Tracker School Scout Class

After listening to one of the trackerschool broadcasts this morning, I let the videos continue playing and saw this trailer from the scout class.  This is new in that I had never seen a trailer for scout class before so I thought I would share the link for anyone interested in one of the most intense and fun classes at Trackerschool where I spent a good 8 years as an avid physical class attendee and another two as an avid online atendee.  Below is the link:

I hope you enjoy getting a glimpse, and there are quite a few more online videos on youtube they have been making lately to watch.

"Tales of Power" a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.

“Tales of Power” a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.

Alone in the Woods : Part 2

Little Girl followed a ways behind Coyote, following his trail of trodden grass and scattered seeds.  The trail led her on a wander, turning this way and that, criss crossing other trails and roads, without time or destination, until the trail ended at a border of tall pine trees.  Little Girl cautiously approached, not sure which way Grandfather Coyote had gone.  She entered the woods.

Tall pitch pines were scattered naturally.  Little scrub oaks and blackjack oaks between, trying to reach up and touch the knees of the pines.  Here and there were pretty leaves of red maples fluttering in the breeze, with blueberry bushes and tiny wintergreen plants covering the ground.  ‘This is beautiful!’ she thought.

As she continued along a vague trail, she heard voices.  The further she went the louder the voices sounded until she saw three young boys chattering away.  The boys looked at her, smiling, and asked, “Are you following the coyote?”

“Yes,” she answered, looking from one boy to the other, “How did you know?”

They laughed.  “You’re on the path of the coyote!” they answered, ” We’re following him too!”  The boys were flooded with excitement.  Little Girl felt safe and happy and her excitement flowed with theirs.  She liked them immediately.  One of the boys, Little Seal, was used to adventure and knew about being in the woods.  Another boy, Little Trader, had traveled the world.  The third, Good With Numbers,  was following Grandfather Coyote because he, like Little Girl, was looking for something, but didn’t know what.

Little Girl walked with them, swapping rumors about Grandfather Coyote, feeling grateful for companionship.

Eventually they came to a large opening in the pines where they saw a whole pack of coyotes.  There were other children there too, cautiously entering the place and looking for Grandfather Coyote, but none of the children saw him.  The day was growing old, and before dark the children each wandered into the nearby woods to set up tents.

Little girl walked down various trails looking for an empty space.  She found a vacant patch of ground quite a ways from the coyote clearing, set up the tent she brought, and returned to the main camp where the evening fire had been lit.  Greetings and introductions lasted into the night as all the children met the young coyotes.  By full dark a storm had set in and fat raindrops began to fall.  The wind picked up and Little Girl left the warm fire to go to bed.

The trail to her tent was dark.  The little light she carried cast jumping shadows through the wet blueberry bushes that pressed against her and snatched at her arms and legs, catching her coat and pants as she pushed through.  The wind began to howl and in the growing darkness she could make out the tall pines swaying and menacing, as if in warning.  Little Girl felt small and alone as she hurried along, trying to be brave.  As she searched the trail, Little Girl worried she would not find her tent in the darkness. She searched each little side trail.  Shadows continued to jump in jerky, spooky movements as her light played off the branches along the trail.  The twigs of the bushes continued to grab at her.  Panic rose in her heart.

Finally, she released a long breath.  There was her tent.  Little Girl climbed in, crawled into her sleeping bag, and pulled the covers over her head, but that didn’t stop her from hearing the rain pound on her leaking roof.  That sleepless night was one of tossing, and listening.  ‘Are there coyotes running around my tent, playing tricks on me?’ she wondered, ‘Or does the rain sound like running feet?’  Little Girl peeked out into the darkness, over and over, to make sure she was alone.  Even so, the sounds she heard fooled her still and she could have sworn coyotes were running around and around her tent all night long.

To be continued . . .

Alone in the Woods : A Story About Relationships by Michele Ballantyne

One day Little Girl was sitting at her window, feeling hopeless and helpless, gazing outside across the dry, brown grass in her yard, to the sunny fields, ripe with seeds, when she saw Grandfather Coyote trot by on the edge of the golden grass.  Little Girl watched him, his tongue lolling out of his mouth, eyes twinkling, merrily passing, when she could swear she saw him wink and smile at her.

Coyote disappeared into the tall grass of the fields, and Little Girl wondered about him.

Day after day, when Little Girl went to her window, she saw Coyote trot by, and every day Little Girl could swear he winked at her.  Little Girl decided to follow Coyote.

Little Girl had never gone away from home alone before.  She was frightened at the thought, but Little Girl was tired of being alone in that house, feeling helpless and sad, so she packed her bag and prepared for an adventure.

Little Girl went to the window and saw Coyote trotting by, as usual.  Coyote winked and smiled at her, as usual.  Then, when Coyote wasn’t looking, she slipped out the open window and hurriedly tiptoed after him.

To be continued . . .

Camouflage Capture The Flag In the Dark Game

Who is that having so much fun?
You won’t see me tonight!

When I had a bunch of homeschool families over to play capture the flag in the dark, trackerschool style, I had fun demonstrating to the kids and adults how to use mud and oily charcoal to camouflage yourself for the game we were about to play.  ONE of the most fun parts of the night, for me, was the look on people’s faces when I dipped my hand into the coconut oil/charcoal mix and rubbed it across my face and shirt!  I should have gotten it in my hair too, that would have been even better.  I have to say, my face felt silky soft and smooth after I washed this mix off!

The BEST part of the night was, however, when one of the kids, a beaming boy of about 6, came up to me afterwards as we were cleaning up, and with a face as happy and shining as the sun, exclaimed to me with the utmost joy, his escapades of the evening!  His friend, who was about his same age, echoed every point, as he stood by adding his two cents when he could get a word in edgewise!  Unforgettable!

This past couple months, I was privileged to teach a group of 8 to 12 year olds at our homeschool group, Life Academy of Salem.  We had 9 enthusiastic students who loved learning to make fire with friction; a debris hut; cordage; a deadfall trap and a snare; hunting practice with bows and arrows (and a little pink stuffed bunny); making bowls with raku clay (and firing them in a campfire); awareness games; and hearing stories about my teacher, Tom Brown Jr. and his best friend Rick, as they learned from their mentor, an Apache Scout named Stalking Wolf.

I hope I get to share these fun skills, and more, again next school year!

Kids and Bows and Arrows!

In 2010 the kids and I attended Rick Berry’s 4 Element Earth Education class in Northern  California, and had a great time.  Rick is one of the original people in charge of Coyote Tracks, an appendage of Tom Brown Jr.’s Trackerschool, in New Jersey.   One of the activities the kids liked best was hunting each other with little “quickie bows” Rick made for them out of branches and other items (see above photos).  The great thing about the bows he made was that they were kid safe because they had spongy rubber balls on the tips of the arrows for safety, in case the kids actually hit one another.

In the homeschool class I have been teaching, I made similar bows and arrows for the kids to play with.  I used cherry limbs I had pruned off our cherry trees in February for the bows, and cedar for the arrows.  I cut up the end of a pool noodle and hot glued the tips of the arrows into little holes I made in the spongy material of the noodle pieces (I found out later, though, the little rubber spongy balls would have been better if I could have found some because the pool noodle material isn’t strong enough to hold up under multiple hits).  The fletching I made with packing tape, shaped and cut to be like feather fletching.  I used paracord for the string.  I learned to wear leather gloves while notching the ends of the bows . . . because I cut myself not following knife safety rules making the awkward angled notches.  That was a lesson for the kids too, even the grown ups get cut when they don’t follow the safety rules.  The kids in my class were in a church parking lot, and after chasing each other around with their bows for awhile, I had the kids hide in the bushes around the edges of the church property, then I came along with a stuffed bunny dragged behind me on a cord for them to try to shoot.  It was more than some of them could to to stay hidden.  When they missed the bunny some couldn’t help  wanting to chase after me, shooting over and over!  It was a little chaotic trying to keep them in their places as I moved from one hidden student to the next down the bunny trail.

It was a good lesson in how much practice it takes to get good with a bow, besides just being a lot of fun!