Phantom Armies of the Night: The Wild Hunt and the Ghostly Processions of the Undead by Claude Lecouteux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is a phenomena in Europe called the "Wild Hunt". A group of spirits lead by a spirit, which is either male or female, tromp through the forest and woe to anyone who is caught in the forest whilst they are on the prowl. There are many different versions of this story. Mostly from oral history which transferred into Written history and sometimes went back in to oral history. There are many different versions of this hunt so it is hard to say which one is real.
Pagan legends say that a Goddess leads her train of witches to Brocksburg where thy hold their sabbat. The witches follow one of three goddesses, Diana,Habondia and Percht. Brocksberg is also called Mount Venus. This train of spirits is composed depending on the legend of either all females or a mix of male and female followers. It is believed that they meets with the Devil and the faeries and have a big feast. These spirits are the astral doubles of withes who put flying ointment all over their body that enables them to astral travel. These astral double according to some legends stop in peoples houses and eat food and drink beverages. They stop in only clean houses. If they are happy with your offering of food then they bless you with prosperity.
The legends of the wild hunt are pagan in origin but have been turned into something else by Christian propagandists. According to Christians the specters of the wild hunt are the restless dead. The restless dead cannot enter into paradise and are trapped in sort of purgatory. Some of these souls have died violent deaths, others are sinners in need of penance, some souls have died before their time and are destined to wander until their destined day of death arrives. The wild hunt at times is portrayed as an army. sometimes armies reappear at given times and reenact their fight. Sometimes they occur as part of a warning that is disaster is coming. Lots of legend is connected with Herla, who travelled with his troop to the dwarvish nether world and came back hundred of years later. If he touched the ground he would die. Fae folk were though to be dead people .
One leader of the Wild hunt is Odin. He is oft demonized yet he has also taken jobs from Thor and other gods. Odin maybe the God Odin or a powerful magician. He leads the wild hunt as he is a shamanistic god who also acts as a psychopomp or guide to the dead as they traverse to the underworld. His followers oft banded in groups and were able shape shift into different animals. Sometimes they would battle vampires and those who would steal fertile seed.
This book is an important work on the wild hunt. It uses a variety of legends to analyse this phenomena. Well documented and well researched.
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