When we think of the Wild hunt, in Ireland, we think of Cernunnos. Cernunnos is the horned god found in Celtic mythology, and he is widely assumed to be the deity featured on a panel of the famous Gundestrup Cauldron.
With his mighty antlers, Cernunnos is a protector of the forest and master of the hunt.
As the Green Man, he is a god of lust and fertility. In some places and traditions, he is revered as a god of death and dying, often singing the souls to the dead on their way to the spirit world or other planes.
Cernunnos leads a pack of hounds, often black – as black is a significant color representing death – on a chase over the land of the living. Often, mortals hear their sound of the hunting horns, or hear the hounds baying and even times see the hunt itself as it passes. But note: the Hunt is neither good nor evil. It is simply a manifestation of the Forces within Nature and the cycle of life within Nature herself. Oftentimes, the Hunt was associated with the coming of war, famine or plague – all forces of Nature in their own right. That is the base meaning of the Hunt. The elements within, the stories that invest the Hunt with such meaning and richness vary by region. Still, the hunt stirs us and stokes our imagination because deep down, I think, many of us are searching for that place in Nature for us to reconnect with – to feel alive.