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HONOURING THE DEER
Deeply PRACTICAL AND Soulfully PRAYERFUL

16th - 22nd October 2024 - Dartmoor, Devon 

Honouring the Deer is a deep dive into relationship with the deer, and will be simultaneously deeply practical and soulfully prayerful.

Over six days and nights, we will be exploring Honouring The Deer, to better understand this mythic creature, once known to be a symbol of the wildness and fertility of this land.

You will learn the practical skills of how to use every part of the deer; for food, tools, beauty, ceremony, warmth and more. And, whilst we have not inherited the ceremonies and rituals which of course would have accompanied such a time of sacred and abundant harvest, we will explore together what it might mean to unearth these ceremonies, to honour and give thanks for this greatest of gifts: life.

Following the trails of deer through the woods is not always easy - and so it is with following the subtle tracks and signs leading us back to the restoration of ancestral lifeways.

As humans, we have evolved closely with the hooved ones - in climates across the world, they have walked beside us, fed and clothed us… in many regards, they have made us.

 

 

Throughout our time together we will be exploring these questions:

  • How do we honour this death? What does it look like to honour these animal kin?

  • How do we stay present and allow ourselves to feel all that arises in the face of death, particularly one we have a part in causing?

  • What would it be like to remember our trails as humans on this land?

  • How do we become worthy of asking someone to die so we may live?

  • How can we be in reciprocity?

  • What culture can emerge when we honour an animal’s life and make beauty from their body?

 

 

During our explorations, we will make camp in the ancient woodland and meadow on Dartmoor National Park, Devon.

The purpose of the land regeneration project here, and indeed within this offering itself, is to understand how we as humans can assist in restoring the land to health, whilst simultaneously tending to our own hearts and bodies.

To explore our place as humans in the web of life, weaving ourselves in with joy, respect, reciprocity, humility, and gratitude. A deep remembering, through bloodied hands, full bellies and aching hearts.

We intend to gather together in community as we collectively grieve and celebrate this most ancient of gifts. As we remember our place as hunters, as beauty weavers, gratitude gatherers and feast makers.

 

Over the course of the six days and nights, we will explore:

Skinning & hide tanning, Butchery, Meat processing and preservation, Tracking, Trailing & Deer behaviour, Bone, sinew, antler & hoof craft, Deer mythology & co-created Ceremony

 

Butchery and cooking

  • Processing a whole deer - from carcass to plate.

  • Jerky making

  • Earth oven pit roast

  • Fat rendering

Bone, Antler & Hoof craft

  • Tools

  • Jewellery and buttons

Hide tanning

  • Leg skin pouches

  • Tanning a collective hair-on bark tanned deer skin

Tracking & Trailing

  • Learn how to identify the tracks and signs left by deer

  • Explore deer behaviour to better understand where they might be in a landscape

  • Experience finding and following a fresh deer trail with the hope of seeing the animal

Ceremony

  • Co-creating ceremony with the land to honour death and life and remember what we ought not to forget.


… Reaching a place where we can’t help but be grateful, where we cannot help but know ourselves to be with the vitality of the hooved ones, and the health of the land on which we each walk.

Your Facilitators

This is a collaboration between Jessie Watson Brown of Oak and Smoke Tannery and Lucy O'Hagan of Wild Awake Ireland

 

Where?

This offering will take place in a beautiful ancient woodland and meadow on Dartmoor National Park, Devon. We will sit between a deer-filled woodland and the high moorland. We will be camping so please bring your own tent. Full kit list will be provided.

When?

16th (5pm) - 22nd (12pm) October 2024 

What’s included?

  • Simple breakfasts and deer-full dinners on all days

  • Camp kitchen, toilet, sheltered, heated communal yurt and covered fireplace, Sauna

  • Drinking water & hot drinks

  • All materials for class

  • Tuition from practitioners who have been honing & teaching these crafts for over 8 years

  • Fireside deer mythology with a local storyteller

  • Meeting with local hunter and land tender to explore the role of the deer in local ecology

What’s not included?

  • Transport to and from the venue (though we can facilitate lift shares)

  • Lunch and snacks

  • Camping equipment

 

Who’s it for?

Anyone and everyone with a love for the wild, a desire to explore the above questions and and a wish to connect in a nature-based community. No experience necessary. We are welcoming adults and families on this course. Please get in touch if you wish to bring children.

£600 (we have concessionary places available, just ask by emailing honouringthedeer@gmail.com)

A non-refundable deposit of £150 will secure your place. Full payment will be required by 5th February.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY

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This Hide Camp was a wonderful experience. It was a brilliant few days - fantastic food cooked over an open fire, lovely people, and so interesting learning about natural tanning from two highly knowledgeable tutors. Jessie and Jane explained everything with such patience and expertise - it was truly fascinating, and great inspiration on many levels. Thier kindness and sensitivity with people and the elements meant we learned a lot and really enjoyed all the processes involved. I feel very connected with the skins I worked on, and have become much more conscious of other materials around me, and where they come from. Highly recommended.

-Nikki Chambers, course participant 2018

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I had no idea what to expect but the whole experience was mind changing. The tutoring in hide preparation was excellent, but the bonus was the introduction to a culture so removed the pressures of city life, away from the windows we look through every day, be it house windows or TV and computer screens. A true appreciation is gained of the work our ancestors had to do to turn hides into clothes.

- Phil Joyce, course participant 2016

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This Hide Camp was a wonderful experience. It was a brilliant few days - fantastic food cooked over an open fire, lovely people, and so interesting learning about natural tanning from two highly knowledgeable tutors. Jessie and Jane explained everything with such patience and expertise - it was truly fascinating, and great inspiration on many levels. Thier kindness and sensitivity with people and the elements meant we learned a lot and really enjoyed all the processes involved. I feel very connected with the skins I worked on, and have become much more conscious of other materials around me, and where they come from. Highly recommended.

~ Anna Ricketts, course participant, 2018

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