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Holda and the Wild Hunt

''Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo, d...

''Åsgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo, depicting the Wild Hunt of European folklore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I mentioned the Wild Hunt in Herne the Hunter, in a really simplified version. But there’s nothing simple about the Wild Hunt.

It’s a legend that spans most of Europe, in various formats. Boiled down to its essence, the Wild Hunt is a group of midnight spirits on a ghostly hunt. If you see the Wild Hunt, it’s a Very Bad Thing(tm). It presages disaster. Sometimes you can escape the disaster by, of all things, joining in with the Hunt and riding with them hell-bound for leather.

But sometimes that’s a very bad thing to do because time passes differently in Faery–a few hours with the Hunt could mean a few centuries in real time.

Just as the Hunt’s riders change depending on where you are in Europe (the Faery, ghosts, spirits), and the object of the hunt changes (wild women, mythic beasts, the souls of the unbaptized), the leader of the Hunt also changes.

In some Germanic traditions, it’s Holda. She’s a fierce sky goddess, and her Hunt is made up of shrieking witches. But it can’t be all bad–she was once a fertility goddess, so all the land she rides over gives up double the produce at harvest-time.


The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters
The Encyclopedia of Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Monsters

by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

About teresawilde

Author of Young Adult Paranormals, Paranormal Romance, Historical Paranormal Romance, tragical- comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, and poem unlimited.

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