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The Wild Hunt: A Drum-and-Bone Omen of Underworld ...

The Wild Hunt: A Drum-and-Bone Omen of Underworld Ceremony

the house of twigs danielle dulsky verses wild witch horse wild hunt

The Harvest Moon was fading behind the peach lace curtain of dawn, and she, that hooded ghost of a once-arrogant woman, bade me sink back into sleep a little longer. The sun would wait, she promised, but the wild hunt would not. I obliged without protest, letting her pull me under the indigo dream-sea of my more wicked and oracular visions, and she wrapped her ice-blue fingerbones around my wrists, hummed a throaty tune of foolish carnage and love lost, and hauled me straight to the bottom.

In those all-too-familiar haunted depths, I readied myself for prophecy. I vowed to befriend my monsters, and the ghost-witch kept up with her mournful song while I built a circle of humble cairns out of shell and stone in the name of dead lovers, soft-breasted but bitter-hearted grandmothers, and the many wounded women I used to be. When I finished my work, the song fell to silence, and I was alone in my sanctuary of shadow with only my will and the dull thrumming of my aging heart to keep me warm.

I knelt at the center of my fragile grief monuments and squinted into the dark, whisper-praying verses of dying hope and intentional awe; all the while, my pulse-beat swelled and quickened in an ancient rhythm only the most peculiar pagans, outlaw ocean currents, and oldest trees remember. The flesh was drummed away from my bones. The niceties were cleansed from my tongue, and my blood spilled into a spectral cloud that danced and twirled without skin to contain it.

I heard it then, a fury of horse hooves beating in time with my own wild, and I stood to meet them the way they should be met, these omens of looming doom. I knew all my foremothers knew in that moment, that the wild hunt was riding with my death-masked rebel ancestors leading the way, that an old dream was breathing its final exhale, and my for-once-unprotected heart called these undead warriors right here to see their bone-daughter in all her rawest glory and grief.

the house of twigs danielle dulsky verses wild witch horse wild hunt

They rode ‘round my hand-built graveyard, encircling my shrines in their frenzied swirl while they howled and hissed, dragging a crumbling, crystal-bone Earth behind them in the dust. A soft song in a language I do not speak rattled from my throat and spilled from my lipless mouth, and I opened my arms to receive the anguished carcass of a fallow planet. The hunters stilled themselves and joined me in my keening, and I wailed from the depths of my most primal soul while the riders rolled the beloved rock of the world into the center of my bone-grounds.

Their black-as-night horses stomped in time, meeting the drums of the wild ones and calling my own heart to pound so madly I feared what was left of me might crumble to dust, but our song kept on. The mud-and-grey marble once called Home quivered between us, and this band of heathens was joined by the wild flame-tending children who had yet to learn apathy. I knew then we were singing green and loamy flesh back to the bones of a dying Gaia, and the ancient dead joined the loving descendants in this eleventh-hour ritual to reanimate a world slaughtered without honor, an elder mother pierced between the shoulder blades by her most ungrateful creatures and left to bleed out in the dirt.

We sang as grief ritual and apology, as offering and eulogy. The resonance was so potent a spirit erupted from the sound, a winged entity born from the womb of ceremony that was the very soul of our song, and we all knelt in the name of good death. Even the horses took to the ground, and we prostrated ourselves before the once-virile mother who bore us.

Live, live, live, live, live, we chanted into the ground, and our tears fed the empty soil.

Live, live, live, live, live, I whisper-wept, and the song’s spirit wrapped its wings around the Earth.

I woke with the words still rolling from over-dry lips, skin blue as juniper berries and eyes streaked red with the memory of it all. I breathed a soft homage to the wild hunt, to the children, and to the ghost-witch who wanted me to see such ritual, then I went down to the sea to pray.

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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.
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Danielle is a heathen visionary, Aquarian mischief-maker, and word-witch. The author of Woman Most Wild and The Holy Wild., she teaches internationally and has facilitated circles, embodiment trainings, communal spell-work, and seasonal rituals since 2007. She is the founder of The Hag School, the lead teacher for the Flame-Tender Teacher Training, and believes in the emerging power of wild collectives and sudden circles of curious dreamers, cunning witches, and rebellious artists in healing our ailing world. As an Irish-American, Danielle’s witchcraft is deeply rooted in Celtic philosophy and Irish mythology. She believes fervently in the role of ancestral healing, embodiment, and animism in fracturing the longstanding systems supporting white-body supremacy and environmental unconsciousness, is committed to centering the voices and teachings of POC and LGBTQIA+ folks in her work as founder of Living Mandala, LLC and The Hag School and supports organizations and initiatives that do the same. Parent to two beloved wildlings and partner to a potter, Danielle fills her world with nature, family, and intentional awe. Find her praying under pine trees, wandering through the haunted places, and whispering to her grandmothers’ ghosts.

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