It was over thirty years ago that my world was blown open by two of my earliest role models and mentors. Jonah and Watie were two brothers who lived and taught at the Ancient Lifeways Institute in southern Illinois run by their father John Five Bears White. Jonah (a play on the Cherokee word "Yonah" meaning bear) and Watie (Cherokee for "Warpaint") were the big brothers and crazy uncles I never had and didn't know I needed.
Besides being powerful football players and the people who introduced me to lifting weights and many ancestral skills, the two were consummate "scouts of the forest". They led me and a group of my high school peers on various adventures through the woods near their home. The two of them knew the land like the back of their hand and seemingly could disappear at will. Besides learning more common survival skills like friction fire, cordage, and shelter making from them and their father, Jonah and Watie also opened my mind to the importance of a whole other set of skills including reading the landscape, paying attention to the birds, how to move silently, the importance of being still and silent inside and out for long periods of time, and unlocking your inner knowing and intuition.
In the modern world of survival skills, so often the emphasis is (understandably) on how to stay alive in extreme conditions. There are countless books written about the basic four: shelter, warmth, water, and food. This is a welcome addition to our overly digitized existence.
But, there's a whole other side to survival, a shadow side if you will, that very little has been written about...and that's about to change.
Starting this fall, I will be embarking on a multi-faceted project to unveil and unlock this shadow side of survival and the way of the scout. Don't worry I plan to bring all of you along for the ride! Big announcements are coming...but, I can say for now there is a book in the works, I am looking for an artist to work with, and a Kickstarter will launch to help fund and make all of this happen.
What would you like to see included in this project? Let me know by commenting below or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay tuned and stay aware!