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Ol’ Hornie & the Devil


In a Traditional Craft cuveen the Magister with his stang represents Ol’ Hornie. By this office he is also referred to as ‘the Devil’, but we cannot confuse this identification of Devil with its normative Christian content, as a force in anti cosmic opposition with the divine plan, hence the content read into the office of ‘a Satan’, or in modern vernacular, a prosecutor. We need to focus on the horns, if they were given to Moses by Michelangelo or by the Church to the uncanny spirits of the land and nocturnal manifestations of domestic beasts.

There is much to say of the stang and its importance, such as its retrieval by Cain after the sacrifice of the shepherd, Abel and how it also took shape as the crosier of the Episcopal station, also seen as an office of Shepherds.   

The stang alone represents the world tree, the axis mundi, what enables ancestors to commune with angels in the field of the living. The one who holds the axis is Ol’ Hornie, the Magister, who stands in for the horned one. If the stang he holds is of Yew , Hazel , Ash or another ancestor makes great difference in the world he secure into communion with the quick and the dead.


Ol’ Hornie is by the simplest measure the wisdom of the woods. He is the roebuck in the thicket as much as he is the horned Lord of the forest that calls upon the rain to make nature and cultivated fields fertile. Ol’Hornie is that untamed force that arrives from naturis that in the advance of civilization and in the name of progress turns gradually into a horned Satan – because indeed, his existence does challenge the modern world order.  Ol’ Hornie is a ruddy and complicated issue, because he is the testament of the ways of nature still living on.

He represents a particular wisdom, the wisdom of memory that lives on in the world, through the bones of ancestry and the golden kernels spread all over earth, which enables us to recognize the True Craft, in all its nameless artistry.  But how to recognize it?

In Craft of the Untamed I write concerning this the following:

The witch is bound to no dogma. This makes them a threat to a Christianity established on doctrine (bound to a static perception). The witch insists everything in creation has its place. The Church insisted on two contrary substances, God and the Devil. The witch strives for synthesis.  

The moral dimensions touches on piety and sexuality, seen by some as opposites. This conflict arose between naturis and civilis, in certain taxonomies the wild and unpredictable versus the cultivated and ordered. The witch sought knowledge of good and evil in order to transcend, but dogmatic Christianity upheld a profane distinction between good and evil. The witch is perceived as evil by the evil but good by the good. In the role of Fate and the Devil we may understand the diabolical accusations. As the Devil the witch presented choice – a mirror for whoever sought her out. The witch is the moon reflecting your soul. If you dislike the one you see, who is to blame?

The Greek national poet Kostes Palamas shall have the last word:

We are neither Christians nor Pagans
With Crosses and pagan symbols
We are trying to build the new life
Whose name is not yet known  

Para ler este ensaio em Português, clique aqui

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