Meditation: Visiting the Oak King Cernunnos
You awake in a forest of oak trees at midday. Red breasted robins sing from the trees, and the forest is green with the radiance of nature in summertime.
A rustling from behind you causes you to turn around quickly. Only a few yards from you is a magnificent stag. His antlers are as broad as your arms when fully outstretched. His hide is rich russet. He bears seven tines on each antler.
The stag gives you a loud snort and tosses his head. You are consumed with a desire to capture this roebuck, and as if it knew what you were thinking, the stag suddenly bolts away from you. You give chase. You run through the oak forest as quickly as any deer could, bounding over creeks and fallen trees. You can see the stag ahead of you, and you keep pace behind him. You run at full tilt past mighty oak trees that dwarf you and your quarry.
The stag clears the forest ahead of you and enters a green grass field. You follow behind him. He disappears into a huge sloping green valley, and still you rush down the slope after him. Although your focus remains on chasing the stag, you notice that the valley seems to be constructed like a massive ancient earthwork. In the center of the valley rises a high grassy hill and upon this hill appears to be a stone fort of some kind. The stag pauses briefly at the base of the great hill and then bounds up it.
You reach the base of the hill and are momentarily daunted by its steepness and height. Yet you find force of will to begin the climb upwards. Up the hill you climb, your legs scrambling. Up the hill of grass, your fingers struggling to find holds in the emerald green turf. Up to the top of the earthwork mound, your arms aching from pulling along the weight of your body.
You approach the doors and knock, but they remain closed to you. To your side you hear a snort. It is the stag. He walks up to the oak doors and touches them with his antlers. The doors open with a wooden thud.
Within the fort is a field where thousands of warriors from myth and legend are training for battle. Achilles wrestles with Lancelot as Parzival and Sigurd cross steel. Spartans train next to samurai. You watch as Scathac demonstrates for Hector how she wields a spear. A voice from behind addresses you. You turn to see it is the Arthurian knight Sir Gawain. “We've been expecting you,” he says gravely. You ask him where you are and he replies, “There are many names for this place. Some call it Troy Town. Others call it Camelot. I call it the Castle of Stone. It is the home of King Cernunnos and his stone bowl.”
Gawain points to a set of double doors across the field. The doors are of oak intricately carved with countless symbols. Among these you notice a stag and a robin. You move to touch the doors and they swing open at your gesture.
Inside the room is a tan and muscular man with thick brown hair. He wears a crown of antlers. He is seated on a throne of stone and he wears tanned leather and a green cloak. His eyes are as green as emeralds and he is smiling broadly at you. To his right is a table with a stone saucer on it. To his left is a staff of oak bearing leaves, catkins, and acorns.
“I am called Cernunnos” he says. His voice is deep and musical and reminds you of the sounds of animals. You can feel your pulse quicken as he speaks. The scent of moss and musk fills your nostrils. Your eyes widen in wonder as you realize that his antlered crown isn't really a crown at all. He has antlers as broad and majestic as the stag you chased to this place.
His eyes sparkle as he gestures to the stone saucer to his right. “This is the treasure of the Stone Castle.” You approach the bowl and peer into it. Inside of the bowl it is very black. There are three stones and a silver spiral floating in the darkness. The stones roll in circles as the spiral spins and shifts. They create patterns and symbols that you understand are related to the pattern of your life. Peering deeper into the blackness of the bowl you are filled with wisdom and peace. In the bowl you begin to perceive the purpose of your life's journey and the path you must take to accomplish your destiny.
The symbols shift further, making your head spin in wonder. Cernunnos chuckles knowingly. His laugh is deep and rolling. You can feel it envelop you like the shade of a great and ancient forest. Cernunnos set his hand on your shoulder to steady you. “I have a message for you,” he says. He leans forward and whispers his secret message in your ear. [long pause]
Cernunnos bids you farewell. He and shakes your hand and claps you to his chest. He is warm and smells of musk and loam. Around you the room seems to fill with foliage. Leave it hastily, hurrying past the field where warriors are training. Gawain salutes you as you pass. Beyond the oaken doors of the fort awaits the great stag that lead you here. He now regards you with a knowing respect. You follow him as he runs down the great hill and into the valley. He waits for you to catch up to him, glancing behind. You enter with him into the oak forest . The stag leaves you in an oak grove with the midday sun shining upon you. You settle in beneath a large oak tree and rest.