Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Enthralled to the Wild Hunt: The Search for Our Truth

It is part of the religious education of any adherent to learn about their path’s Holy Days, the same is true of the Craft. In most currents of the Craft, the holidays are tied intimately to the cycles of the year and have a multitude of lore associated with agriculture, hunting, astrology, and much more. This approach has manifested itself into the modern Contemporary Pagan mind as an eight-spoke wheel commonly referred to as the Wheel of the Year.

Please understand that although almost all of the holidays, traditions, and customs associated with the Wheel of the Year are ancient, the formation of the conglomerate expression of the holy and the mysteries of our Lady and our Lord in this manner are a modern conception. This, of course, does not make its use less of a valid form of divine manifestation. The most important part of understanding the Wheel is that it needs to be viewed in the context in which it was designed and that it is supposed to be in regards to very specific mysteries integral to a Priesthood within Traditional Craft or as used by a specific Order within British Druidry*.

The proverbial cat has, however, been let out of the box and the basic form of the Wheel of the Year has been taken up as the basic model for most, but not all, of Contemporary Paganism. As a result, there are many different variants of the Wheel within the vastness that is modern Pagandom. On one hand, this is awesome, and on the other hand it often causes those within our community whom express their holy days differently to be marginalized by the majority whom do.

What amazes me with all of this is that although the Sabbats and the Wheel of the Year were adopted by some many in the great Contemporary Pagan community and in various forms of the Craft, much of the other lore associated with cycles of time were left to the side. There is more to the cycles and mysteries of life than just eight points around the circle. Please understand, I am not knocking the Wheel or those that follow it; I uphold the Wheel in my own approach to Natural Theology and the cycles of the year in conjunction with my Craft. I am just saying that there is more to the story and much of it has not made its way into the mainstream, for better or worse.

There is lore tied to the time periods between the marked holidays. Time is not static and although the Sabbats mark specific moments in time as they relate to our Craft, The Story, our story, the path, the mysteries, go on and continue to move and transform from one point to the next. We are the circle.


Right now, as I type this, the local cycle is in the time between Samhain and Yule. It is important to note this, since our Witch kin in the southern hemisphere are in the period between Beltane and Litha. To be able to get all on the same page in regards to this period I must look back a bit and then forward, all before talking about the here. It is much like identifying the local landmarks before consulting the map to see where one is at on it.

Autumn Equinox

Back at the Autumn Equinox several important things were observed at that point in the Wheel expressed in our celebration and rites. Our Lord entered the Underworld to take up the great hunt for Her, and he did so as a sacrifice to the spiritual kingdom. Wanna read more? Go here.


Samhain is commonly a time when Contemporary Pagans think about our dearly departed and the thinning of the Veil—rightfully so. There is other lore and events that transpire that give this period more relevance as the mysteries manifest as life.

At Samhain, our Lord is joined by our Lady whom descends into the Underworld to crown Him as the Lord of the Mound. The dead rise from the grave as the boundary between the worlds becomes less distinct, and the Wild Hunt begins.

There is so much going on here that is about us and our own spiritual path. When someone has cast off all that they have invested into their ego then they at that moment do not fight the ego but pick it up as an ally. This makes them the rightful and sovereign ruler over their own inner spiritual landscape and not just the outward form. At that moment, the throne is empowered by the joining of truth with Her. The touch of Her as within us is felt and known.

While this is happening, all of our own past, good and bad, return to us to learn to dance with and become the sovereign over. Each of these ancestors of the now must be honored, treated, and laid to rest. Additionally, every custom, tradition, and nuance of behavior for which we have subscribed comes to our inner table to dine as well. This is Third Harvest, when our herd must be culled. The boundary between what we have known, the unknown, the fallen, the hidden, the ego, and the heart melts away so that there is only an empty vessel.  This is the catalyst for the Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt is the means by which the vessel will be filled.

We as First Ancestor are born, and the Sun fills the heart with it brilliance.

Harvest Past

Three Harvests**? My we have busy Witches. Contrary to popular belief, the work is not over. Sure the harvest has been reaped but there is other work remaining if the inner fields are to be prepared for future planting. You see both spiritual work and agriculture work leave waste behind. There are tools that need to put away and dead or dying plants that need to be removed from the landscape. The meat from the herd culling needs to be treated and cured by salt and smoke or it will rot and sustain no one through the Winter.

Spiritual work involves a lot of purification. Some things once useful need to be stowed, others removed, and we must be given time to transform. This is what this time of year teaches.  Additionally, the Witch that ignores this vital aspect of their Craft is asking for future problems in regards to their work. It is hard to plow a field littered with debris.

The Wild Hunt

In Christianity, there is a term used to explain part of the human condition in regards to spirituality. I have absolutely no qualms borrowing it either. It is called, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” In essence it is the spiritual crisis in which all practitioners will find themselves at some point along their path. It is when everything they have ever known is called into question and disillusion rules separating one’s connection with the holy. This phenomenon is not unique to any particular religion. In fact, the Wild Hunt is about this.

Casting off everything one has come to know and trust all wrapped up in a nice ego shaped bundle is the perfect catalyst for such a crisis. The Wild Hunt is our desperate inner search for the Truth of not only who we are but about everything. This is what causes the past to rise again, and why the boundary between our own worlds thins.

The Silence and the Sun

The Christian offered solution to the Dark Night of the Soul is different than the Witch’s answer to the Wild Hunt. In most, but not all, forms of Christianity the answer is about faith. Which intellectually makes sense since their religious focus is orthodox. Witches, however, are othroprax. Our answer then lay in the practice of or the doing.

The specific doing in this regards may confuse some though. You see, in order, for the fields to be cleared and the ghosts past gathered and returned home, the Witch must purposely engage that space in their center that is active silence. It is the place where our union with divine exists. It is the place that initiates. This place needs to be picked up as a cloak and worn so that it may transform and fill the empty vessel with its essence, by smoke and salt is the harvest cured. At this moment, the Sun is born… and the Wheel turns.

The Craft is the means by which this is done. This is what it means to practice Witchcraft.


Boidh Se!


“Lost in a thicket bare-foot upon a thorned path.”

*The Wheel of the Year first made its way into Contemporary Paganism via BTW and the OBOD. Interestingly you will note that the Grand Ole Man and the late first Chosen Chief of the Obodies were associates together in the ADO.

**Lughnasadh, Mabon, and Samhain respectively.


Anna Munda at Enchanted Body said...

"much of the other lore associated with cycles of time were left to the side"

Well, no, I am not sure if it was left to the other side. May I suggest that it was never known by the bulk of American Pagandom because it it belonged to British Tradition Wicca, and therefore, of course, was privileged information for those groups only? I.e., not shared?

Spanish Moss said...

I think perhaps we may be having a linguistic misundersatanding. Or I wasn't overly clear. All I was trying to get at was that the information did not become a part of the mainstream. As you point out, part of reason is because of direct silence on the part of those with the knowledge. Oaths and all that. Also, in retrospect, I think that part of it also has to do with the format of teaching early on in regards to Craft in the States. This is of course speculation. The truth of the matter is probably much more complicted anyway.

Thank you for the comment and valid point.