There is far more to the Winter Solstice season than most people think. My favourites is the Wild Hunt, when everyone should stay indoors and keep out of sight. This is because the Wild Hunt is scary and dangerous. When people are outside on a midwinter’s night, listening for the sounds of distant dogs barking, feeling icy winds, the arrival of frost and snow, distant shouting, yelling and horns, followed by a dark wave of hunters.
They’re full of shadowy things, undead, ghosts and entities, some riding on black horses. There are sinister dogs with red eyes. They’re part of a band of spirits and Others, who want blood. This blood exchange for the return of Spring and harvests. The Wild Hunt can kill livestock and may kill people if they’re outside. People who die during the winter solstice outside are victims of the Wild Hunt. Many victims of murder and the freezing cold are often found huddled up or face down, and this has been associated with the Wild Hunt. Victims of the Wild Hunt were all faced downwards or curled up froen to death or mauled to death. Animals have also perished in the phase of the Wild Hunt. Frozen petrified animals found on pavements, roads, fields and woods the morning after the winter solstice.
It’s always tradition for people to leave out some offal to feed the spectral horses and scraps to feed the black dogs with red eyes. To celebrate the Wild Hunt, often men would dress up and fulfil their own hunts . People left food and some drink outside at night for the coming supernatural Hunters.
It’s said that leading the Wild Hunt is the god Odin, riding on his eight legged horse Sleipner. Odin, the All-Father and warrior god, the wanderer, travels across the skies and delivers food and mead. Behind Him, the frightening Wild Hunt.