H is for the Horned Goddess

I know I talked about the Horned Goddess a little in my post on Gender, Queerness, and the Gods a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to expand on this some more and perhaps delve a little deeper into who She is and why She might be here now. I originally posted some of these things to my Dreamwidth journal a week or so ago, but I wanted to post them here too and expand on them, so that more people can read about Her. She wants me to talk about Her, to make sure other queer and trans* pagans know about Her. I can’t keep this to myself anymore. So you’re getting a post about Her instead of a post about Hekate like I had originally planned.

The sketch I linked to in that previous entry (NSFW) is probably going to get coloured today or over the weekend at any rate. I feel like it’s time, and that doing so on paper will help me connect with Her and do that sketch justice. Water colour pencils are the preferred medium at the moment. I’ll make a new post when She’s done to show Her off for you. Then She’s going on the wall somewhere. She wants a shrine, though where that’s going to go I have no idea. o.O /has no room for any more shrines.

She first came to me in the midst of a Beltaine fire, and I think that will always resonate with me, that I am to honour Her during that Sabbat as a celebration of all genders, not just the binary. Beltaine is a Sabbat I’ve struggled with for years as a genderqueer pagan, never quite knowing how to relate to it. But I think She’s the answer. To call upon Her to celebrate the complexity and diversity of gender within us all. I think, perhaps, She’s the sort of “love goddess” (this is such a paltry description, but it’s the only way I can phrase it properly) I can relate to, because She is a transgendered Goddess, and She understands the sort of body issues nonbinary and trans* people go through.

I’m pretty sure She’s a new deity, too. That She does not come from an ancient Source, but born new into this world. When? I don’t know. May never know. But new, definitely. Who birthed Her? I have no idea. Katie (kittyburger) has offered this insight into Her origins, which reminds me of the Tetrad discussed here. I have no idea if my Horned Goddess is in any way related to these four. It hasn’t been made clear to me either way.

Though it occurs to me now that perhaps my Horned Goddess is another manifestation of the same sort of need for queer Gods with transgendered bodies, but with another appearance for those who don’t ‘click’ with that Tetrad. Because I don’t click with that Tetrad. But I do click with the Horned Goddess. So perhaps They complement each other that way, as another way of approaching/seeing queer Gods with transgendered bodies. “A different face for a different people”, to quote Aset on Isis; perhaps the Horned Goddess is another face of the same sort of energy that Tetrad has, just with a different face. Another way to relate to that energy/Deity. Perhaps there will be other manifestations too, as these Deities spread and appear to more people, perhaps with more forms that are more familiar to those people.

It was that article about that Tetrad that made me assume that She was a goddess for transwomen, because She seems to have a transwoman’s body. But I’m not sure that’s right anymore, and this makes me more inclined to think She may be another manifestation of the same energy that birthed that Tetrad. Because I kept thinking about a transman consort for Her, that if She was for transwomen, then there should be a consort for transmen, but I got the impression from Her that wasn’t needed. She ‘said’ that She encompassed that too, which is why She feels so ambiguous. I kept looking at the sketch I’d done for Her and just could not figure out if She was meant to be FtM or MtF (which, to be honest, was half the point of Her appearing to me that way, I think).

To that end, She is more a Goddess for transgendered people of any sort, even the nobinary and genderqueer people. Because the scarred/marked breast She has is not just for transwomen, but also for transmen, and anyone else who has breasts either made or removed. (That was the impression I got, at any rate, from what She ‘said’; She doesn’t speak so much as give impressions/feeling for me to interpret). The genitalia are even more ambiguous than I had imagined, and She’s more like a hermaphrodite than anything else, but more in the sense that they are ambiguously both and neither, more so than having two clear complete sets of genitals. She doesn’t seem to mind me using female pronouns for Her though, even though I did ask. Because I think it’s polite to ask queer deities how to refer to Them, just like you would for any other trans*/genderqueer person.

She comes to me as a forest Deity, and She has great big stag antlers on Her head. I have a feeling She was always meant to be some sort of … She’s like the Horned God and the Triple Goddess merged into one body, insomuch as that is an adequate description (which I don’t think it is, but there you go). So She’s got those attributes of wildness and something of a feral nature. She’s also a survivor. That’s the word She’s just given me. She’s a survivor. She’s strong and resourceful, She knows how to hunt, and She knows how to fight and survive. I think they’re pretty good attributes for a trans* Goddess to have.

I think the forest comes into play too, though, in that it is a wild and dangerous place, but also a magical one. It’s outside the village, where the monsters live. Where the freaks and the wild ones and the rejected live. Those who don’t care for society’s norms and are proud of their difference. Those sort of people. Because I keep thinking about the role of forests in fairy tales, and how it’s a place that ‘normal’ people find threatening. Unless you know the forest, and know how to live there, it’s going to be threatening to you. People who don’t belong get lost and confused, and perhaps a bit scared. All sorts of strange things happen in forests. Not just dangerous, but also wonderful and magical things too. It’s a place outside of civilisation where anyone can be themselves.

So that’s sort of how I’m beginning to understand the Horned Goddess as a forest Deity. They’re only initial thoughts, and there’s probably a lot more depth to come from any work I do with Her, but it’s a beginning. It’s making the current obsession I have with forests make a bit more sense. Hekate dragged forests into my life, my current ‘craft name’ (for lack of a better description) references a forest, and I’m slowly beginning to understand why. That it is about this sort of wildness and difference and magic.

I’ve felt Her presence once, while I was writing about Her for my Dreamwidth entry. She had Her arms around me and kissed my cheek. I still feel echoes of Her, of that sensation, now. She holds me close, and I feel like I’m finally getting it. She has a great love for me, and I find that rather astounding, and humbling. I barely know this Goddess, and She accepts me and loves me. Whoever She is, She’s pretty damn special and amazing, and I want more people to get to know Her too.

0 thoughts on “H is for the Horned Goddess

  1. That’s amazing. I saw the tag for “the horned Goddess” and was curious so I went to read the posts you had. She sounds fascinating! That drawing you did is very good, too, I can feel the magic coming from it. I can’t believe there aren’t any comments on this post!

    1. Oh, man, I had almost forgotten about this entry. This was four years ago, wow. I never did get much further with this concept/deity, except for Artemis saying to me once, when we were first getting acquainted, ‘Well, you were looking for a horned goddess, weren’t you?’ I … guess so? o.O?

      I haven’t looked at that image for a long time, either. I did love how She came out. I don’t know who She was/is, if She’s a queer form of Artemis, one of the Tetrad++, or some other unknown deity. Perhaps I’ll never really know. But I’m glad you found it fascinating anyway. I guess this is what you get for tag-trawling through my archives. :D?

      1. I can see Her being an aspect of Artemis. I’ve even seen modern depictions of Artemis with little antlers added, but I can’t remember where. Artemis has always struck me as a little bit queer anyway and I don’t think She’d have any problem appearing like this (whereas I tend to think of Athena as completely asexual and almost genderless). I’ve found your entries on gender and the Gods fascinating. I love to read about about and see how the Gods are appearing to other people. I know, I’ve been spending far too much time reading old blog posts, lol.

        1. This is the statue I have of Artemis. I don’t know if it’s the only one with antlers, though. NGL, I got it more because of the bow than the antlers, though the antlers are nice, too. Artemis is usually pretty queer with me, too, so it’s not a bad association, at any rate. It’s the closest energy that feels similar enough. I don’t have much experience with Athena, though. Now Thoth/Djehuty, He’s usually come across as possibly asexual, but definitely androgynously male, to me, so.

          Well, there are worse things you could be doing with your time, so. 😀 I should probably write about gods and gender a bit more, I don’t know if I’ve covered it much lately. But there hasn’t really been much more to tell. But it is interesting to me, and I do feel like a lot of my gods are queer in some way. I can’t explain it except that perhaps it’s just a way to connect with me, to use the same sort of energy to build those connections. But I don’t really know one way or another.

        2. I’ve seen that statue, and I’ve seen one other with antlers. I don’t think it’s super common. I like that one because of the wolf next to Her. I’ve always felt spiritually connected to wolves, I have a strong attraction to their symbolism of independence and interdependence at the same time, wild and free, plus I’m a dog person and I just love all canines.
          I’ve never had any experiences with Thoth. But I can say that Anubis was the most MALE God I’ve ever encountered. Like, feraly so. Most of the Gods it feels like, They are this or that gender, but They don’t necessarily have to be, you know? They’re Gods, They can appear however They want. Something about Anubis, though, just SCREAMS masculine. It was very strange, I don’t think I’m explaining it very well, sorry.

        3. Yeah, I had half a memory of another antlered Artemis statue, but I can’t remember where I saw it. But it is pretty uncommon, I think it might just be two versions, but that’s okay. This one I like very much. This statue is really lovely, though. Less maiden huntress, more Xena: Warrior Princess. It’s great. She’s also standing on a lunar surface, which I think is neat. The wolf is nice, too, though I would’ve preferred another type of canid, since I don’t really associate Her with wolves. I’d have preferred hunting dogs or greyhounds, those would fit Her much better than a wolf. But I’m not a dog person, so, ehh. But other than that, it’s a nice statue.

          No, I know what you mean. I can’t say I have had that sort of energy from Anubis, but then I’m not particularly close with the jackals. I don’t think I’ve had any gods give off that sort of energy in my experience, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Not even Sobek, and He has a mythological reputation for it. I think the water softens Him. But I don’t know. Gods are gods, and we all experience them differently anyway, so.

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