The Wild Hunt

Åsgårdsreien

When I was a child, of 7 or 8, I forget since it was a lifetime ago. I felt a calling, a craving, for a land of snow and storms. This land was beautiful, bold and filled with all the magic one could ever dream of. So….when I was a child, of 7 or 8, I went there. I went to this land of souls and snow with my Mother….a world unknown and yet so familiar. I was reborn in this place, I felt the earth course through my veins….my blood was made white and grey. This place….it was, and could only be….Norway. I had found a home, another home, and a place where I could hide myself from the irritations I had felt. It was a sanctuary for me, a shield for all the nothingness I saw in everyone and everything, all that was normal, everything that was common to me. No, I lived here, for a time, in my mind….i found my power there.

I had laid my eyes upon a love I would never be free of….though….”He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” I knew not of the eyes that stared deep into my mind, my heart and soul. The many eyes that would haunt me eternally….The Wild Hunt had found me, interesting, adventurous and unafraid. I was destined to either ride with them, or die fighting their ever watchful gaze. Now, across the lands and oceans of the world I feel their arrows, their swords, the axe, the Hunt. Their eyes would pierce my flesh as if to undo my very being. Why was I called there, to that sacred and silvery land all those years ago….why could I not see. What powers were granted to me during that time….when I was a child, of 7….or 8….

Years have passed, time has grown….and my mind no longer wanders on its own. There are flashes of green, of grey and blue that streak across the night sky, and across my mind. The green is the earth and the trees that I know, yet coupled with the blue it is also the maelstrom upon which the Hunters travel. Aurora Borealis is beauty incarnate, though its shades of blue and green are not only our scared earth interacting with the stars and the rest of the heavens, no; these different hues also bear omens of old. A mere mention of these ancient myths and legends true would bring disfavour from the cosmos….according to those that know the old ways. I respect these old ways, the ways of the earth, the moon and stars. I cannot however wander this world aimlessly, searching for The Hunt….wondering what it is they want from me. No….i call to them daily, across the earth and across the realm of dreams….

To dream….to dream is to live, in another world for a time. This world is real, though intangible, to some. They would say that your dreams are just that….dreams. They would say that the worlds within a dream do not exist, except within the unconscious mind, the sleeping mind. I would strongly disagree….for I have dreamt of The Hunt. Not even a year has passed since that night. Not a moment is drained from the hourglass when I do not think of The Wild Hunt….my mind finds no rest in this world, nor in that one.

 

I am a fisherman. It is a common trade in the lands to the North. My village is small, but self-sufficient. We live, we die, we perpetuate the cycle of this world. It is evening and I linger near the fishing boats, looking up at the stars….and the greenish tides that flow within the night sky….they are calm this night, a good omen to some. Flashes of blue, red streaks cut the darkness and the heavens begin to bleed with colours never seen before. The Wild Hunt….Åsgårdsreien, has come….and I am without breath. The village bursts into an uproar, the women scream and the men cry to the old gods….swords and spear are no use anymore.

The Hunt searches for something unknown, I wondered to myself if they would ever find it. I run blindly through the village as flames and smoke burn my eyes and flesh, flames and smoke that are unnatural at heart and which spring from the air unexpectedly. The men who dare look up at their attackers are swiftly cut down or set ablaze by the spectral fires. Hope has died along with this village. All that remains now are questions. What brings this indescribable horror to this world, and from where….but why run, why cry out in fear for death when it is inevitable. As I look up at the spectral army above, with no fear in my heart or in my eyes, i see the Hunter leading the charge lay his eyes upon me. His helm glistens with blood and energy….his armour drenched in light; his unliving steed charges furiously upon a cosmic force and leaves a fiery trail in its wake. The Hunt rides lower to the ground now, and faster….he reaches out to me and as soon as my arm is wrenched up by his deathly grip….my eyes erupt into flames of blue….and I am swept away into a world unknown, a world I wished for unknowingly all throughout my life.

I see my village fall to ashes, the people wailing in tongues now unknown to me. There are few who know the legends, few who understand the true power and mystery of the ancient world. Those few kneel down with what is left of their families, not praying to the ancients, not cowering in fear….no; they kneel down in respect; for the power of The Hunt. These star-touched few are thus spared a cataclysmic death, or perhaps an eternity of undeath. I have feared neither of these things….i lived for life and life itself. And yet, now, soaring up high into the painted night, I find myself with a purpose, to find a purpose….an Eternal Hunt….for reason and wonder. Now, I find myself to be free….

 

So ends my dream….though many would call it a nightmare. Not two months after this vision, I found myself right where it all began. I was in the mystical plains and portals of the North. Norway….my home away from everywhere….a place to escape to when I would find myself lost. A world that lies deep within my mind, so that I may journey there when I am cold, when I am afraid. I did not see it then, when I was a child, of 7 or 8….i did not see The Wild Hunt. I did not see the Aurora Borealis, the colours that would paint the night sky for me. I was too young to see it, too new to this world to understand what it meant. But it stayed with me, deep within my soul; it lingered there until I was ready. About 20 years later and I am still looking for the answers. I still journey into my mind sometimes to find the reason for it all. What was it that they wanted, what was it that they saw in me….

….all those many years ago….when I was a child….of 7….or 8….

Åsgårdsreien
The Wild Hunt: Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

 

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