In this episode of Lore, Follow the Leader, Aaron Mahnke delves into folklore describing what is known as The Wild Hunt. Mostly rooted in Germanic legend, the wild hunt is often described as a supernatural horde of warriors hunting great beasts through the forest or across the sky. The sight or sound of these hunters is supposed to portend times of great chaos such as war, famine, or plague. The hunt is often lead by a mythological figure and followed by the souls of the dead or sometimes valkyries, elves, or demons. It has even been thought to have inspired our modern interpretation of Santa Claus riding through the night sky as an agent of chaotic good. After all, the leader of the wild hunt is often Odin on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, bringing both gifts and destruction depending on his mood.
As a person who spent a large chunk of my teen years galloping horses across fields and through the woods I can honestly say I find the whole idea of this kind of exciting. When I was the exhausted mother of young children, I often fantasized about disappearing into a deep forest for some noble cause or finding a magical wardrobe of my own where I might have tea with a faun in the snow. As the mother of teenagers who are finding their own ways, I try to inspire that need to be in the wild parts of the world, with the wild things, as much as possible.
Benovolent or malevolent, all of us crave a bit of chaos from time to time. Even our most domesticated animals occasionally express their feral natures. As humans, our feral natures encourage us to endure and navigate long distances. Journeying into the unknown is an inherent part of our genetics; we evolved to be travelers. This drive is likely what drove men and women to cross oceans, take to the sky, and explore our solar system and beyond. Wherever it comes from, when the horn sounds, we want to follow.