481984 Cernunnos

This minor planet is named after a god from Celtic myth… sort of. In fact, it is a name that appears on one particular carving of a god with antler horns, and depictions of a horned deity are pervasive throughout the footprint of Celtic polytheistic beliefs, so the name is extended to represent all depictions of this figure. It is usually projected that this deity was a god of nature, life or fertility, but no one is really sure.

The Minor Planet Catalog has an interesting description of this referent from a Christian perspective: "A major icon of Celtic polytheism, Cernunnos was the incarnation of fertility, life and the underworld. Druids widely encouraged the adoration of this "horned god", which became a severe obstacle to the spread of Christianity." Apparently this god resisted both the influence of Christianity (in fact morphing into a Satanic symbol), and also the hegemonic influence of Roman state mythology, as Cernunnos was never given a reinterpretation as a Roman god, as seen with so many other Celtic/Gaulish deities.

The modern pagan practice of Wicca considers, among other things, the existence of a female Triple Goddess and a male Horned God, the latter of which is often associated specifically with Cernunnos. Normally I try to separate out contemporaneous beliefs from neo-pagan beliefs when I discuss items from mythology, but in the case of this god they seem intriguingly linked. The ancient Cernunnos as we know him today has little more depth than "dude with horns," and the Wiccan belief system certainly does not contradict this.

Given all of this, I am inclined to choose the symbol for this minor planet to be the Wiccan symbol of the Horned God: a small circle, with a small crescent moon atop it oriented to resemble a pair of horns. This symbol represents both ancient and modern depictions of this horny god. You may find some similarities with the symbols of Taurus and 85 Io.

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