracking the Horned One

Years ago when I was first toeing the waters of Paganism, I thought I might become a devotee of Artemis. From what I’ve seen over the years, this isn’t entirely uncommon for new Pagans, especially ones of the neoWiccan variety. Though, this is just what I’ve seen and should not be considered as universally true of either Pagans or neoWiccans.

The lunar pendant I mentioned a few posts past was, originally, intended for Artemis. Up until a few years ago, that was always what was in the back of my mind. I’d admired Artemis from afar since early high school but I had never really taken the step to adding her to my personal pantheon of deities. Eventually, I placed those desires and admirations aside and went on to pursue my relationships with others, most notably Anubis.

About two years ago, I started seeing deer imagery everywhere. I was getting signs of deer, stories of deer, and deer kept appearing in my path. One day I got a call from my grandmother asking me if I wanted a deer antler. She knows I am Pagan and I’m lucky in that she’s always willing to do crafts of some kind for me and my practice, like embroider an evil eye symbol on the bag I use for my portable altar and randomly ask if I want a hunk of deer antler one afternoon. My grandfather had found it in the woodland that surrounds their property along with a couple of skulls, one coyote and one fox I think, which they gave to my brothers. This upset me greatly because as grateful as I was for the antler, I know my brothers and I knew they would neither care for them nor honor them properly.

Last summer, when The Boyfriend and I were on one of our many drives to Virginia, a stag and a doe jumped out of nowhere a few yards in front of our car. We slowed and the deer scampered on, but I took the hint: Someone had been trying to get my attention.

On my old blog, I wrote about my cryptomancy practice. For those who don’t know or didn’t read my old blog, cryptomancy is the technique of divination via the reading of omens. I will be reposting my thoughts on cryptomancy in a few weeks, as a part of the Pagan Blog Project, but for now this is enough for our purposes.

Regardless, all of these signs were starting to collect and I was starting to wonder Who was trying to get my attention. I had gotten the antler from my grandmother and placed it on my altar in honor of whomever was trying to get my attention. I had no idea who it was, but I thought perhaps it was a horned deity of some kind, someone I referred to as the Horned One as I never really knew who it was. I never really thought that it might simply be a deity associated with stags.

Cut to today. As I showered after dinner, I got to thinking about my deities and wondering again who the Horned One might be. Standing under the water, I felt a familiar clicking sensation in the back of my mind, the sense of finality of a lock clicking into place or a piece of a new puzzle as you snap it into the center of a larger area. I remembered the story of Actaeon, fitting for my location in the bath, and Artemis as the goddess of the hunt. As I stood there, I shook my head and muttered to myself.

How had I not seen this coming?

Well, to be frank, a hunter knows ways to avoid being seen. Artemis, I imagine, is no different.

Is the Horned One Artemis? I don’t know for certain. It seems to fit, but only time will tell.

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