| Past Moons
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: The Wild Moon Immersion Program tuition is $1,500 for one month in the wilderness; why so much? Can I pay less? Can I volunteer?
We understand that $1,500 can seem like a lot of money and that it takes time and energy to come up with it. We have set the tuition as low as we can to keep the Program affordable for as many people as possible. Fixed expenses such as property taxes, food, transportation, and office overhead have to be met, and the experienced camp residents who will be your guides may receive a small stipend.
If you are having trouble raising the tuition, we might be able to help you out, as we have done for many others. The first thing it takes is "I am going to do this, come hell or high water" determination. With an attitude like this, you'll find a way -- and you'll get the most out of the experience, because you've invested your own time and energy into it. If you still fall short, contact us and we'll send you ideas on how to raise the rest of what you need. We give discounts to families of 4+, and to kids.
Q: What can I expect to learn from the experience?
More than you can now imagine, and more than we could possibly list. Because this is an immersion experience that embraces all aspects of life, all day and every day, you will be exposed to so much and have the opportunity to learn so much more than a book or a focused skills course could present. You will discover that the physical and the qualitative skills that are practiced at Mashkodens go hand-in-hand to make old-way living a reality.
The qualitative skills are also what we call circle skills: the awareness, sensory, and relationship skills that tie everything together and make it work in a real wilderness living situation. You'll have the opportunity to learn what it takes to think and act like a circle, how to hear what people are saying underneath their words and to speak clearly and honestly, to make group decisions and resolve conflict.
In the same vein, there is emphasis on healing old wounds in order to be the best that we can be. Imagine learning how to take guidance from your dreams, sitting in a talking circle as the group works on reaching a decision, or becoming a part of an agreement to be reminded by, and remind others, of un-needed behavioral patterns that trip you up and leave you feeling anxious or dissatisfied. In addition, various awareness and attunement exercises are incorporated into daily life and practiced together to help learn new ways of being fully in the moment and leaving behind the fantasies and anxieties of dwelling in the past and future. For example, your circle-mates might be getting together and going on runs through brushy forest in order to build stamina and develop awareness and agility. Or perhaps they will be taking care to blindfold themselves when going down the trail or cracking nuts to sharpen their awareness skills and that “6th sense”. They might be doing things differently than usual in their day-to-day life (like eating with the opposite hand or buttoning a shirt in the opposite direction) in order to build the ability to change dysfunctional life patterns.
In terms of the physical skills, here is a list of what you could learn:
- Primitive fire-making by friction, with materials you learn to gather yourself.
- Primitive cooking - frying, roasting, and baking without the use of metal pots or utensils.
- Water foraging - learning how to find and drink safe, wild water.
- Orienting using natural sign, without needing to rely upon map or compass.
- Weather forecasting based on reading the clouds, the wind, and changes in temperature.
- Native walking so you'll be able to walk safely and silently, with minimum impact, and observe more than you ever imagined was there.
- Native diet. Learn why traditional peoples are so healthy, and how you can apply the principles even with grocery store foods.
- Comfort - how to stay warm (or cool), dry, clean, and sleep comfortably, while using what the earth mother provides.
- Wild food foraging. In all seasons wild foods are available that you will learn to gather respectfully and incorporate into your diet.
- Woodworking - you'll have the opportunity to burn/carve your own bowl and spoon along with participating in whatever other seasonal woodworking crafts are going on.
- Hide and pelt tanning. In a native camp, tanning can go on all year long.
- Basket making. Bark, rawhide, and willow baskets are put to a wide variety of uses in a native camp.
And here are some of the crafts and skills that you will learn in their specific seasons:
Q: Why can't I just go into the wilderness on my own or with friends, for free?
- Shelter building
- Wild ricing
- Maple syruping
You can surely go out on your own or with friends; however, you run the risk of losing your passion for the Old Way. Many have tried before you, and they end up coming back cold, hungry, and disillusioned. The beauties and gifts of the Earth Mother are available to us only if we are able to recognize and accept them. Otherwise -- for our own protection -- the Mother will spit us out in a matter of a few days. When we leave modern life, we are like babies starting life anew -- we have so much to learn. With the guidance and example of experienced wilderness guides, we are not only able to last the entire Moon, but we learn more than we ever could imagine.
"These skills used to be taught for free," some will say. There is a precept that Native people live by: Giving is receiving. When we give, we create space within ourselves to receive. In a Native culture there is no money – and so a Native does not give money in order to learn. Perhaps if he/she had the money to give, it would be a lot easier than all she does in dedicating her life to the service of her clan.
Q: What is the average day like at Mashkodens?
Because Native life flows in balance with the changes of the seasons and the weather, each day and each season brings its unique gifts and involvements. One day you could be trekking through knee-high snow to check snares, and the next day you might be stitching a pair of mukluks from a hide you tanned. In another season you might be paddling upstream to fish camp, or downstream for the two-day trip to wild rice camp. Click here
for a glimpse of what past Wild Moon experiences have been like.
At the same time, daily traditions are honored, such as waking with the dawn, going to the spring for a drink, and sharing dreams over breakfast. We then usually engage in a project that involves the whole camp, such as building a bark and thatch lodge or gathering berries. Afternoons are often free for individual projects such as hide tanning and basket making, or burning out a bowl. When the sun slips down below the tree-line, we come together for a primitively cooked feast: roasted bear fat and venison or fish, along with wild rice and gathered greens. While the meal is being enjoyed, someone might be burning out a bowl or making a deadfall trigger, and stories of the day are shared, along with plans being made for the next day.
Whatever the season, activity, or time of day there is an intense focus on awakening dormant senses and building the relationship skills needed to function honorably and respectfully as a clan member and kin to our winged, furred, scaled, and leafed sisters and brothers.