The Wild Hunt & Associated Tales

I think it’s the right category? Feel free to help/move though.

So…I’ve become interested with the Wild Hunt. Nothing at all to do with the way-too-much death energy I’ve been skirting around as of late I’m sure.

I’m more interested in the legends from before the Christians decided their input matters, but I’ll take what I can get too. If anyone has stories, traditions, books, websites, etc., I’m deeply interested in your resources and knowledge.

And then, additionally, I thought I’d share something that’s different, but has a similar concept, I’m also curious if anyone has these types of stories to share.

In Latin America (I’m thinking of one place specifically, I won’t speak for everyone), there’s a story of a ghostly carriage. Fog precedes it’s arrival. Silence comes next, even crying children falling quiet, it’s silence so deep that you can’t hear anything but the low wind outside and then the bells as they rattle with the carriage’s movement, and the stomps of the horses running down the (dirt) road. And it’s said, if they see you, the horses with wild eyes and their pale driver, if you see them, that within the week you’ll be dead. And there are stories about, especially among the older people, hearing the carriage and asking who had seen it go by, who looked at it, and then that person passing on shortly after, always within the week.

It’s not the same, but it’s an interesting parallel, and it’s something that survives (survived the forced attempt at indoctrination into Christianity) and people believe today, respect today, and hold fear toward today. So I’m curious, if anyone has anything similar they’d like to share, any experiences with the Wild Hunt or anything similar in nature, and/or decent resources.


a relevant excerpt: 1877 Jacob Grimm  Teutonic  Myth


Frau Gauden, also known as Frau Gode, Frau Gaur, Fru Goden, Frau Wohl, and Mutter Gauerken, is a being from the folklore of Mecklenburg. She is said to be cursed because she expressed to prefer eternally hunt rather than go to Heaven, and her daughters, who expressed the same desire, were transformed into small dogs who either pull her wagon or sled, or serve as hunting dogs. She visits the homes of humans during the Twelve Nights of Christmas and punishes the lazy while sometimes rewarding the virtuous or those who help her.”


@Mythopoeia thank you!!! Much appreciated and I’m excited to read it!


Sluagh: The Gaelic Soul Snatchers

In Irish and Scottish folklore the Sluagh na marbh (host of the dead) or, simply, Sluagh (host), pronounced Sloo-ah, are sometimes associated/paralleled with the Wild Hunt. The Sluagh were originally supernatural beings that were never human (generally seen as malevolent, they were said to be fairy folk so vile they were banished from the Otherworld) but, as Christianity continued to spread, they began to be seen more as an “army” of the restless or unforgiven dead (terrible people in life, even worse in death). As the unforgiven dead it is said that not just hell rejected them, but the Earth too, which is why they must always fly through the air. The line between nonhuman supernatural beings and human souls does get blurred as the mythology evolved.

Accounts of the Sluagh vary across time and location but, generally, they are said to try to snatch the souls of the sick and dying. Some accounts say that they only travel on the west wind so, when a person laid sick or dying, all windows and doors facing west would be sealed shut because, even if they were only slightly open, the Sluagh could get inside and snatch their soul before they were able to recover or move on, in the event of death. Other times it is said that they can come from any direction but east. The closing of the west-facing doors and windows in the presence of the sick and the dying/dead is something that is sometimes still done to this day.

Other accounts say that, without bias or provocation, the Sluagh will snatch anyone that is unfortunate enough to come across their horde, especially those travelling alone at night, and it’s not just a person’s soul they might snatch either— some accounts have the Sluagh snatching a person whole and dropping them in another location.

From Dictionary of Celtic Mythology ( James MacKillop)

“They may approach from any direction but the east, usually taking crescent form, like a flight of grey birds. They are said to be able to pick up a person bodily and transport him long distances through the air from one island to another. Although they can rescue a man from a dangerous rock cleft, they usually bode no good to mortals. They may be seen after dark and are said also to injure cattle. Their name appears in the Gaelic exclamation ‘O shluagh!’, a call for succour to the fairies.”

They are said to look extremely gaunt and gangly, with bird-like features and leathery wings. They might appear in the sky resembling a large flock of birds or dark clouds, if they are even seen at all— if not seen they might be heard as a rumble of flapping wings or a howling wind (as sometimes it is said they manifest as a wind so strong that it will burn the skin). Their presence is an omen for misfortune and death, naturally.

The Leader of the Hunt

Sticking within the Celtic sphere, the Welsh psychopomp king of the fair folk and keeper of the Otherworld Gwyn ap Nudd is often associated with the Wild Hunt as the leader of the hunt, in a role similar to Odin. Gwyn’s hounds, Cŵn Annwn (“hounds of Annwn,” Annwn being the Welsh Otherworld), are all white but have red ears, as red is associated with death, and they are said to escort souls to the Otherworld. During the hunt they chase their prey until their prey can no longer run.

To hear the hounds is said to be an omen of imminent death and it is also said that the hounds sound louder the farther away they are from you… it’s when they start to get quiet, that’s when you know they’re close. The hounds came to be associated with geese, as the geese honking sounded similar to the hound’s barks at night.

The hunt in Welsh folklore/mythology generally takes place during autumn, winter, and early spring, with conflicting accounts of specific days.

Alternative to Gwyn ap Nudd, Arawn is also associated with the hunt as the leader of the hunt. Arawn was king of the Otherworld and the one who originally released the hounds, so to speak. Arawn was wise and a very skilled hunter and was said to be a fair and just ruler. Before Christianization the Otherworld was seen as a paradise and a place of eternal youth, after Christianization it was turned into more of an “underworld,” a “hell,” and Arawn and his hounds were somewhat “demonized” along with it. Arawn and Gwyn ap Nudd get confused and sometimes even conflated, but they’re just figures that appear at different times in Welsh mythology.

In Irish mythology, the legendary hero Fionn mac Cumhaill (more popularly known in the anglosphere as “Finn McCool”) shares many similarities with Gwyn ap Nudd and he is also sometimes mentioned along with the Wild Hunt as the leader of the hunt, sometimes referred to as the “Fairy Cavalcade.” Fionn travelled around with his band of Fianna (groups of hunter-warrirors) and his hounds Bran and Sceólang. His exploits are told through the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

Although the Celtic tales of the Wild Hunt might not be as detailed as the Germanic ones (and they’ll probably lead you on a bit of a goose chase that may or may not result in a lot of dead ends, which is not all that uncommon with Celtic stuff lol) these are a few of the figures most often associated with it:

Gwyn ap Nudd
Cŵn Annwn
Fionn mac Cumhaill

King Arthur is also sometimes said to lead the hunt in his form as a storm god, Arthur O’Bower, a personification of the storm. There is a nursery rhyme from the 18th century that is said to allude to this:

“Arthur O’Bower has broken his band
He comes roaring up the land
King of Scots with all his power
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower”


On the Cosmic Hunt in North Eurasian Rock Art


Don’t know how I missed this when you posted, thanks so much for the insight and sharing this!!

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