The Wild Hunt
When writing, I enjoy weaving traces of Celtic legends into my stories.
One of the stories that intrigues me is that of the Wild Hunt. For centuries there have been vivid and lurid accounts of the this ghostly, tumultuous ride through the skies.
The hunters are variously identified as the newly deceased souls of the dead, spirits who never lived on earth or dark fairies and witches led by pagan gods and goddesses or folk heroes such as Robin Hood or King Arthur. These phantom leaders are accompanied by a pack of demonic howling hounds, their passing marked by a tumultuous racket of pounding hooves, howling dogs and raging winds.
The prey of these Satanic hordes are the souls of the living who had lived wicked lives or innocents who witnessed the hunt passing and did not seek shelter in time to prevent their soul being sucked out and their useless bodies tossed from the skies.
One theme is common to all legends, no matter their source. The Wild Hunt is a very bad omen, usually foretelling a time of strife or death.
In Wales, the leader of the Hunt is believed to be Gwynn ap Nudd, the Lord of the Dead, who is followed by his pack of hounds. Their appearance is a portent of doom.