Thursday, July 26, 2018

OCCVLT - Herne the Hunter

Cold cast bronze statue of Herne can be purchased here >
Herne the Hunter, the god of the Wild Hunt in English folklore and myth surrounding the Windsor Forest. Something drew me to Herne after reading folklore tales about him in Shakespeare and his tale of his death. What most attracted me to him is that he is protector of both the hunter and the hunted. He is a spirit of the woods, often seen in times of great crisis. He also takes shape as stag spirit or bull, who is sacrificed each year symbolizing the cycle of life, death and rebirth. 


There are many versions about Herne's destiny. It is said Herne saved King Richard II on a hunt one day, after he was almost impaled to death by a stag that was terribly wounded. Herne threw himself in front of the animal and paid with his own life. Brought back to life by a wizard named Phillip Urwick, Herne was given an elixir made of magical herbs, and stag antlers of great honor, were tied to his head. The sacrifice paid, was that Herne's huntsman craft would be no longer. In longing doom, Herne escaped into the forest, where he hanged himself from an oak tree - which has long been associated to the Greenman. With the sounds of rattling chains in the distance, his spirit can be seen riding a black stallion, with pack of hounds, on his Wild Hunt with a horn and bow at his breast. 

Writings of a Pagan Witch, had wrote that it is thought that Herne's name may have originated from the actual roar of a stag – perhaps the exact roar right before Herne was killed. Listen to the video below and tell me what you think. 


Offerings include cider, whiskey, or homemade mead. Meat you hunted yourself. Carrots and apples. Burn incense that resembles heavy or mucky scents of the forest like deep pines, earthen floor or leaves. Play sounds of a stag calling as a way to connect with him.

Legend of Herne the Hunter from multiple sources. Original photography by me, Leila Marvel, 2018.


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