Written by Phil Brown, Badger Bushcraft Wednesday, 05 January 2011 11:34
Phil Brown founder and head instructor of Kent based Outdoor Education Centre Badger Bushcraft explains how the name for the school came from a Shamanic Journey with Sarah Howcroft.
In response to a thread on Outdoor Blogger Network we thought it would be interesting to explain how Badger Bushcraft found its name or rather how the badger found Phil.
In 2007 I was fortunate to have met and trained with Sarah Howcroft. Sarah is an accomplished Bushcraft Instructor and Shamanic Healer and somebody I am very fortunate to hold as a dear friend. Sarah facilitates a host of healing and life experiences via her website Wilderness Spirit. During the a week long session in the woods Sarah lead a Shamanic Journey and I was fortunate to;experience the opportunites offered by Sarah's shamanic methods.
I recall a group of approximately sixteen adults sat in a circle around the fire in mixed broad leaf woodland during a gloriously bright and warm autumnal afternoon and it was here that Sarah helped me to discover my Power Animal and Spirit Guide.
I won’t go into detail about my journey as it was a very powerful and personal experience. Suffice to say that the experience was a very natural, yet somehow an other-worldly experience – somewhat like removing the veil of the modern world and seeing The Nature with ancient eyes.
Soon into the Journey my experience began to develop from being a “remote viewer” to being very much inside and involved with the experience. As we progressed my mind’s eye I began to “leap-ahead” of where Sarah was taking us, but each leap was later confirmed in Sarah’s narration. There was no element of fear or danger in this experience for me and I felt so very at ease and comfortable that I let the experience develop without conscious effort or force of will.
At the core of the Journey I met my Power Animal and Spirit Guide – the badger (Meles meles) and this experience continued to develop; the only way I can describe it is from initially seeing and “meeting” the badger I then became the badger in the place Sarah had lead me to. I was walking through the Shamanic landscape at the same height as a badger with an attuned sense of being; I was able to feel at one with The Nature around me and more part of it as I have felt before or since.
It was a very surreal yet natural, harmonious, spiritually uplifting and, in reflection, unsurprising conclusion to the Journey leaving me wrapped in a bubble of such peace and warmth that the feelings and experience are still very tangible some three years or so later.
I have always had a love of the indigenous wildlife of the British Isles, especially the badger. The stolen glimpses from my childhood when badgers had been caught in the beam of my parent’s cars headlights, seeing the huge earth works of their setts or finding tufts of badger hair caught on the wire of fences whilst out on country walks had always been such a magical experience. It was only in my adult life that I started to sit out to watch badgers or even on exceptionally dark nights to just sit and listen to them going about their woodland business.
As my field-craft skills developed I was able to get closer and observe the badger for longer, the memories are still so very vivid, powerful and very much cherished, though none as powerful as sharing my son’s first badger watching experience whilst working in a stunning woodland site in West Sussex, where he saw his first Brock along with an erythristic badger he christened “White Dave” an experience I know he will treasure and hopefully share with his own children.
As we have past the Winter Solstice and are now on the path to Spring, with new life and the awakening of life that is dormant, I shall look forward to spending more time in the local landscape exploring The Nature and certainly watching my friend, Power Animal and Spirit Guide - the badger.