A Tarot Spread: The Wylde Hunt

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Shown here: The Wildwood Tarot

Hello, all. I promised myself I would do some more posting this week, and school and the like got a bit crazy. However, I do have this to share with you guys: a tarot spread I designed based on the Wylde Hunt.

The Hart: Describes the goal you are/ perhaps should be pursuing

The Hounds: These cards represent what things/people might help you in the pursuit of your goal. They help you to ‘sniff out’ and track your progress, and assist in bringing you to your goal.

The Forest/Environment: This position describes external forces that might be affecting your pursuit of this goal: possible obstacles OR favourable conditions.

The Hunter: You in this situation, and how you are handling the hounds and your environment in pursuit of this goal.

The Arrow: The action you should take to really cement your success and ensure your goal is met.

What goals and dreams are you pursuing? What is it your soul is searching for? And what things will help you along your way?

Forest Blessings,
Rachel

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Collected Poems of the Wylde Hunt

Below are a number of poems I wrote, mostly on my older blog, about the Wylde Hunt. I thought I’d share them all here!

The Hunter’s Horn

Can you hear the Hunter’s Horn,

Sounding in the forest deep?

Can you hear the pounding of hooves

When night creeps in and people sleep?

In the dark night can you feel

That rush of wind- that fleeting chill?

Standing in the night-time wood

What will be his latest kill?

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Image found here.

The Hunters’ Chase

Tripping o’er the roots and stones,

Slipping in the mud and scattered leaves I run-

The horde thundering after me.

Heart pounding in rhythm with their drums

I carry on through darkened forests deep

Horns and bays of hounds

Tear through the trees after me.

Silver slivers the moonlight glimmers down

Through barren branches

Lighting there upon the path

Leading me deeper.

Drum beats faster

The flight continues.

Will I live or will I die?

Hunter’s horn is sounding closer

Behind, I hear their haunting cry,

But won’t look back now o’er my shoulder

Won’t turn around; I cannot stop

The pounding rumbles; it’s all I hear

They plan to chase until I drop.

Thrilling ever is the chase

That leads I know not where.

But were I to lose this frenzied race

What things would

Meet me

There?

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Image found here.

Call of Herne

Hazy-eyed dreamer

You long to be

In the tangled wood

Amongst the trees

To feel the pulse

The forest’s charm

That pounding, that burning

The hunters’ drums

Starry-eyed poet

Arise! Awake!

The Hunter calls you

Your future to take!

Lose yourself

To the wild, the thrall

Join the riders

And the squall

Curious wanderer

You’ve come too far

Can you still see

Those distant stars?

Forget the path

The way you came

Join us now

Where there is no shame

Hazy-eyed dreamer

In your gaze I see:

Your fate is set

You belong with me.

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Asgårdsreien (1872) by Peter Nicolai Arbo

Whispers of the Autumn Court

You’ve heard us your whole life

That raspy whispering from the trees that beckons and tells you

You’re one of us…

You were afraid once

The unknown darkness overwhelmed you

Above all sense of truth you found in our words.

So we waited

Our eyes boring holes in your soul

Holes that would open into gaping wounds as you struggled

Desperately to find answers to your own darkness that came

Flowing out in roaring waves, crashing and cascading

Until you could see now in dazzling horror

The darkness that dwelt within.

The path gone before you, you stumbled into our realms.

Ours was the world of dankness and seeping chill

Of rot and decay beneath the vibrant greens

Of flash-fire autumns that gave way quickly to winter’s barren bones.

Your fingers clawed in the earth

The hoof beats of hunters drew near- a sense of foreboding you had not yet learned to hear.

You’re one of us, we told you…

Renewed strength- or was it adrenaline?- you ran

Thorny branches tearing limbs and cloth,

Thick roots tripping, ripping foot and calf and shin

The horns bellowed, the hunter rode fast

And you clung to the gleaming lights that sometimes came down from the trees

Baying hounds harried you, close to brink of exhaustion

We called out: Do not fear! Do not run!

For you are just as we are.

Escalating into a clamorous cacophony the chase of hound and hunter grew closer, closer…

Until you found yourself in the hunter’s arms

Pressed against his chest as darkness drew in around you

And in his embrace you saw us clearly

Glowing eyes blinking under tree and fern

We are darkness and dampness

We are nibblers at bone and gnawers of flesh

We are decay and rot, flash-fire brightness and brittle shells

We are hunters and slinkers in dank forest shadows

Rooted deep in the mysteries of death and decay

And the last breaths of life

Fascinating and undeniably terrible…

And you

Are one of us…

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Image found here.

Return of the Wylde Ones

Stained in shades of bloody red and orange rust

The leaves drift down silently

Beneath the squall of crows-

Hidden in the occasional thud! of fallen acorns-

Something is awakening.

The air is scented with death,

The smell of rotting leaves, moist in the dark soil.

The breeze brings chill,

Moans through branches growing ever more barren

The insects have turned into their silent places-

No cicadas or crickets to be heard anymore.

As I stand in the wooded grove,

The quiet of the forest

And shimmering last rays of golden sun

Wrap me in their embrace.

Peace can be found here, but something lingers

A bitter taste on the air of something yet to appear.

The wind dies, the silence occasionally punctuated by another

Thud! Snap!

More nuts and twigs falling to the forest floor…

The darkness settles, and I sense what had slumbered there begin to awake.

Glimmering, coal-black eyes peering from roots and mushrooms

A teeming of life that had been hidden

In the radiance of the daylight’s fading gold.

These were the wild ones.

The creatures of folktale and legend,

Those our mothers would warn us of.

They watch me with a curiosity,

Resting there in the dark amongst the trees.

But something else is coming

Another force approaches…

At first they are dull, hardly distinguishable from the pattering of acorns

But then, it registers on the edges of my awareness:

Hoof beats coming from the deeper trees

The Hunt has come to ride again.

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Image found here.

Riding With the Hunt
The leaves above me rustle and whisper, glints of golden sunlight filtering through an opulent canopy of orange and gold. Now and then, a creature scurries by in the undergrowth and fallen leaves. Though the sun is setting quickly, there is a certain sense of peace in the quiet of the woods. The winding ravine paths lead me to the edge of a jagged cliff, looking down into the tumbling depths where a river once flowed. A gust of wind catches my jacket and scarf, laughing, almost threatening to send me over the edge on which I stand. That’s when I catch it: the subtle drone on the breeze, as if a horn was being blown off in some distant part of the wood.

Stillness follows. Branches creak, almost from the burden of motionlessness- as if the very act of remaining still for too long will cause their limbs to weaken and break. Acorns fall with quiet thuds as the muteness creeps in. A lone whisper of a breeze blows past my ear: “You are one of us… Come and ride amongst our ranks…” With a smile, I nod, closing my eyes and allowing myself to be carried away.

In the arms of hunters, I soar over the crimson wood. Further up, I can see the Grand River as it cuts through the forested landscape, carving its way towards the city and beyond. My stomach turns in the way it might on a rollercoaster. We tumble through autumn breeze and storm cloud, laughing in the madness of it all. First a burst of icy fog, then a swirl of leaves caught from a tree nearby, leaping into darkened damp masses of cloud that rumble at our touch. Then, as suddenly as it began, I am plunging downward again, careening towards the forest and the ravines from which I had risen. We fall down, down through branches both barren and gilded, down past barky trunk and forest creature and into the depths of soily crag and dampened slope.

My consciousness returns to my physical form with a gasp. Eyes wide, I see that darkness has fallen around me. The ghostly whispering breeze blows gently past. In its wake, leaves scuttle ‘round my feet, muttering a raspy farewell. For now, I must leave the realm of root and rot, of moss and bark, for the land of brick and steel. I know, however, that this place will be awaiting my return…

Autumn Equinox & The Hunt- Reaping & Release

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The Autumnal Equinox, or Mabon, is only a few short days away now. One of my earliest memories of this particular sabbat is of my old high school group clustered in a tiny grove of pine and cedar trees, moving counter-clockwise to banish any remaining ‘funk’ before we descended into the colder, winter months. After all, who wanted to head into darker months holding onto a bunch of negativity? I think we’d gotten the rite from one of the Sweep novels, to be completely honest, but something about it felt strangely poignant then, and still does now. As the leaves redden, deaden, and fall, so too should any of the negativity that I’m holding onto before the dark of Samhain and Winter arrive.

It is a time for laying to rest that which does not serve me, and for acknowledging that the part of the year had come when my creativity’s peak is reaching its end. Between Beltane and now, I generally have a great deal of motivation for different projects, adventures with friends, making physical things, etc. Mabon marks a turning inward. From here on out, until that time comes once again, my focus is more inwards, more on personal work than on outward creativity.

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But the equinox is equally about calling to me the strength I’ll need to journey on through the darker months as well. The coming months are usually more deeply reflective; they reveal many things about myself, and can be trying in ways that rest of the school year is not. These are the days when I’ll need those deep reserves of inspiration, motivation, faith, etc.- particularly when my path feels stagnant.

This year, as I’ve been working more specifically with the Hunt, I’m planning to call upon them for assistance. I’ve explained in blogs and videos recently that I work with them as sort of psychopomp-like entities. They can assist when things feel as though they’re going nowhere. Within the next couple of days, I’ll likely be doing a small ritual to honor them and begin this process.

Wishing you all the best in your own reaping and laying to rest this harvest season,
~Rachel

Projects for the Fall 2016

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Autumn is finally here. The weather is starting to get cooler and more rainy, little patches of red can be seen amongst the vastness of the Grand Valley Ravines, and the sense of change and that darker part of the year can be felt in the air.

The autumn is quite literally my favorite part of the year, partly because my inner goth-kid/tormented-soul-artist loves the gloomy weather, and partly because of the deep spiritual lessons that can be learned during this season. It is a season of transformation, of vibrant expression, of death, release, reaching inward to those places that are in need of healing, in need of communication, in need of acknowledgement. It’s the deep, raw, shadow-work-y part of the year, and often where I get the most done in terms of my personal practice. Whereas summer is a vibrant, busy, explorative and creative time, autumn is like the phoenix song: a blazing, meaningful, time of the year where the biggest and baddest of the magical stuff gets done for me.

This year, I’ve tried to organize the chaos that usually ensues a bit, and I’ve narrowed a focus for what it is I actually want to work on through this period. My monthly tarot readings on the Full Moons will continue through this time, as will my normal blog updates and YouTube postings. However, I also plan to have one or two special projects going along the way as well.

autumn-wylde-huntThe first of these projects is what I’m calling “The Autumn Wylde Hunt Challenge”.  Basically, from the Full Moon this month until the Full Moon in October. For that period, I’m going to be focusing heavily on The Hunt, its place in my practice, how I relate to it at this time of the year, etc. etc. My posts during that time will be (for the most part) about these topics. They’ll be personal gnosis, folklore, history, poetry written by me, etc. I’m also making it a goal during this challenge to take a walk in the woods each Friday afternoon. I’m going to try and come up with a specific aspect of the Wylde Hunt to focus on for each of those walks- and do some blog/vlog reflections on them once they’ve been completed. I think it will really help me to cement my practice involving them, and figure out things that do/don’t work.

And of course, the October New Moon is just before Samhain. So, my second project (it’s still in the works in my head right now) is to utilize the waning moon energy, between the October Full Moon (10/16/16), and New Moon (10/30/16), to really play into that descent towards Samhain. More on this will come as it gets closer to that time.

I’m also debating (from a completely non-witchy standpoint) picking up on Inktober this year, and trying to do daily ink drawings throughout the month of October should I find the time to do so. Maybe I can tie it together with my shadow work plans and my Wylde Hunt challenge. 😉

At any rate, there’s lots coming up that I’m hoping to accomplish this fall, and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Blessings,
Rachel