The Sacred Order
Conservation of energy is important in a survival situation. It is easy to become afraid and lose sight of what to do and end up wandering around in a panic. Often people who are lost immediately begin to think of finding food, however, shelter is the most important element in a survival situation. A person can live for a month without food but can die of exposure in as little as 3 hours.
The first shelter we teach at COTEF is the debris hut. This is like a giant sleeping bag, working with dead air space to provide insulation. No, it’s not a mansion. Yes, it is wonderful sleeping in one of these. Pushing the debris out in the morning, crawling out into the sunrise and the morning air is magical. Knowing that the Earth has taken care of you leaves you with an indescribable feeling. Its freedom!
After we’ve finished with the shelter we always practice caretaking. This means putting the land back to at least how we found it, if not making it even better. We honor the land in this way, leaving it healthier for the next generation.
How long can you go without water for? A few days?
Water is so precious to all life, yet something that we take for granted, never saying thank you. What would happen if our ability to turn on a tap and for clean water to come out was taken away from us?
Our challenges today are of our own making. We have polluted our water to the extent that we can’t be confident we are drinking clean water when we dip our hands into a wooded stream or a mountain lake.
We teach simple purification methods; filtering and boiling. Children learn through hands-on doing. They build a filter with natural materials, or drop glowing, red hot rocks into a bowl of water to safely boil this precious liquid.
Fire is special to us all. Captivating and entrancing us as the flames flicker into the night sky, we are reminded of our connection to the Earth. As we burn wood we say thank you to our brothers and sisters the plant people who have given their lives that we may be warm and survive.
There are many different ways to start fire primitively, our favorite to begin with is the bow drill method. This works by producing friction as the spindle spins back and forth. It’s all about technique. It looks easy, but it takes years master (we’re still working on it!).
So you have the other three sorted. Shelter is built, water is on hand, and you have the means for fire, now comes food. Why is it last on the Sacred Order? Well, you can go a long time without food, but as an instructor with the Tracker School explains “It’s the hardest!” His advice is to “learn about plants, they don’t run away from you”.
Whether you take a plant or an animal for your nourishment you a taking a life, creating a hole. What will you fill that hole with? At COTEF we encourage you to fill that hole with your thanks, your respect and to honor that beings life by making sure that more of it’s kind can live in the future.
We also teach hunting methods, and even how to make bows and arrows.
Food teaches us so much, especially when we are not taking it from a supermarket. The taste of a wild edible plant is truly a taste of freedom.