ASGARDSREI IV (KIEV, 13.12. 2015)

This winter the ancient city of Kiev has successfully hosted the fourth edition of the famous Asgardsrei festival. Almost five hundred spectators gathered together on this mystical evening to join the musical and poetical ritual performed by M8L8TH (Russia), Sokyra Perna (Ukraine), Arya Varta (Ukraine) and Wehrwolf (Belarus).

The event is not an idle dalliance; it is first and foremost a ritual that invokes the archetypes of the Wild Hunt (also known as Oskoreia or Asgardsreia – The Ride of Asgard).

The Wild Hunt is ancient in origin; it embodies the memories of war, ancestral worship, and royal pastime. One of the earliest writers to refer to the Hunt is Tacitus (AD 56 – 117) – a historian of the Roman Empire, who recorded accounts of the Nordic tribes at the end of the first century C.E. He writes of a tribe who conducted fearful raids against their enemies:

. . . they are a fierce people who enhance their natural savageness by art and the choice of time. Their shields are black, their bodies painted black, and they choose black nights for battles, and by means of terror and shadow of a ghostly army they cause panic, since no enemy can bear a sight so unexpected and hellish; in every battle the eyes are the first to be conquered.

Two millenniums later Otto Höfler, an Austrian scholar and a member of the SS Ahnenerbe institute, in his work Verwandlungskulte, Volkssagen, und Mythen, has strongly put forth the idea that many of the medieval records of the Wild Hunt were actually descriptions of a ritual folk-procession. The fact that the host appears by both day and night, coming into the city streets as well as terrifying lonely travellers in the dark wood, support this idea as does Vulpius’ 16th-century description of the Nürnberg Fastnacht train as “the wild host, very strange figures, horned, beaked, tailed … roaring and shouting …”.

A massive salute to everyone involved in making Asgardsrei IV one of the most memorable festivals in Kiev. Further acknowledgement goes to the M8L8TH disciples for their overwhelming support.