It’s a dank day here in Lincolnshire; persistent drizzling rain and grey skies that touch the ground in early morning mist. And I am on my way to the cinema to watch The Martian, the book of which I reviewed several months ago; I just hope Matt Damon hasn’t ruined it.
Today, I want to write about the Wild Hunt. It’s an evocative name and the Hunt is known all over Europe by various names. Unusually, Wikipedia has a decent article about it, with plenty of citations, I recommend a quick perusal if you want more information.
I have noticed a common theme in the last month among the polytheist and pagan blogs I read; the conviction that The Wild Hunt is riding earlier than usual this year. I am not doubting anyone’s word or experiences, I’m happy for those who have greater insight than I am capable of and are able to interact directly with Spirits and the Gods. Given that at Many Gods West the Matronae announced that ‘the storm is coming’ and even I could tell when then weather changed earlier than it usually does, one as ‘head-blind’ as I can probably be fairly certain that The Hunt is riding
In 1126 a particularly unpleasant Norman, Henry D’Angely was put in charge of Peterborough Abbey. Not long after, a great host was seen baying across the skies over the fenland around Peterborough accompanied by black dogs and the sound of hunting horns. The natural conclusion of the monks who wrote the Peterborough Chronicle is that the devil had sent his minions to collect one of their own. The Hunt lasted for nine weeks, ending at Easter.
I’ve seen at least two writers suggesting we should try to influence the Hunt, invoking Them to attack certain people and organisations. If you think that’s possible you’re ignoring the folklore regarding the Hunt. The Wild Hunt is not nice, They do not do what humans want; They have Their own agenda. The best a human can do, if they aren’t part of the Hunt in an astral aspect, is to keep their head down and wait for Them to pass by on Their business. Traditionally, the Hunt, if seen, presaged war, disaster, or at least death for the one who saw it.
That’s what I’ve picked up from my culture, a memory of past fear; the phenomena that people named the Wild Hunt, and led by a variety of figures from Woden, to Edric the Wild and Harewood the Wake, from Brechta, Holda or Herodias to the devil, is explained as winter storms and storytelling.
Nobody believes in the Wild Hunt anymore.
Except, they do.
I’m glad the beliefs are alive and well. Until this year I’d thought them Hunt forgotten by most polytheists and pagans. Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to romanticism with regards the Hunt. It’s irritating, especially since most of those romantics are intelligent, educated polytheists with influence. They’re mostly in the US, which has its own version of the Hunt brought with European settlers presumably. I don’t know whether it’s distance or time that has caused the romantic notions or something else, but it seems to definitely be a cultural difference.
What I see as romanticism others might see as updating the information available.
Best be going, I need to get the rest of the way to the cinema and the cafe I’m hiding closes in a bit.
I had to sort out some grammar and spelling errors. I also wanted to clarify my comments.about romanticism. I’m not sure I was clear about believing it to be due to cultural differences when I originally wrote about time and place.
Also, The Martian.was a very entertaining film, and Matt Damon didn’t suck at all as Mark Watney, the astronaut accidentally left on Mars. And Sean Bean’s.character didn’t die!