What is it?

It's a pelvis bone of a deer, about 10 inches tall. It's a mask I made. It was commissioned by my friend Jack.

It's the Horned God Herne, the leader of the Great Hunt that takes place on the longest night of the year. He rides a horse and has the antlers of a deer. He is chaotic and powerful.

Some of the following information came from http://www.angelfire.com/nc/5s/gods.html

The Horned Hunter/Provider God: Often called the Horned God. He is the God of the hunter, farmer, and worker. He is the oldest of the known Gods. You can see his picture in Neolithic cave paintings in France dating to 45,000 B.C.

He is the God of death, winter, the hunt, play, and the pleasurable gifts of life.

"There is an old tale about Herne the hunter,
Is sometime a keeper here in Windsor forest,
Doth all the wintertime, at still midnight,
Walk round bout an oak, with great ragg'd horns;
And there he blasts the tree, and takes the cattle,
And makes milch kine yield blood, and shakes a chain.
In a most hideous and dreadful manner.
You have heard of such a spirit, and well you know.
The superstitious idle-headed eld
received and did deliver to our age
this tale of Herne the hunter for a truth."

- William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

His colors are gold, green, and brown.

There is a more ancient tale of him (Herne) appearing in the Mabinogion as a black man: "You will see a black man of large stature on the top of a mound. He had only one foot and one eye in the middle of his forehead. He is the guardian of these woods. He carries an iron spear in one hand that would require several men to carry. And you will see a thousand wild animals about him. And the next day Kynon traveled to the mound and asked the giant what power he had over all the wild animals? The giant then tapped the largest stag Kynon had ever seen with the butt of his iron spear and it cried out. Then from the woods came even more beasts of every sort. The black giant said, "eat," and all the animals lowed their heads respectfully and began to graze."

The runic writing says: "On the longest night of the year, the great hunt rides through the darkness."

(the alphabet)

The mistletoe has special significance as well. Norse beliefs of Mistletoe's powers were rooted in the myth of the resurrection of Balder, the god of the summer sun. As the story goes, Balder had a dream in which he dies. The dream alarmed his mother, Frigga, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, for if Balder died, so too would all life on earth. Frigga went to all the elements, air, fire, water and earth as well as all the animals and plants on earth and asked them to spare her son. Satisfied that she had secured the cooperation of all, Frigga assured Balder that he would live forever. But Balder had one enemy, Loki. Loki found one plant that Frigga had overlooked - Mistletoe. Mistletoe grows neither on the ground or under the ground - rather, it is an aerial parasite that has no roots of its own and attaches itself to the tree it grows on.

After all the promises were made, the gods amused themselves by throwing rocks, shooting arrows, at Balder. He was impervious to everything and it was big fun for everyone, until Loki made an arrow with the Mistletoe and tricked Balder's blind brother, Hoder, into shooting the arrow and killing Balder. For three days, the earth grew dark and the skies poured rain. Each of the elements in turn, tried to bring Balder back to life, but none were successful save for Frigga, his loving mother. Legend says that the tears she shed during those terrible three days turned into the white berries on the Mistletoe plant. In her joy at Balder's resurrection, she reversed Mistletoe's poisonous reputation, kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew and issued a decree that should one ever pass beneath the Mistletoe, they should have a token kiss and no harm would befall them.