My online kindred has long had an affection for the Hunt. I had always admired it from afar. For a year or two, I managed to make offerings at what I perceived was the beginning of the Hunt (Nov 1st) and the end of the Hunt (April 30th). I understood the Hunt as riding all winter long. But it wasn’t until I saw fellow heathens on a heathen Discord server make active and ongoing cultus to the Hunt that I started to really understand what it was about. (They also directed me towards Claude Lecouteux’s Phantom Armies of the Night which helped a lot too!)
To me, the Hunt is a chance for restless dead folk to ride the skies and burn off their burdens, rid themselves of guilt, take penance, or perform vengeance. Odin, or Woden, leads the Hunt in a furious charge, giving himself over to windy rage. King Arthur, leader of the Fantastic Hunt, is cursed to ride the skies either as penance for committing adultery (Lecouteux, 2011, p.80) or as penance for preferring the hunt over listening to Sunday mass (Bonjour from Brittany, 2021). (Tangential thought: King Arthur’s punishment centers around religious sacrilege. Perhaps I could make an offering to his Hunt around Easter? Hmmm.)
This year is the first year I am managing to celebrate Sunwait. I am on medical leave from my studies right now, so I have the time to develop cultus through poetry.
Inspired by one particular user, I am honouring the Wild Hunt at Sunwait, instead of using the usual FUTHARK structure that other practitioners are following.
In the first week, I honoured the restless dead. I used poems from A Litany For the Many Dead by Rebecca Lynn Scott.
We pray to the Restless Dead
You whose names go unspoken
You who died with things undone
May you find release at last
We pray to the Restless Dead
(Scott’s book has many excellent short poems that I have been using for recent ancestor veneration purposes for Winter Nights and Remembrance Day. I recommend it for anyone who needs a plethora of poems for honouring the dead.)
In the second week, I honoured Frigg, as a goddess who sends out the Hunt and awaits their return.
This week, I will honour any unhappy Alfar. I wrote an alliterative poem for them. I am still learning to do this and it’s a lot of fun!
The wind whirls | Woden leads the hurrying
Unrested and unhappy | the undead ride
Sate your internal storm | proceed with penance
Then return to your resting place | the ringing mound.
(You may use this poem in your own worship, if you like, as long as you give a source back to my blog.)
Next week will be Angrboda and her wolves. I will post a poem then too. The fifth week will be Odin. I have enough accumulated prayers for him that I am unsure if I will write him a new one. The last week will focus on the Disir. Then, of course, Yule will arrive!
Claude Lecouteux’s Phantom Armies of the Night
King Arthur’s Fantastic Hunt from Bonjour from Brittany
Rebecca Lynn Scott’s A Litany for the Many Dead