The Wild Hunt was a folk myth prevalent in former times across Germany and Britain. The introduction of Christianity also brought this folk myth to Scandinavia. The fundamental premise in all instances is the same: a phantasmal group of huntsmen with the accoutrements of hunting, horses, hounds, etc., in mad pursuit across the skies or along the ground, or just above it. The hunters may be the dead, or the fairies (often in folklore connected with the dead).
Tag Archives: Archaeology
Why December the 25th?
The main problem in trying to establish the date of Christ’s birth is that there simply isn’t any real evidence to go on. The gospels don’t provide any dating evidence apart from the reported roman census and an astronomical phenomena, the star, to go on. Nowhere in the gospels is the date of conception or birth actually mentioned. Unfortunately there seems to be no records of any census undertaken in that period, strange as the Romans were methodical record keepers, and research has shown no contemporary records of any astronomical event sufficient to pinpoint a date to more than a few years accuracy let alone an actual day.
This wasn’t a problem for the early church as birthdays were not seen as something to actually celebrate so the only interest in establishing the date was purely theological. The main problem is that despite the hard work of the theologians, they generally met with a stunning lack of success in actually agreeing on a date.
The spiral has fascinated and intrigued people for centuries. It is common in both Christian and pre Christian art and has been taken up by the modern Neo-pagan community. But its earliest expression is that found on Neolithic passage tombs, such as New Grange or on rock cut inscriptions all dating from the stone age.
What exactly the spiral, in all its many forms, meant to the pre-Christian peoples is however, like so much, unknown. Primarily, the spiral is typical of funerary symbolism common in Irish tombs as well as those of other megalithic cultures. Historically, spirals in both Megalithic and Neolithic art were closely akin with spiritual issues of the cycle of death and rebirth.
The serpent, important iconographically.to both manifestations of Brigid, is often used as a metaphor for infinity, in a sense, by the sloughing off of it’s skin it is continually dying and being reborn (Purce, 101) and it is this interpretation of the spiral, being a symbolic representation of a symbol, the snake or serpent, that I find rather interesting. We have, if this interpretation is correct, a double abstraction of a fundamental principle, birth and death, the never ending cycle.
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One of the things that many pagans feel strongly about is that we should treat our ancestors with due reverence and respect. This has led to issues and concerns about the reburial of remains, access to and protection of sacred sites. These concerns are such that the Government has started a consultation process to look at these issues.
One of the questions that arise from these thoughts is who exactly are our ancestors? This country has been subject to invasion and migration from many sources over the years, from the Romans in CE 43 to the Vikings and Normans in 1066. It can be argued that given the number and range of influxes into this country just about anybody can, with careful choice of their path through their family tree, claim ancestors in just about any part of Europe.
The history of these islands enables us all to claim a kinship with a vast range of peoples and cultures and should lead to a certain respect for all the diverse traditions and cultures we find both today and in the past. Unfortunately this is not the case as often as it should be! Even within the pagan community!