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

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

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