Sacred Feminine &
Sacred Masculine

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Masculine Rite of Passage
By NorthernWolf

Native American Rock Art Petroglyphs-Great Hunt Panel at Nine Mile Canyon, UT

I was considering putting this in the walk your talk forum but I figured it could be approached from the point of view of this forum and that would make it even more interesting and who knows, maybe shape my focus or my perspective of things to come.

Now before I get started I must warn you, the reader, that some of you may not agree with what I will be doing. You have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine regarding this. Now what is this 'THIS' J . Well I have taken a hunting course this September and I am going hunting for the first time in my life next week. I have taken 6 weeks of work so I could do that and rest of course and also, hopefully put some things into perspective.

The reason I have put this in the masculine forum is that for some odd reason, I kind of feel a rite of passage in this. I don't know the how, the why and all the details but I feel it could be a terrific experience. Now I don't even know if I'm going to like it or not ( I think I will on some level ) but there is an experience for me there for sure. If you put aside the killing part, I feel that this is an occasion to have such a deep communion with nature as you have to become part of it completely, be a predator, and that has to connect you to it in a different way than when you are just having a stroll through the woods.

Like I said, I feel there is a rite of passage in a way that could be experienced through this. Hunting as always been a male activity and has a lot of rituals associated with it. If I'm not mistaken, its often used as a way to signify ones passage into manhood ( adulthood ). In a way it comes at a fitting time since I have been asking myself a lot of questions regarding that and I felt ( feel ) that I have difficulties taking that step. I feel I’m lacking bearings. Who knows that may just be the step I needed.

Furthermore, I have a lot of predatory totems, I cannot help but thinking that this could be a chance to have a unique experience with one or more of them as I would experience something that is so important in their daily lives.

I'm starting with small game so it’s not exactly what Wolf eats but still I can imagine how it would feel to merge with him and share his sense of the surrounding wilderness while stalking through the woods.

Maybe I'm being a bit romantic about all of this but these are some of the things I'm anticipating.

I actually just started to think about all of that today and I hadn't even considered this before as something that might have some significance to the masculine approach. The more I think about it know though ( and I’ll do a little searching on the web on different cultures and approach to hunting to see if I can’t learn more ) the more it fits.

I just want to reassure those that have read this far, that I'm not doing this for the thrill of the kill. I enjoy game meat very much and find it better than anything that can be found in the supermarket and if I can substitute a part of my diet with meat that I was actually able to go out and get myself instead of buying manufactured meat, well I feel good about that. But I also think it's the whole experience with nature because even if you don't kill, you have spent the entire day attuning yourself with your surroundings, to the sound, the sights , the smells and that in itself it’s pretty amazing stuff. I'm just saying this because I know hunting can be a sensitive issue.

I would agree with you very much that this sounds like a male rite of passage. I know that for my boys, who are obviously much, much, younger than you, the permission to carry and use a knife while we were camping this summer was HUGE for them and impacted their lives in ways that still show today. For them, it was a rite of passage too. I think that a rite of passage is ultimately done in Nature. Skills are perhaps learned inside our institutions, inside our human-made walls and constructs, but these practiced skills are tested in the largest force we know around us - Life. To use those skills with integrity and discernment, with the correct use of power and humility IS a test to how that man perceives himself in this world.

I don't think that a bunch of young men going out into the woods, filled with beer and bearing rifles or other guns, haphazardly and randomly shooting at things that move just to prove their masculinity to the others is a rite of passage. I don't think that shooting as many animals as you can on a single day to prove your prowess or to get as much money as possible from it is a rite of passage. I don't think that killing eagles for their talons and feathers, cougars for their teeth and claws and bears for their pelts, teeth and claws is a rite of passage. These are all done to prove something to some other perceived greater force outside themselves, for status or money.

The rite of passage lies within tapping into Self, understanding the balance between power given and power taken. I can imagine your excitement in this and I wish you a deep and meaningful and lasting experience in this.

Thanks Mouse, this resonated a lot with me: “To use those skills with integrity and discernment, with the correct use of power and humility IS a test to how that man perceives himself in this world.”

And I can relate to your boys too. carrying a rifle, something that is extremely dangerous if not handled properly requires a certain level of responsibility. I'm not too fond of responsibility, I like to be free of as many of them as possible lol. But now with this, I have a responsibility even when not hunting if that firearm is stored at my house. But that’s one part of all of this. For the rest I can’t foresee what will come of this if anything comes but I do believe it could change the perception of myself in a certain way.

Sage Napala:
This is a huge rite of passage. I think you will do well with your outlook...be a good and true shot.

I am a woman and was taught along with my brothers how to handle a knife and a gun/rifle. I am a crack shot and taught my children...a boy and a girl and both are also wonderful marksman. They have a respect for the weapons and what power they hold and what we as humans can do with them.

They tried to hunt and though the son likes the small game hunting, he found the large game not to his liking. He is a softer spirit and one with nature. His totem is the large Cat so he hunts as do they. My daughter tried and did not like it at all, her totems are the grass eaters...horse. I respect this in them.

I do not hunt and only shoot to protect or prevent suffering. They all know to pray before the kill, thank Spirit for the bounty, ask forgiveness and give thanks to the one who died and all things killed are eaten. I remember a BB gun time in the beginning and a friend asked my son how many sparrows he'd shot. Very seriously he said none, not ever...I would make him eat them and their wee spirits would be unhappy with him always. He is a good boy...I should say man, he will be 18 soon.

Spirit gave them to us to honor, admire and love but also to eat when needed. If there is no waste you do honor to the spirit of the animal. We waste none of it. My doberchild can eat only venison and so she gets it each year....I thank the beautiful ones who give up their lives so she may live, but I cannot shoot them...another does this but I do the prayers and honors along side them. It is the least I can do for them.

I wish you greatness on your hunt.

I agree with everything Mouse said too, my friend. There is the warrior aspect of the hunt, the stalking, the proving to oneself that you are capable of fulfilling an important mission. There needs to be prayer (in the Native tradition) offered prior to the hunt for a good hunt and a clean kill to the spirit of the species you are hunting (one or more). There then needs to be thanks given after the hunt for that success. In order for that to happen you will have to become one with Nature and the environment. Your senses will come into play and I cannot see how you could avoid it not being a sensory and spiritual experience. You're out of your element in a foreign environment and if you 'want' this to be a rite of passage for you, if you're sensing that it is, you'll find Nature embraces that.

We can have formal rites of passage or natural ones. The first shaman did not have anyone to initiate that role for them other than Spirit and Mother sending a Spirit Helper to do it or instigating the elements of life to do so. I have had both experiences as I moved through the years and one is not greater than another. I have a fondness for what unfolds in the natural format, there's something so mystical about it and that's an effortless experience in the sense that it just happens to us. It's beautiful and you know I wish that for you as you venture into this.

I believe that you would not have this feeling of potential coming over you like this if you weren't to watch for that...perhaps stalk the rite of passage as much as you stalk your prey? And in that role of predator too, you step into something foreign to your experiences up until now so that's bound to have an impact.

Killing, well if we kill with honor to eat I see nothing wrong with it. Even processed meat at the grocery store is the result of a kill, and I've been through the slaughter houses, there's nothing sacred about them. It's mass extermination. Far different from a clean kill, the animals are under great stress going in. They do it mercifully as they can I guess, it's been years for me and it may well have gotten better but it turned my stomach to see the process. I was a little girl then and my Uncle Selmer was a foreman there so he 'treated' us to the experience. Not much of a treat in my eyes at the time but I understand it was necessary to provide meat for the masses. Not everyone has it in them to pull that trigger. I do not support what I call 'joy killing' for trophy reasons or sport. A waste of life is senseless to me. For food and if this is to be a spiritual transformation for you (which is very likely) then I see nothing wrong with it.

You become the hunter, but you become the warrior too -- the skills are the same when it comes to prey. Your whole being is involved. You're alone with Nature and the Land itself or it's Nature Spirits could well commune with you too. There's so much potential in all this for you. I do hope you'll share either way when you return and I wish you all the best with this experience.

P.S. I do think this is something very appropriate for this forum and I'm going to ask a friend of ours to come address this when he has time.

Jimmy WhiteBear:
There was a time when a young man (teenager) was sent out into the wilderness to hunt and vision quest. Hunting was for survival and now, for what appears to be most men, learning to connect with the Earth mother is secondary to the hunt. When I go out into the wilderness and find beer cans and food wrappers, worm containers and styrofoam dunkin' donuts coffee containers Spent shotgun shells etc., I can only see fools that have little if no respect for the earth. I am not against unt but I am not a hunter. I have learned to track our fourlegged friends to learn about them. When I go out, I carry only a knife, the knife is for self protection and survival if needed.

That said, Masculine rights of passage come in many ways, not just hunting. Like fishing, it isn't about catching fish, its about being out there and connecting the masculine with the feminin (sp) energies of Mother earth. When we sit at a drum and sing to creator, we are connecting ourselves with the heartbeat of the people and the earth. Learning to bring the two energies into one is learning balance and balance is the Right of Passage. As Teen agers and young men, most seem to think a six pack or case of beer is the passage. We are now men because we can drink ourselves blind and do stupid Sh**. I read in another thread someone stating that age 52 for men is when wisdom is acquired. Age does not define wisdom, experience defines wisdom, but only if one has learned from experience.

Hunting is an experience that much can be learned from if it is done in a sacred manner. The old ones and many people of today will create ceremony prior to hunting. Burn some sage or sweetgrass, ask creator and the spirits to guide them and not let the animal suffer, make it a clean kill! Then when they are out there, treat the forest with the respect it deserves. When a kill is made, immediately offer up tobacco and prayer for the animal, thanking it for giving up its life so you (I) can continue to live. Making sure that every part of the animal is used, nothing goes to waste. This is sacred law, it is the way of the warrior, The way of a man that is in balance with the Earth Mother and Creator. If an animal has been wounded doesn't die and runs off, it is up the warrior to track that animal no matter how long it takes and bring its pain to an end as quickly as possible. This is the Right of passage. Being connected to the earth and creators energies, being balanced!...

Hunt well! Be well and be safe--- Be in balance!

I'm pretty sure it was me generalizing about becoming an Elder at 52, Bear. (Thank you!) It is true, wisdom comes from experience, but at that age I was taught that most people have had those years of experience that call for the respect we give the Elders. It is a blanket comment though....and it applies to both genders. The Medicine Women I know mark becoming an Elder at that age.

Northernwolf, Good journey!

So, Northernwolf, I am so happy for this experience you will have (or had by now)! I agree wholeheartedly with the perspectives of what has already been shared with you.

I am a gatherer. I pick mushrooms, wild berries, and clams and crabs. I am grateful when I find bounty, and I am appreciative even when I find little. When I am gathering, I am most successful, and really most satisfied, when I gather after centering and praying. And, during the gathering, I am always checking with guidance and I am more often than not led by guidance to a harvest. After I harvest, I express my thanks to Mother and Spirit.

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time! I look forward to your stories upon your return.

Jimmy WhiteBear:
Your so right Cinn, thank you, Bear

Greetings! Ah! Hunting stories with heart. Thank you! Congratulations Northerwolf! How did everyone do this hunting season? I'm not a hunter but I enjoy the meat. I help where I can in the preparing, I just can’t do the actually shooting. Hope everyone had a happy and safe hunting season.


I'm like you StarBearWalking, I can't shoot an animal either, and don't care for wild game so hunting and I don't mix. Our season doesn't start until just before Thanksgiving. Has it started out your way already?

Greetings! Some of the people I know do Bow hunting and the Kids seemed to be early also. But not for sure on that. Almost done here. In Love and Light

I see. Bow hunting here starts next weekend. Rifle and shotgun the week after that.

As I read this thread over I wonder about the conclusions I have seen expressed here. Many I'll admit fly in opposition to what I was taught and the meaning of rites of passage and such things in a male perspective. Not saying they are wrong simply different than I was taught.

For me the hunt was sort of the culmination of many lessor rites we progressed through. Yet even that was not totally correct for it simply was a doorway to yet another series of tests and undertakings we must face and pass. It was marked by the knowledge of weapons and what it's purpose was. It was marked by the knowledge of creating various weapon's and how to do so with the materials we would find upon the land. In many ways a continuation of games we started as children when we would hunt each other or do mock attacks as we tried to defeat an enemy.

While the hunt was based upon the obtainment of meat many times that was a result of not the purpose of the hunt. I was taught that first and fore most the hunt was the final test that showed we had learn to become not only prey but hunter and were able to exist with the natural world about us. It was a active test that showed if we had learnt to read the currents of the land and feel the beat of the various types of life in the area. It was an understanding of the place of things and the way each interacted in the greater concept of the living world. In some small ways even a test to see if we had the ability to become that which we hunted or become that which hunted.

It was the test that showed we had learnt the cycles of the land and the life upon it. In some regards we had not only been introduced to the land but had become one with it. We knew the laws of man as to when things could or should occur but also learnt the cycles of life and reproduction. It was a test to see the change in presentation as the wildlife transitioned from feeding for winter to growing the signs of mating and the indicators of each. We looked for the rubs of the deer as they marked the land and played their sent and marks to show their position and strength and station in their family.

It was a test to see if we could read the land and the life forms upon it. Could we see the change in the leaves as they rolled over to accept the moisture from the fallen dew. Did we know the way the land played upon the life forms. Did we feel the flow of water and know the smell of it as it carried on the breeze? Could we step upon the land and leave no trace of our passage and blend in so we smelled like everything else.

We were taught the nature of our purpose as hunters and gathers upon the land. We became aware of the means to be the predator and understand the need for both predator and prey upon the cycle of life. In many instances we were taught patience as we waited in ambush or tracked our prey. Patience as we waited and watched the actions and movements of each creature upon the land and learnt the language of the land as one species told another we were present.

It was about gaining a feel for how the land lived beneath us and how we must live with it. In many ways it was a test to actually lean how to not only look but actually see what was before us. In many ways the landscape did not matter when compared to the lesson's we learnt. The life upon a city street contained much of the same life lessons and rites as those found in the wilderness or in the small suburbs.

I was taught to honor the prey that I hunted and to take only what was needed to survive. I was taught to select what was best suited for my need. We did not take the mother and leave the cub. Yet we were also taught to be a fighter as well as when to fight and when to flee.

Never was it about getting in contact with the female powers or energy. Yes, aware of them as life pushed up through the ground, or the mating season fell upon us. AS the herds moved from area to area, or the flocks gathered to fly south or when to expect them to return, but the notion of doing it to contact the female never a facet of it.

One thing was always to honor the blood. To take part of their energy and life and place it upon us and thank it for the gift it bestowed upon us and the understanding that went with it.

Yet as I stated above this is not to say I am right and another wrong, simply the way I was taught and raised.

Thank you very much for your reply. It opens a new perspective for me and also it reflect some of the experience that I had. One thing though it makes me aware of some things to focus on the next time I go. I’ll think on this more and think on the experience that I had and I’ll be back to share. Since it was a series of new experiences for me I have yet to grasp all of it. Very interesting post MonSnoLeeDra, you have given me a lot to think upon. Thank you again.

MonSnoLeeDra~If I may, where do you see in the other replies a difference to what you've shared? I ask because when I went back over the thread I saw people sharing topically where you shared in more detail but it felt to me to be along the same lines. There was a common thread through it all (IMHO) and I'm just curious about that.

Cinn, It's not so much that what was said as it was the feel of it to me. Part of it seemed to speak to the concept of the noble hunter yet most times that is not real. The great hunter that brings home all parts to be used, yet truth be told what is bought home is what the hunter can carry or move. To think that every part is bought back is foolish depending upon the prey sought. To the honor of the prey yet again not all Hunts are for that purpose.

For instance it was mentioned about giving permission to have a knife. To us there was no permission only expectations by our parents and peer group of the obtainment of one. For some it would be the first thing we possessed that one might call a weapon. Granted many times it might be as small as a pen knife, but a knife never the less. But the focus was always on the notion of it being a tool that might be used. As we got older the concept of the knife became not only that of a tool but also a sign of projected power based upon the size of the blade and the envy of other's. Just the look of what you could do and the way it was acknowledged fed that action born side of the male persona.

We could throw them, stick them in tree's, make pseudo weapons of spears or arrows. Yes, even show our concept of strength and power as we foolishly threw them at each other or acted upon dare after dare.

We honored the creature we went after but seldom was it via tobacco or other things like that unless it was a major hunt that would involve many people in the same base camp. But even as that was an honor to the animal it was also a boasting and display of power and skill again. It was a statement of what one would do and claims of their ability and statement of what they would bring back as a show of their magic, granted not the term used.

Drink and such were part of the process in the concept of the dance and bolster of power. The nightly gatherings that occurred when the "Mighty Hunter" recounted the events of the day or even boasted of the one that got away. A bonding of male energy and acceptance and admission into the world of men for many first timers. Granted I agree with what was said about taking it out into the field.

Many of the stories and methods we learn to hunt by come from those gatherings. Sometimes we hear of the darker facet of the hunt as well and the price of that error. Yes, even the humorous side as we tell stories of hunters we have seen come in for their first day of the season expeditions and the creatures they have bagged. I've seen hunter's come in for deer and carry a tagged goat to check in, saw one bring in a brahma bull for check in.

The gatherings that so often showed us the scares and costs of the male hunt. The ripping of flesh when you approach the deer you think dead only to have it jump up at you. Dogs bearing the marks of battle with the bear, the tares and scares of battle with the raccoon. Heck even the marks of a goose as she hangs her head even with the ground and tears into you when you step into her nest without realizing it.

Sometimes the ritual of the first blooding upon flesh. The process of cleaning and preparing your first meat if close enough to the base camp, or taking everything you could carry out if a long way from camp. The show of antlers or other signs that mark the hunt and the taking of trophies to mark your success or even power. Some really don't understand the meaning but when we see the squirrel tail, the turkey beard, the antler, even claws it's a sign of a union and brotherhood. In many ways they are items we will carry back into the field with us. I will grant that there are those that go only for the trophy and those I dislike.

The hunt is not just about killing for food. Granted from Northernwolf’s OP that is the notion of this particular hunt and the ritual facet of it. Yet the hunt is used not only the train the warrior skills as mentioned but also to kill without the intent of taking food. The skills used to place food on the table are also the skills used to track the rogue animal that kills, to track that animal that has been injured and is now a danger to all things. To track and kill those creatures that are sick and infected. But all that seems to be missing or taken for granted, yet one who goes into nature for the hunt will also be thinking of all that for what you seek today may also be one that is injured and got away from another hunter.

There is balance as stated but sometimes there is great struggle and testing to make that balance happen. Most speak of the implied easy kill that is quick and easy, yet more often than not that is not true. Balance and respect for your prey comes as you track it by the blood trail as it's life feeds out. As you follow knowing that it may be a few feet to hours upon hours on the trail. Knowing that depending upon the area once the blood is spilt it is a signal that pulls in everything and you may not be the only thing tracking it.

It feels to me that the notion of the struggle of body and mind is missing. The determination to follow the trail and end the suffering of the animal. Even to face the possibility that it might turn and attack, or lead you off into area's that in any other situation you never would enter. The struggle to face your fears as your heart beats loudly in your ears and your lungs strain at your chest. To push your body to its extreme and disregard the pain of joints and weakness that fills you as the track goes on and on. To test your strengths and weakness against nature.

To me many of the things stated painted a picture of setting on the shore and casting a line into the water, pulling your prey to you. Of the hunter sitting in their tree stand and getting the deer that passes beneath them and falls within a few feet. Of hunting from the blind and waiting for the animal to come to you then the quick kill. Of going on the control hunt where your ensured of your game for it has been properly feed, properly tracked and placed and contained within the control area.

Sorry if this has wandered off in my answer. I hope it answered your questions. Like I said before it is not to say anyone is wrong or right only that it came to me a opposite of much of what I was taught and how things worked.

Thank you for sharing this. What I see is that you saw (from the masculine perspective and the sacred point of view) what was not being addressed. You tied it all together in what struck you as missing and did a beautiful job in explaining what that brings to bear. I'm grateful you were willing to do so. Whether it 'is' a rite of passage or not may not matter so much as understanding the points you've raised.

While I knew the things you were sharing I have not experienced them personally as a man might. I could not reiterate them as eloquently as you've done. However as you expressed them I could journey with your telling and understand what you were saying being in agreement with it. I'm just not inclined to hunt that way. My hunting experiences are all spiritually based or through a woman's 'gathering' techniques. Similar yet different, not as physically intense perhaps. Though I watched my male relatives go through all those things over the years, my brothers growing up, taught by our fathers and sometimes joined in the knife games they played when we were younger. Piggly Stick stands out...where you toss the open blade near the feet of the other person and see how close you can come without hurting them, and definitely sticking the knife tossed into a tree or a circle on the ground--target practice. Later I joined them in target practice with a gun but I never hunted with them. I never used a gun to take a life. I don't have that experience to share.

I did sit with them as they retold their stories at night but my role was that of a woman...seeing to the things they would need when they returned and preparing the meals. Often my home was camp to these hunters over the years and we'd fill it to capacity utilizing floors for beds if need-be. That may sound like a very defined feminine role and in that sense I guess it was, but I understood the men and what drove them and there were women that hunted alongside them too, my sister is an avid hunter. I saw both good and bad hunting habits and the results of carelessness or messy kills. So in that light I can relate to everything you said.

I think that you were sent to this thread to point out the details. As for the things you found distasteful, I agree, it's not the same thing...letting prey come to you, and the easy aspect. Or even the ceremonial aspect always being present. But I did do ceremony for a good hunt for the men when they went out so that was there, even if it wasn't done by them it was by my doing--and whether they knew it or not, some did, some didn't. Perhaps there were women in your circles that did something similar to assist their men's successes or simply offered prayers for the successful hunts. In either case, I thank you for letting me nudge you and draw a little more from your insights. I'm sure it will be valuable to those who come to this thread now and in the future. Thanks, my friend!

“My role was that of a woman...seeing to the things they would need when they returned and preparing the meals.”

See I think this is one where as a male we did touch upon and to some degree become one with what might be seen a female energy. While on occasion there might be a woman or women with us more often than not there were none. In that light we did have to cook or prepare items. Granted many of us could ruin boiled water at first, but in that regard it didn't matter only that it was hot. That point where coffee is more a matter of eating than drinking as the grounds do not settle. Even in the concept of Boy Scouts and other male oriented groups is this one major point where the energy is crossed I think. Sort of like the concept of repairing torn clothing or sewing on a button. Things we equate to our sisters and mothers and would never admit to outside the forest.

My hunting experiences are all spiritually based or through a woman's 'gathering' techniques. Here again is a point where I think we cross over that is not part of the "HUNT" process to us but something we observe and in many ways partake in. We do gather and hunt for things like bait to fish with, wood for the fire, bedding for our sleeping bags if outside or sometimes inside. In some ways things which we do in which we display those female energies that we observe from our sisters and mothers and other women. We hear those echoes of how to tell if the fruit is ripe, where to store this or that, how to prepare these items or those things. Many things that when we ask we are told to "Go ask your Mom!" In some ways that connection that shows us we are needed but also display the need we possess for them. The check and double check as mom or wife makes sure we have this or that item. The pull that makes us ask and touch even though we know we can do so on our own, but gives that support and bonding that creates one action of purpose.

“Often my home was camp to these hunters over the years and we'd fill it to capacity utilizing floors for beds if need-be. That may sound like a very defined feminine role.”

Not to me for it is reflective of the role played by the person who stayed behind to watch the area and protect the kills from previous days. Of the hunter's that stayed to prepare the game for packing and maintained the fire or were designated cook for the day when we used that. Perhaps feminine in association to home and hearth but also a rotating job when large numbers were present.

Or even the ceremonial aspect always being present. But I did do ceremony for a good hunt for the men when they went out so that was there, even if it wasn't done by them it was by my doing--and whether they knew it or not, some did, some didn't. This is one facet I saw more in my youth as my grandmother or other wives would speak of the success of the hunt and pray for good weather and game. Of the giving of special things to protect and watch over the men. Of stories of past success and the expectation of more of the same and sometimes the need of success. I still hear of my sisters telling their husbands of the hunt and their support. Of the special check before they take off for the day or the special packing and preparation given when they go off for a week of more. I think in some ways it ties us to the female energies but also serves to tie us together as a bonded and equal union of two sides of the same need.

When we step away from the camp we are the male energy in action and movement. The energy that drives us forward and makes us struggle one more step or stay just a moment longer. The urge that makes us go out into the dark of night and travel to our spot, even as the cold seeps into our bodies. The hunter that puts body and mind against the realities of nature.

Yet, when we return to camp we hold those male active energies as we also give way and accept the female energies that call for us to bond. That help form the ties that hold us together and give purpose to the urge that drives us forward. Those more passive facets of the female energy that make us laugh or joke at each other and our success or lack thereof. Those energies that balance the aggressive and con-frontal energies of the male ego and energy.

Yes, I can see where it would spill over in certain ways, of necessity, between the masculine and feminine roles when men are at camp. It's something my brothers were capable of too and get them home and they 'forgot' how to do it all. Ha! When the men who hunted and camped at night in my home gathered together they had their stories too. You bet they did. It was part of the package for them and there was a lot of razzing going on too. Who was better at what seemed important to them. LOL Yes, there was the evening check when everyone came in...dinner, ammunition, cleaning of weapons, getting the gear ready for the next day would always be a priority before sleep. And another check in the morning when they were leaving before sunup. Most wanted some trail food in their pockets so the cooking for these items was done in a way to fit in the pocket. Naturally more of that if they were going to be gone for week or longer. It was something they really loved though and the bonding at those times was strong.

Paah Wenchokws:
I have been reading this topic and respect and honor all the words here. I wish to add a few of my experiences with masculine rite of passage.

Living and growing up in nature and living off the land was very sacred to my family. We raised our own vegetables, and hunted for everything. It was very rare to go to a grocery store. My Father said there is a balance to everything and everything has a spirit. He said the meat you are eating now, that is your relation. He would further say there is an order in life and death. When you meet the animal you are hunting, pay respect. Pay respect all the way, beginning to the end. And waste not, honor everything.

When he went to hunt and most of time I went along, he would have a lodge [sweat] to purify ourselves. We would pray to the Great Spirit, pray to Mother and pray to the Animals. We would honor our spirit by becoming balanced and ridding any impurities. It is the way to present your spirit to the animals spirit.

When the hunt would come to an end, he would perform a smudging over the animal to honor its spirit and to send it back to the creator. It died in an honorable way. For we had a meeting of spirits through the hollow bones. Respect he said is a way of life, not a right. He thought no less of the plant world as we planted and harvested from our gardens, the meadows and the woods.

There are all kinds of hunting, there is stalking, there is trapping for example. There is the hunt for food, the hunt for power, the hunt for wisdom are just a few more examples. I like the title the masculine rite of passage a lot! For me the masculine rite of passage is part of me just as much as the feminine rite of passage is. What I learned the most in the masculine rite of passage is what I call setting traps.

There comes a time when I do not need to worry about trapping. It may be hard for me to explain, but here it goes, for it applies to both the physical and spiritual and most important the hunt for power.

First of all I must look at my intent and will. I want to make sure that what I am hunting, I am doing in an honorable and sacred way. Hunting is the gathering of experiences and knowledge, be it for food for the table, or for power. At first there is a lot of hunger, so we set traps and we trap things we need or do not need. This happens from time to time. Pretty soon, we fall into a routine and stay too long into the hunt, for we will lure/trap/capture something and the next thing you know it is an addiction. Losing a sensitivity if you will.

There is a routine to hunting and trapping. Sooner or later, we start to understand the patterns, the routines. We forget the gentleness, the sacredness of the hunt. A hunter watches the physical, the spiritual and everything. In doing so, everything tells me some kind of secret. And therefore presents itself to me, I do not need to set traps.

Of course we set traps for animals and we set these traps because we have studied their habits, their routines. But in saying this I need to look at my habits and be aware of those within myself. For I do not want to become the very prey I am trapping. For these habits could make me pray for something or someone else. I want to stop the cycle of pray upon prey, so to speak. I do not want to become prey, either in the physical or spiritual world. I must be careful with my intent not to set a trap and then accidently set a trap unto myself.

I really do not know if anyone understands what I am trying to say here. But for me this is what makes me a warrioress hunter. I cherish and honor all that my Father taught me for neither of my Brothers followed my Fathers ways. I was taught many things by my Father that in his tribe were not taught to women. This I honor deeply, and I honor my Mothers ways, this I honor deeply.

Paah Wenchokws, I think I understand what you are saying. In many ways you have stated some of the things I have come to understand on what I have come to call "THE GREAT HUNT". For me this has been a journey and lesson that has touched upon not only the physical act of the hunt but also upon the notion of the Mental Hunt and Life Hunt.

Over time certain stories and such reflect upon my eyes and ears of things from long ago to just yesterday. For instance I recall my grandfather showing me the story of Squirrel one day. On this day we were walking upon an old dirt road in the mountains when we came to a spot where a number of squirrel's were gathering acorns near an old tree trunk. Taking a stone he threw it at one and knocked it out. While I thought that was neat he pointed out that the other squirrels scampered off for a bit but soon returned.

Lying there he waited a moment then stunned another squirrel, that fell close to the first. As I watched the two squirrels I sort of though them pretty dumb to be so easily trapped. My grandfather then asked me what had I noticed, of course I replied what I though and spoke of how easy it was to do. Of course I was quite happy with my response and such but it took a moment for his dis-approving eyes to sink in.

He mentioned that I Had become so engrossed that I failed to notice the hawk that had landed in the tree and was watching with interest. I had also failed to notice the eyes and ears peering out of some underbrush close to the squirrels, closer than we in fact. He basically showed me that even though we were the hunter, two other hunter's had arrived and I had failed to see their presence for I had become engrossed by my prey, even to the point of being unaware as they were of me.

Yes I learnt his lesson that day, In fact it comes back around to me often as I put so much focus and attention into things that I fail to notice the other predators at times. Ironically, one of those things were we place so much attention into the hunt that we fail to realize the hunt continues, if even for just a few moments.

Your words reminded me of the notion of becoming so focused upon the landscape that we lose our place upon it and may even become lost in it. We are like the trapper that has set his traps over and over and becomes so familiar with the place we take it for granted and fail to notice subtle changes. At times even forgetting the location of our traps until we stumble into them, and only then remember that we had placed one there. Even to the point of having a mental picture we follow and fail to see changes to it, even the presence of other trappers as we become wrapped in the process and not the purpose or reason why we trap.

I always heard honor that which you trail yet always remember not to become that which you trail. Yes, follow the animal in your head by knowing it's mind and habit but to be aware that taking on its guise could become permanent if done for the wrong purpose. I took 23 years in the military to realize that it's an easy step to cross the line from tracking the prey across the land to become the one being tracked upon the land.

In a great many ways it took a long time to realize that the hunt showed me how to live in my world. How to track and watch the world I live in and to give it the respect it is due. To give honor to those things that I do and see the various ways I take prey from the land. To step forward with purpose and desire, but to also know of my need and not loose site of my need to the clutches of a false want or must have.

In many ways the prey I have followed over the years have taught me to fight when I must, or to run and hide when I must. How to be a man and stand for that which must be stood for, to protect and stand guard of my clan, and to be a parent. To see the need and place of things and the interaction of those things. The fallacy of assumption even though I still make that error. It has taught me there is a time and a place for each possible weapon I possess but each weapon is not correct for each time and place.

OK I think I may have wandered off and I have been up for hours so it is time I release this one to the winds less I become entrapped in its snare.

Paah Wenchokws:
I liked what you wrote MonSnoLeeDra2. I have had similar lesson's and yes certain lesson's do come back around. It isn't that we repeat the same one over and over. It is that in a really good lesson we can take that lesson and apply it to many things.

You're so right, Paah, there are many layers to the things we learn, and the trick is seeing how many places we can apply them. Then we walk in consciousness of those lessons and raise our awareness. I liked the things you've both shared too. Thank you.

I am very much appreciating and enjoying your contributions here MonSnoLeeDra. My boys will benefit from them, I am sure. Thank you.

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