Mourne/Aspects of the Wild Hunt
Title: Where Instinct Meets Intellect: Aspects of the Wild Hunt Author: Mourne Luthenes Faendryl
First printing: 25 Charlatos 5118
What Makes a Hunt 'Wild'?
I have, thus far, found no single, defining quality that tips the hunt for prey from an otherwise mundane stalking into the fierce and consuming rampage that is a Wild Hunt. It is a spirit that infects both predator (or predators) and prey, sometimes at a certain critical mass, sometimes at a certain height of emotion. It is a transcendence of purpose, where the prey instinct melds with the hunter's intellect and forms a gestalt greater than the sum of its parts. It can be sought but rarely reached with deliberation. It is, I feel, the purest crystallization of the bond between the hunter and the hunted, the glassy harmonics of flight and pursuit, and a state that, when achieved, brings all caught in its ephemeral snare closer to comprehending the absolute -- to understanding the divinity of creation, if you will.
Do not mistake me; though I speak of divinity and find much to admire and emulate in the known workings of certain entities, I cleave to none with blind devotion, nor do I hold any to be gods worthy of what is traditionally considered 'worship'. That great powers move within and without our world is no secret. Myths and tales of dubious provenance abound regarding their genesis, their activities, and their motivations. But as Lord Silvean Rashere Faendryl notes in his essay Faendryl Atheism and Sorcery as Religion, inborn superiority does not bestow godhood. Similarly, that a thing is said be made by a great power does not imbue it with a rarefied and unapproachable quality purely by virtue of association.
Rather, the complexity and interconnection of all existence is the divinity to which I refer. All of nature, taken as a whole, is divine, in that it is multifarious, it swells with vast energies, and it is quite difficult for a tiny subset such as you or I to comprehend the whole.
Faces and Facets
Nature is possessed of many symmetries, reflected in the growth patterns of flora and fauna, as well as the structure of wasp nest, honeycomb, and web. So, too, the Hunt has symmetry, reflected not just in the dance of fight and flight between predator and prey, but in the primary faces of the Hunt and disparate spheres to which they are commonly assigned: Andelas the Hunter, of Lornon, the Huntress unnamed, generally considered a neutral entity, and Imaera the Shaper, of Liabo.
These entities have power, influence over their realm and those who pass through them, but they are bound by their limitations; they cannot move freely nor encompass the Wild Hunt entire. The Hunt is a liminal space, it lives where friction and fluidity meet, where tumult becomes tranquility but neither holds sway. Those who move through this space, whether they stumble upon it by fleeting chance or seek it out as an Adherent, are not so bound. Some may feel the influence of one aspect more keenly than another, resonate more strongly with a given sphere, but no single facet can truly describe the whole.
Andelas, the cunning predator: far and wide he is associated with cats, and it is said his manifestations usually take the shape of one. He is the great stalker, canny and wise in the ways of his prey. Sometimes viewed as cold and aloof, other times mischievous and warm, he remains the most apex of predators. His tactics and prowess embody the "how" of the Hunt, a facet that many hunters might consider ascendant. The "when" of the Hunt may also be within Andelas's sphere, though that can at times fall instead within the sphere of the Huntress.
The Huntress, whose name is lost to history: she, once mortal, has come to embody the spirit of vengeance. Hers is a fierce motivation, a drive not only to perform but to excel, a relentless persistence that serves the Hunt. Her impulse can burn hot or cold, with reaction or with careful calculation. The Huntress's impetus embodies the "why" of the Hunt, and, depending on circumstance, may also inform the "when".
Imaera, mistress of nature: all that lives is her dominion, from seed to reaping. Hers is the stage upon which the dramatic acts of life play out. The Keeper of the Wilds is inherent to the Hunt, for hers is both the "where", the land itself, and the "what", the prey and other predators with which the hunter may come into conflict. One might even argue that she contributes the "who" as well -- for the hunter cannot be removed from nature, steeped in it as they are.
The Hunter, Transcendent
However, we are more than thinking beasts, we hunters, and when we find ourselves immersed within the coursing glory that is a Wild Hunt, we transcend the base pattern of merely hunting and become the Hunt itself. In that moment, we sense the prey and their flight as though it is our own, because it is. We read the currents of our environment with all our senses as though they are our native language, because they are. We feel the exultation of true purpose as the realization of our being, because it is. When we touch that perfection, we are most at one with the underlying pulse of a vast existence, and simultaneously we are most firmly ourselves. This duality, far from being a contradiction, is a completion, a resonance of the self with the other that serves to reveal the common underpinnings of both.