With Yule upon us I thought I’d take a little bit of time for some personal speculation about the Furious Host, better known as the Wild Hunt. Odin’s role as the leader of the host of riders is well known and rather decently documented, both in ancient times and through surviving folklore. There’s a lot of variation in how Odin is remembered and how hostile the Furious Host is portrayed, but there’s a lot of folklore to read and work with. In contrast to this, we have a lot less to work with regarding the Ásynjur and what roles, if any, they play.
German folklore most strongly connects Frau Holda with the hunt. Many of the by-names recorded also make strong connections between Holda and Odin. Jacob Grimm speculated that Holda was a remembrance of Odin’s wife because of this connection. We also see Holda associated strongly with the distaff, a well known symbol of Frigg. In German folklore, Frau Holda rides as a leader of the Wild Hunt.
From a purely reconstructive perspective, it becomes difficult to argue that Frigg does ride in the hunt because we have a very serious lack of source material that would support such an argument. This requires us to rely heavily on non-Nordic sources, such as German folklore. This is, for me, fertile ground to plant all sorts of speculative ideas. It seems perfectly logical to me that Frigg, as Odin’s equal, has a proper place in leading the Furious Host on its nightly rides during the Yuletide. It even seems perfectly sensible to me that the otherwise “reserved” Ásynja would take on a state of ecstatic fury similar to that which Odin hunts in. I recall references to Frigg becoming furious regarding unfinished weaving and sewing come Yule, so it would seem reasonable to me that she is also capable of entering a state of enhanced Wode.
I must admit to being a believer that Frigg does ride at the head of the Furious Host, in a position of leadership due a goddess of her might and stature. I also believe that this is a time where we see the otherwise reserved and calm goddess demonstrate a different side of herself, one that we might all well know if we’ve ever made our own mothers angry to the point of rage or in times when a mother must protect her children. In all things, I see Frigg as Odin’s equal. As a leader of the Wild Hunt, she maintains that position of might and honor and is capable of equal fury when needed.
I do not see her as being quite as indiscriminate in her ride, however. What I see is a woman who practices precise and highly targeted hunting. Where the rest of the Furious Host rides with abandon, sweeping up all that cross its path, Frigg herself doesn’t waste effort on small targets, instead choosing to hunt prey that deserves her attention. In this way I see her more interested in trolls and ill-willing wights that target children. In her state of Wode-madness, she acts as an avenger of children, taking a pro-active role as protector of children rather than her more commonly seen shielding action.