To seek these one-horned legends is no ordinary chase:
Souls are changed and minds transformed for those who run this race!

Hunting unicorns is not, and never has been, an ordinary pursuit. For thousands of years it was the province of kings and noblemen, for the Unicorn, in so many ways, represents perfection. From his wondrous beauty and grace to his speed and strength; the many spiritual virtues associated with him and the magical powers of his horn; these signified that in pursuing a unicorn one is not hunting a mere animal, but hunting perfection: to seek a unicorn is to seek to better oneself.

That a unicorn is not a normal hunt is evident in woodcuts and tapestries going back hundreds of years. The hunting party does not wear the concealing greys and browns of normal hunting garb. They deck themselves in colourful finery with much pageantry. Just as modern-day fox-hunting is much more concerned with the ceremony and appearance than actually catching a fox, so a Unicorn Hunt is more of a ceremony. It was freely acknowledged in fact, that the unicorn could not be caught in such a fashion. It was known, as the hunt went gaily out into the forest, that the quarry would not be caught: the hunt was a ceremony. It was symbolic of chasing excellence, of striving for perfection, whilst at the same time acknowledging that mortal man cannot actually achieve perfection: so he cannot catch a Unicorn.

To actually catch the beast, more subtlety was required. It was said that the Unicorn would only suffer the presence of those pure of heart – in other words a creature as innocent as the Unicorn itself. It long ago became widely believed that men quickly lost their innocence, but that women preserved the quality for far longer, and so it soon became established lore that to bait a Unicorn, a young woman –even a child-was needed. Christianity adopted the legend, and because sexual union was held to be inherently sinful, the formula altered subtly: it was necessary for the young woman to be a virgin, unknown by any man. The Unicorn could evidently scent whether this be so or not, for woe betide the woman who tempted the unicorn falsely – there exist legends where the Unicorn has slain such pretenders.

The odd thing about this progression is this: before Christianity took over the legend, it would have been perfectly possible for a good-hearted mother of six children to seek and find a unicorn. After Christianity was finished with changing the Unicorn into an allegory to suit its own ends, then anyone who was no longer a virgin was made to feel, at least in some way, that they truly were no longer innocent. Innocence, after all, is the state of never having acted in any way you feel to be wrong. So even if the Unicorn is completely oblivious to sexual virginity, a Christian woman who had lain with a man would never be an innocent again. Thus Christianity invented a quality that soon came to be the truth. Such is life.

That a Unicorn can be tricked into skewering a tree, thereby entrapping himself, has no validity.
You could try it, but please tell your loved ones where to send the flowers first.

So how does one hunt such a beast, in these days of roads and housing estates, cars and computers, scorn and scepticism? Is hunting the Unicorn a fool's errand? But then, didn't Shakespeare say, "Better a witty fool than a foolish wit?" Perhaps there is something better about those who Believe and Love, than those who don't, and scorn.

You will not walk into a forest and pat him like a New Forest pony. Unicorns aren't like that. They are secret and subtle. They can travel by ways not only invisible to us but sometimes inconceivable by us.

Where there is ugliness, and we aren't speaking about Quasimodo-ugly here.

Where the world is poisoned and trampled beneath concrete and pollution.

Where people have no time to appreciate wonder, or beauty.

Where violence is rife, and respect for others is scorned.

Where death and disease hold sway.

Where life is a throw-away commodity.

Go somewhere wild and remote – a forest, a desert, moorland or prairie. Take nothing that might distract you: leave behind the cell phone and the GPS. Wear casual, comfortable clothing, preferably not leather or fur. Wear no scent but your own. Let your thoughts be your own – drink and drugs repel your quarry. Stand and listen, and let the atmosphere permeate you. Forget the trivial concerns of human existence and feel what matters: the life around you; the movement of the air; the scent of the ground. Feel, and Believe. You might feel nothing, or you may feel moved by your surroundings. Don't let nature humble you: acknowledge that you are a part of it and take pride in that belonging. Feel. Believe. In such a way might you sense the presence of a Unicorn. A presence at once bold and timid; ancient and youthful; full of wisdom and naive as a child. Seldom seen and never heard, he will nuzzle at your soul. Don't seek to touch him or possess him. Acknowledge that you have been noticed by a Wonder. You have found the Unicorn.

Find some place secret and wonderful. It doesn't have to be truly secret or concealed. There are many such places and they exist in the unlikeliest of locations. That list above – where not to look for Unicorns? Sometimes, unsuspected in the worst places in the world, are tiny oases of magic: where someone has sculpted a little shrine of beauty. A secluded corner in a place of worship. A folly, overgrown and forgotten. A thirteen-year-old girl's bedroom, with walls covered in unicorn art and so many one-horned figurines on the shelves that even the dust feels crowded out. Amidst the shelves of an old bookshop. Caves. The centre of a maze. Sometimes a place won't feel right all the time, but there will be Moments. You'll sense the presence sharing your wonder, and drinking it in. You'll feel moved, in a deeply profound but somehow tranquil fashion. You have found the Unicorn.

In your soul. If you can find one nowhere else, you can find one there. In Michael Green’s book, Unicornis, it speaks of unicorns who are ethereal and unseen, able to enter thought and dream. It takes a certain mood. Tranquility, reverence and wonder are attractive to them. An act of creation may summon them: drawing, or sculpture, writing or song, provided that the seeker's heart is in what he or she is doing. The quality of the result does not matter; only that the soul is taking quiet pleasure in the work. Sit back and relax to soothing music, or meditate on a candle-flame: drowse before an open fire. Do you feel as if something is sharing your senses? You have found the Unicorn.