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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Hunting as a Rite of Passage: I am so sorry, thank you for giving up your life.

In 19.. I attend a Battlefield Survival Course at the International Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol School (ILRRPS) in Southern Germany. It was one of them courses that changes your life, one that you will never forget. No more so when we were required to kill an animal for our food.

This was my first time killing an animal, and I found myself walking away from the group with my rabbit in my arms. I held my rabbit close to my heart and while stroking it I looked into its eyes and I asked it to forgive me, as I was about to takes its life. I found myself thanking it for giving up its life so that I may understand what it means to do such a thing and in order to help me survive if ever I found myself in that situation.

I walked away from the group because I did not want the others to hear me, in case they thought I was mad, but also I felt it was a personal and private moment between me and the rabbit. All this took place long before I knew what I know now.

Which is that we are all connected and there is a respectful and honourable way of taking a life in order that one can live.

Sometime after setting up Natural Pathways I wanted to show people how to do this as I felt it was really important. For me it is like a jig saw puzzle every piece represents a wilderness living skill, we are happy to show people how to trap and how to skin and gut but no, its not PC to show people how to kill.


Have you ever heard a rabbit cry out, even hard men wrench at the sound. I came in for a lot of flank for wanting to do this, eventually I was able to show people using dead animals, and what surprised me was how many vegetarians were up for the experience, perhaps because I really drove home the point that this was about respect and honouring the animal for giving its life, so that me may live.

What ever their reasons it turned out not to be so controversial after all and they had the option not to take part.

Why am I telling you this? Who knows I just felt it needed to be said.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Hunting as a Rite of Passage

In the past the when they were deemed ready elders would perhaps send the young bucks away from the village to go through their transition from Boys to Men my friend Will Lord once shared such a story with me, it went something like this.

It was time, time for him to leave, a bot of 13 years, he was taken to the edge of the encampment, there he was given a flint and told not to come back until his flint was a highly polished axe head which had to be fully functioning as an axe.

OK, so what, that should not take to long for a well trained person. But, lets think about this for a moment not only does he have to turn this stone into an axe but in the process he also needs to take care of himself. He must be aware of the dangers of the wild and how to move within nature, he would need to understand nature, that's what all the training was for, even when he played games with his friends, they were all designed to help prepare him for this day. But the ultimate test was now beginning.

First he needed to find shelter, maybe a cave to start with, who knows it all depends on the surrounding environment. If there is no cave then he would need to build a debris shelter, this would be a good place to start, he would need to protect himself from the elements, just as we do today when out shopping on sunning day and it starts to rain without thinking we naturally head for a doorway, this is part Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Fire would be next, then water and followed by food, but of course he would be aware of all these things at the same time, no to do so could result in survival being at risk, this would require a connection unlike any other, a spiritual connection to his natural world he is not separate from it but an integral part of it.

This connection we still have today, however, the modern world has removed us from this connection outwardly at least. Because once we return to nature suddenly we remember what we have always known and that is here we belong. I have seen big hard men melt at the sight of Merlin, (my Eagle Owl) without words there is an instant understanding.

And, so the young boy continues on his journey searching for food, moving when the time is right and the seasons dictate, understanding the animals around him learning from them, connecting to his inner self, that voice that helps to guide him as well and all the while the axe head is taking shape. he has learnt by know to lay successful traps ones that bring him food and before laying such traps which can be indiscriminate he asks that the animal give up its life so that he may live and in so doing he must also honouring the animal he traps, otherwise its life would have no meaning, he would be taking for the sake of taking without regard, does he take all ten eggs from the nest or does he only take what he needs to live and in so doing embraces the new life of the other eggs yet to come...

To be continued

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Asking Permission - Plant Meditation

What I tell you now is my truth and it may not be your truth, however I would like to ask you to keep an open mind, I ask you to trust and that you to take what you feel comfortable with and what you are not comfortable with just set it to one side, as with your beliefs, I ask that you also set these to one side for the purpose of reading this post, afterwards you can pick them up again.

Once while working with addicts, I ran a plant meditation session for which I was running late, so I ran into the garden to pick as many different plants as I could from Plantain through to Dandelion etc. Now normally I would ask the plant for permission to pick it, as I believe all things are individuals, for example no one tree is exactly the same just as with human beings, on this day I forgot to ask for permission.

After the guided part of the session was complete I asked each individual to share (if they wished) their experiences they had with the plant given to them.

As it happened on this occasion the first person to speak was immediately to my left (the feminine side) the first words spoken were “my plant is not happy that it has been killed” the next person in turn also said “yes my plant is p*%@#d off that it was pulled from the earth, surprise, surprise this theme continued for the next three people in turn, by which time I was getting the message.

“Stop I have a confession to make” I said.

I informed the group of the importance of asking permission before thinking or doing something, it is like if I came into your house or space without asking you, you would be very unhappy. I believe the plants were letting me know through the participants that I had not asked for their permission and instead of being annoyed with myself as I would have done in the past, I took this lesson and used it as a way of illustrating to the group how events can happen on an energetic level.

The sceptics present on that day found it hard to deny that five people in succession would be stating the same thing, and as such this raised many questions for them, which they attempted to seek the answers for what had happened from me. I encouraged them to process this for themselves before reaching out to others to give them the answers, which of course was only my truth; it was and is important that each person seeks their own truth.