The podcast for everyone who loves the cool north

The Wild Midwinter Hunt

... and other midwinter superstitions
In this episode I take a look at midwinter superstitions that carry us from the ancient sagas to the video game Assassin’s Creed! It is the pit of winter. These are the dark days between Christmas and Epiphany that are only slightly illuminated by the fireworks of New Year. Throughout history, this period has been seen as rather insecure. If one believes in that invisible membrane between this world and the underworld, then at no time of the year is it so thin than at midwinter. The magical, immortal creatures of superstition can almost punch through and touch us, and the layer between living and dead is a mere tissue of existence. Have you observed the customs hallowed by time? If not, then beware! Tonight the hunt may ride again and carry you away. The wild hunt of Odin – the Oskoreia.

Åsgårdsreien (detail), by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1872)
Public domain

Twitter: @northbynorway

Hodne, Ørnulf
Norsk folketro
Oslo, Cappelen, 1999

Celander, Hilding
Oskoreien och besläktade föreställningar i äldre och nyare nordisk
In Saga och Sed. Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademiens Årsbok, published by Jöran Sahlgren, pages 71-175. Uppsala, 1943

Eike, Christine N.F.
Oskoreia og ekstaseriter
In Norveg 23, Tidsskrift for folkelivsgranskning, pages 227-309. Universitetsforlaget, Oslo-Bergen-Tromsø, 1980

Landstad, Magnus Brostrup
In Mytiske sagn fra Telemarken. Efterladte optegnelser av M.B. Landstad, page 9-20. Norsk Folkeminnelag, Oslo (NFL 13), 1926

Landstad, M. B.
Mytiske sagn fra Telemark
Grenland, 1995

Lecouteux, Claude
(trans. Jon E. Graham)
Phantom Armies of the Night
Inner Traditions, Vermont

Løwe, Hilde
Åsgårdsreia: En studie av folkelige forestillinger på 1800- og 1900-tallet
Master thesis in art history, University of Oslo, 2012

00:00 North by Norway
written on GarageBand by Andrew J. Boyle, using the Norwegian folksong ‘I Ola-dalom, i Ola-tjønn’

02:32 Wild Hunt
Andrew J. Boyle

08:10 Haugebonden
Trad. Sung by Andrew J. Boyle

11:40 I Ola-dalom, i Ola-tjønn
Edvard Grieg, op. 66, no. 14

15:25 Sarpefossen
Andrew J. Boyle, with GarageBand loops

Music performed on GarageBand by Andrew J. Boyle
A Choirmaster’s Christmas
“La Norderie”

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