Folk religion preserves elements from a very old religion disseminated together with rituals connected with agriculture. B.Hrozny has proved the existence of a common vocabulary for the ingredients of beer brewing in the languages of ancient Egypt, Sumeria and Accad. It is also possible to prove the existence of a common iconography centered round the “big hunter”. (In prehistoric Susa, Egypt, Assyria, Shumer and Mohenjo Daro in the Indus valley.) The big hunter is pictured as a strong man grabbing two lions by their throats, dressed in a kilt or naked with a broad belt.
In the oldest city of inner Anatolia dug out by James Mellaart at Catal Hüyük (6-5 000 B.C.) the walls of the temples show the ritual hunt for the divine bull. The bull is hunted and killed by men with leopard’s skins fastened to their belts. In fact, they are men who, in the ecstasy of hunting and killing, are being changed into leopards. This ideology – man into leopard or wolfes – is important and is also seen in later Dionysos-cult where the maenad is the hunting panther, in Akk. nimru, conf. the name of the great hunter in the Bible, Nimrod.
Some of the hunters are without a head and in two colours: white and red. In our opinion they are the deceased souls also participating in the “wild hunt”.
Geo Widengren has dealt with old Indo-European warrior religion, where the young men during battle are changed into wolves, are naked with only a leather belt and are often led by a Harlequin-figure with his characteristic patch-work coat or suit and with the high pointed clown’s hat. Their wild ecstatic madness is called asma. In India Indra’s pack of helping spirits are ismin.
This patchwork suit is in my opinion not so much an Indo-European invention, as it is also found in Etruscan religion as the suit of the hunter. He is the killer, the god of death. His coat symbolizes the fusing together of different colours into the mystic one (cf that the dead spirits in Catal Hüyük are of two colours, white and red). Duality changed into one is ecstatic ideology. (“White” here stands for woman, “red” for man.)
The army of dead demons rushing through the air in the night is a phenomenon also known in Sanscrit texts: Rudra with the Maruts. Rudra being the hunter.
The “wild hunt” has changed from ritual hunt for the wild bull (man into leopard) to warrior ideology (man into wolf) to the nightly army of ghosts. The ritual hunt for the ibex with throwing-sticks is still preserved in South Arabia.
When Baal in Ugarit during the hunt is turned into the victim in the end, this is also a characteristic development of the “great hunter motif”. We also find it with Dionysos, who is the leader of a pack of demons, the keres, the satyrs (the horse-tails of the satyrs show they are part of the demon-horse symbolism) from the underworld, but is himself torn up by the Titans. Also Adonis is both hunter and victim. The name of Dionysos Zagreus is composed of Za(s) & Agreus = “hunter”. Mithras hunts the divine bull followed by his servants changed into demonic animals: black raven, snake and lion. He has the characteristic hat also worn by the death god of the Etruscans (a people coming from Western Anatolia), a variant of the pointed mitre worn by Baal~Resheph in Byblos. The gods of folk religion are killed during a hunt: Adonis, Attis in Anatolia (acc.to Herodot), Osiris found by Seth during a hunt and chopped up.
The hunter is the death-god leading the army of spirits, cf. the old German notion of “Wutanes her” (the army of Woden/Odin). Woden is the leader of the wild hunt, and this function goes together with his name “Wut” = madness.
J.de Moor has stressed Baal's role as the raiser of the dead spirits and the element of spiritualism in Ugarit religion in his recent translation of the main texts. The poem CTA 12 describing Baal hunting in the desert and the “devourers” (´aklm) burning him, killing him in the shape of a steer, is the description of the old ritual hunt & the demons killing the divine bull to free the living waters.
Acc to Geo Widengren, the Indo European men’s societies are the beginning of organized Indo European society. The beginning of society in Anatolia is the early, highly organized cult of the temples of Catal Hüyuk, an ecstatic cult, obviously closely connected with the mystical life fluid contained in a sacramental drink. The Halaf-culture following the Catal Hüyük culture has produced very beautiful bowls of clay marked at the bottom with the mystical rosette or cross. Also in Halaf we find the bull as a symbol, often reduced to the horns on a high pole. The late descendant of this religiosity is the mysteries of Mithras, a men's society surrounding the sacred killing of the bull and the drinking of wine in secret caves situated under the earth.
Odin is the god of the ecstasy of war and killing, followed “von dem Wütischen Heer”. Wodan id est furor (Adam of Bremen). This ecstasy is clearly seen as demonic, and “wuetunde her” can also be used about the mob killing Jesus. In Byblos it is an ecstasy changing man into a drinking and killing animal. Tacitus writes about the Harii, a Teutonic tribe, that they attack, armed with black shields, and with painted bodies, choosing the night for fight to look like a ghost-army, feralis exercitus. In his article "Feralis Exercitus", L.Weniger takes us from the harii back to Zagreus which he rightly translates “the great hunter”, and up to a German cavalry troop from the 17th century called "invincible", riding on black horses in black clothes with black “Totenkopf” on the helmet. Frederic the Great of Prussia had a regiment of “Totenkopfhusaren”. From this there is a rather direct line to the black SS uniforms with “Totenkopf”.
There is a strong likeness, almost identity, between the iconography of prehistoric Susa, Crete, Egypt and the Mohenjo Daro culture along the Indus-river.
We have found a god who is more demon than god. He is the big hunter, a killer-type, often with a lion’s head or being the lord of lions, a man with whom one unites when the snake power is raised. See the picture of a coiled snake with a lion’s head, and on its chest the mystical rosette.
But also the bull-man is known from many prehistoric and early historic cultures. We know him as Pan from Greek iconography, and both Indian and Mesopotamian pictures show him as androgynous. He has very long hair & female breasts. We meet him in the Gilgamesh-epos as Enkidu: when he meets the harlot, his male thinking is aroused, and he loses androgynous strength. Now androgyny is a very important symbol in Indian tantra. We have tried to prove that it is just as important to Near Eastern ecstatic ideology.
We have brought our patient reader back to a Near Eastern cult of great antiquity, full of much darkness, and very conscious in its choice of its demonic features. It is the kind of mystical religion widely dispersed in the Far East under the name of Tantra, and its god is a god/goddess of pestilence, fire, hunting dogs and hosts of demons. In its Near Eastern form (Nergal, Resheph, Seth) he is the forerunner of the devil (especially in his darkest aspect as Molok). He is seldom seen as the Highest God. He is identical with the lion seen on so many Phoenician coins killing the bull or stag, symbol of the Highgod, the god of vegetation and life giving water, the god of great, created nature. As the guardian of animals the Highgod is often seen as a shepherd. The great theme of nature is played out between these two: the guardian of animals, the good shepherd and the killer of animals, the great hunter.
 Gen 11
 Die Religionen Irans, pp.23-26. “Harlekintracht und Mönchskutte, Clownhut und Derwischmütze”, Orientalia Suecana, II 1953, pp.41-111
 S.Wikander, Der arische Männerbund, 1938, pp.58-60
 O.Höfler, “Der germanische Totenkult und die Sagen vom Wilden Heer”, Oberdeutsche Zeitschrift für Volkskunde, 10, 1936, pp.33-49.
 Die Relg. Irans, p.26
 Geiler von Kaisersberg, see L.Weniger in ARW 9, 1906, p.22
 J.Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie 2, 766
 ARW 9