Reminding us that all Life-eats-Life to Live.
This year we were very pleased to have master hunter, Don Carlson offer many years of expertise as a Hunter and Teacher. Also new this year, our Life-for-Life ceremony included 4 training conference calls held every 2 weeks during the months of September and October. During the off weeks, the Seekers were given “homework” assignments to spend time in the woods gradually training their ability to listen the way a hunter needs to listen. Initally, there were 9 Seekers, but as the training unfolded, scheduling conflicts caused all but 3 Seekers to step away for this year. This is not unusual, as few People are aware of the time commitment needed to prepare oneself for the sacred hunt.
The chicken harvest (Nov 1-2) was coordinated to proceeded the archery deer hunt (Nov 3-5) so that new hunters could have the important experience of taking the life of an animal up-close-and-personal, before venturing into the more emotionally and logistically complex and impactful deer hunt. All 3 of our Seekers participated in the chicken harvest, and 1 Seeker remained for the deer hunt. (Read notes of their experiences from our Ceremony Debrief below.)
Next Year 2015 Life-for-Life Ceremony Schedule
September 13 & 27; October 11 & 25 – 4 training conference calls
October 16-18, 2015 – Chicken Harvest
October 25-Nov 1, 2015 – Archery Deer Hunt
Ceremony Debrief December 16, 2014 – 7pm Conf Call
- Global overview – what have you noticed about what you expected this ceremony experience to be like vs your Past – Present (what, if anything has shifted) – Future (what do you see yourself doing in relationship to this ceremony experience?
- Ceremony Experience – What worked well? What could be done differently?
- Appreciation Round
Round 1. Overview
StarSinger – Past: felt right to be part of the ceremony. Felt pulled to it with no expectations.
Present: it was emotional and difficult. Became so aware of Life, Beauty & Mystery. Felt the responsibility as a predator. Felt gratitude and sorrow for the chickens. I knew when it was time for me to be done with my part in the ceremony. I had the sensation of Big Aliveness! I prepared my chicken for Thanksgiving meal with my family.
Future: Big change in my around awareness of my food. More respect. Considering becoming a vegetarian. May or may not repeat the ceremony. Holding the question: “If I can’t kill a chicken – then what?”
BearWoman – Past: went into the ceremony thinking it would not be difficult for me as I had experience of hunting and trapping.
Present: When I held the chickens they relaxed, and I noticed ho ready and willing they were for their giveaway. I also noticed how the eyes of the chicken were just like the eyes of my pet parrot. Both of my chickens took a long time to die. I deeply felt this as a healing gift as the people in my life who have died have gone quickly without my presence. My chickens gave the time to be with them and witness. It was easy for me to skin the chickens. This felt familiar. On my drive home, I felt sooo horrible – “I really took a Life!” And it was difficult for me to eat my chicken – but the flesh tasted so full of Life the I didn’t need to eat much.
Future: Now I am very conscientious about my food. Is it fresh? I found a local butcher shop – ‘The Conscious Carnivor’ where they do all killing in house in a good way. Everyone raved about my chicken lasagna! This ceremony will work me for a long time. The constant question in my mind is: “How alive is my food?”
StillLance: Past: I knew this ceremony was something I want to do. I had done the chicken ceremony one time before, and have hunted before. I would like to find a way to personally harvest all of the meat I and my family eats.
Present: Killing the chickens was not hard for me as I know that is their purpose for having been raised.
Future: The sense of predator has become very strong and instinctual within me. I have an internal knowing that this is right for me, even though I have several friends who do not share this understanding and are completely against hunting and killing for food. Nothing makes me feel more alive than having a deer come into bow shooting range! I appreciate knowing everything about the meat I kill and eat. This knowing completes an important life circuit for me.
Round 2. Ceremony Design
StarSinger – appreciated the 4 training conference calls and home work which lead up the actual ceremony. The calls eased me into the ceremony, and without them it would have been too impactful and I wouldn’t have gotten as much out of the ceremony because it would have emotionally shut down.
I like that the chicken harvest was integrated with the deer hunt, as it was important for me to hear about the predator concept needed in hunting.
I appreciated the Purification Lodge (sweat) as it made the whole ceremony feel more sacred and deeper. I also appreciated that we cooked and ate some of our fresh chicken. That felt very important to do. I also appreciate this debriefing as it brings the ceremony full circle and brings a soft landing closure to a very impactful experience.
Do Differently: maybe have the conference calls earlier as I fell asleep once.
BearWoman – I appreciated the flow and the design of the ceremony and thought it went well. I was at first uncomfortable with taking my chickens for a walk with the twine leash around their legs, but once I stopped and just sat with them, they were very calm and relaxed. It became very clear to me that they knew what this ceremony was all about and they were willing to do their part.
Do Differently: after the Lodge it would have been good to have more wood as the fire was low and I got chilled. Also, wondering about the use of dry cedar on the hot stones – it got really smoky for a while.
StillLance – I appreciated the flow of the ceremony. I love the Lodge. The whole experience felt deeply honoring of all of Life for me.
Do Differently: it would be good to have an equipment list for what is needed for the Lodge as I made several trips back to the Barn for needed missing items.
Round 3 – Appreciation of the People
Everyone was deeply appreciative of our mutual willingness to enter into this “currently lost realm” of Life-for-Life cycle of reality that in an inherent and essential part of our Creation and daily Lives.
The Seekers were deeply grateful to Don for his life-time commitment to the sacred hunt and his generous willingness to share that experience with anyone who asks.
The Seekers were deeply grateful to RedHeart for his commitment to make this ceremony experience accessible to the People and for beautiful land in his care for which makes it all possible.
The Teachers, Don and RedHeart were deeply grateful for the willingness, courage and natural wisdom of the Seekers in stepping into this rarified realm of Life-for-Life.