The Nights are cooler and the leaves are turning and falling to the ground, the season has changed. In this time of the year many turn to thoughts of the holidays with all the attendant ritual that their traditions require. There is another ritual enacted at this time of the year that seems to get ignored or vilified far too often, I speak of The Hunt. The Hunt and the Huntsman are such an integral part of humanity and it's myths, that one need not hunt for very long to find tales of The Hunt. A simple Google search will render much useful information, but I want to talk of the hunt from a ritual perspective and explain the profound power and responsibility of being a huntsman. Come into the woods with me.
Look at the image above, do you feel like getting lost there? Probably not, it would not take long for something to take notice of you, something that could eat you. One of the first thing the Hunter knows is that everything is Hunter and Hunted. The real challenge would be finding woods like these, not many left in the world. These are old growth forests, primeval and untamed, now a days mostly isolated and clinging to survival . Enter the Huntsman, a common theme in huntsman myths, is the idea of the huntsman being the barrier between order and chaos, the Forest and civilization. He was understood to be a guardian figure who both protected civilization from the beasts in the woods, but also protected the forest from the ravages of civilization. There is a sacred trust which must be fulfilled by the huntsman, One may take what one needs to survive from the land, but one must return something to the land. Protecting the land from wanton destruction was and still should be viewed as a sacred act.The reason is simple, our home is disappearing.
This map from the USDA Forestry Service pretty much sums up how bad the situation has become. The Hunt is a sacred bond that ties the Hunter to the land and if the Hunter does not protect the land, there will be no Hunt. No rites of passage in the woods on a late Autumn afternoon. As the wild world slips away, something vital and important fades inside of humanity. Fight for the forests, fight for the Hunt, fight for our future. As long as there is wildness in me I will fight for the forest and all who live there, if you want to help follow the links below. You cannot become one with the Primeval Earth if there are no vestiges of it left. Do your sacred duty answer the Call of the Wild.