The Elder Scrolls – Hircine

Huntsman, and Father of Manbeasts, Hircine is the Daedric Prince associated with the Hunt, the Sport of Daedra, the Great Game (not to be confused with the one in Orlais), and the Chase.  His plane of Oblivion is the Hunting Grounds, and those who are blessed (or cursed) with a were-form dwell on this plane after death.  Hircine is not mentioned in the early histories of Nirn, and some believe that this means he is not one of the original Daedric Princes.  However, he is the creator of lycanthropy, and as weres have existed in record since the Mythic Era, he is assumed to have existed long before.

Hircine’s passion is the Hunt, and he enjoys giving his prey a sporting chance.  This is evident in the story of the Bloodmoon Prophecy: every era, Hircine appears on Mundus to lead a Great Hunt, and his Hounds and quarry vary from era to era.  Each time this occurs, the quarry is given some way to escape death; in 3E 427, the Nerevarine was able to escape death by navigating a maze and killing the Hunter.  Of course, no one is certain as to whether the Nerevarine was meant to be Hound or Prey.  It is also said that every time the Blood Moon appears in the sky it signals that Hircine is hunting.

Hircine is one of those gods (again, I am not telling a Daedric Prince that they are not a god) that operates from a fluid moral perspective…in as much as I can claim to understand the moral framework of any divine being.  I’d describe him as harsh but fair; embodying the Hunt as he does means he is part of the endless cycle of life and death, and that his actions are in service to the Hunt itself.  Morality in the sense of the Hunt (again, as far as I understand it) means seeing it through to an end rather than leaving it unfinished and not flinching from what must be done regardless of what it is.  Then, too, I suspect that part of the joy of the Chase relates to having to be completely in the present – there is no planning, there is no history, there is only flow.

It is my belief that Hircine makes a good patron for hunters and athletes, but also for those who use their wiles outside traditional hunting activities.  I, for example, am neither a hunter nor an athlete, but have a love for the Chase just the same – for me, the Chase usually involves wit and guile rather than strength or speed.  I have no compunction about going in to get what I want most of the time but were I feeling tentative I think calling on Hircine for help makes sense.  I also think that it would be good to call on Hircine when overloaded with feeling or emotion that is focused on past action; he, I imagine, would be quite good at helping to pull oneself back to the present to focus on what is happening now.

(In retrospect, I wish I’d thought of calling on Hircine when I was trying to work past some old injuries that were following me around.  I ended up coming to a place of “They did the best they could, even if it didn’t meet my needs” through therapy rather than through him, but I wonder if it would’ve been beneficial.)

For those interested in worshiping Hircine outside of a Tamrielic perspective, I suggest offerings of hunted things.  One could go traditional and offer fur, or feathers, or game (meat, fowl, or fish), especially if obtained through hunting or fishing, but I also think objects obtained through non-traditional hunting would also be appropriate.  For example, I’ve long been looking for specific pieces of Stangl thistle-pattern pottery, and if I worshiped Hircine it would feel very appropriate to me to use one or more pieces on his shrine as either offering dishes or offerings.

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One response to “The Elder Scrolls – Hircine

  1. I love the hunter mentality. There is something very both focused and freeing about being so in the now that thought floats away. I think it is a very situational thing though, if you get stuck in that mindset it makes some things very hard.

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