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Becoming Nature

Learning the Language of Wild Animals and Plants

Published by Bear & Company
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A step-by-step guide to animal communication, connecting with your primal mind, and immersing yourself in Nature

• Includes exercises for learning how to become invisible within Nature, sense hidden animals, and communicate with wild animals and birds

• Explains how to approach wild animals and form friendships with them

• Details the intuitive awareness of our hunter-gatherer ancestors and their innate oneness with Nature

Animals and plants are in constant communication with the world around them. To join the conversation, we need only to connect with our primal mind and recognize that we, too, are Nature. Once in this state, we can communicate with animals as effortlessly as talking with friends. The songs of birds and the calls of animals start to make sense. We begin to see the reasons for their actions and discover that we can feel what they feel. We can sense the hidden animals around us, then get close enough to look into their eyes and touch them. Immersed in Nature, we are no longer intruders, but fellow beings moving in symphony with the Dance of Life.

In this guide to becoming one with Nature, Tamarack Song provides step-by-step instructions for reawakening the innate sensory and intuitive abilities that our hunter-gatherer ancestors relied upon­--abilities imprinted in our DNA yet long forgotten. Through exercises and experiential stories, the author guides us to immerse ourselves in Nature at the deepest levels of perception, which allows us to sense the surrounding world and the living beings in it as extensions of our own awareness. He details how to open our minds and hearts to listen and communicate in the wordless language of wild animals and plants. He explains how to hone our imagining skill so we can transform into the animal we are seeking, along with becoming invisible by entering the silence of Nature. He shows how to approach a wild animal on her own terms, which erases her fear and shyness.

Allowing us to feel the blind yearning of a vixen Fox in heat and the terror of a Squirrel fleeing a Pine Marten, the practices in this book strip away everything that separates us from the animals. They enable us to restore our kinship with the natural world, strengthen our spiritual relationships with the animals who share our planet, and discover the true essence of the wild within us.


Step 12

To Touch an Animal


I think there is something in Counting Coup--being able to touch an animal--that is intrinsic to the Human psyche. We’ve been huntergatherers for most of our existence as a species, and we have undoubtedly needed to derive emotional satisfaction from the hunt in order to continue with it.

A Disappearing Act

Animals have ways of picking up on our expectations, even when we make an effort not to focus on them. It’s best to hold off on clarifying our intention, along with waiting until the last possible moment to move or act, after we have gathered all of the available information. Otherwise the animal could suddenly bound away for no apparent reason,as happened in the following story.

Mind-Reading Deer

“I was out scouting for Deer,” Tom said to me, “and I came across a buck grazing up ahead a ways. ‘I think I’d like to take that one,’ I thought to myself, and right away he raised his head and bolted. It’s like he read my thoughts. Is that possible?”

“It’s possible,” I replied, “but he may not have done it directly. Your thought was reflected in the energ y you radiated, which set up a disturbance pattern. It may have been transmitted through your posture or your gaze, which made you conspicuous. At that moment, your focus pulled you out of attunement, and you quit Shadowing the movement around you. That may have caused the Blue Jay above you to nervously twitch, which triggered a Red Squirrel to flick her tail, which is what the Deer picked up. Or it could have been the opposite: the pocket of silence you created by dropping out of attunement became conspicuous.”

“What could I have done differently?” he asked.

“Approach the hunt as a Native would,” I suggested. “Rather than
I want to hunt that Deer, think I might like to hunt that Deer, if it is so intended. It’s the difference between putting oneself in the center of the experience and being in balance with the Hoop of Life. Rather than a simple cause-effect relationship, stepping back allows us to recognize the interrelationship that exists between the animals and ourselves. Young predator animals learn this very quickly, as it’s the only way they can keepthemselves fed.”

A Game of Deception

Following are the evasive techniques I learned from Wolves, and--not so coincidentally--from playing tag as a kid. Similar to canine pups, feline kittens, and the young of many other animals, Human children worldwide play tag. It is no more than a game of Counting Coup, which is played instinctively as training for the hunt and Guardian missions.

With these techniques, it’s possible to get close to an animal and even Count Coup, all while remaining visible. A prey animal, accustomed to the endless flow of life before him, feels threatened only when he perceives attention being directed at him. When Prairie Wolves aren’t hunting, they can stay within sight of a herd of Buffalo and be ignored.

To Delude an Animal

Approach Conspicuously, yet indirectly

Be about some other business. Don’t just pretend, but have another goal in mind.

Don’t be concerned about creating a disturbance, which will allow our disturbance to be a voice in the chorus.

Transition in an instant from casual, passing interloper to keened, tensed predator. If we hesitate, all we’ll see is the animal’s track.

Anywhere Training

The beauty of learning to Count Coup is that it can be practiced anytime and anyplace. It requires no equipment, it’s always open season, and everything is fair game, whether it’s people, pets, or Squirrels in the park.

Let the Animals Come to Us

I’m writing this while sitting under a Maple Tree overlooking a small woodland pond. A short while ago, a Squirrel made her way silently down the trunk of the nearby Tree and peered around at me. I doubt that she knew I was aware of her. Now a Raccoon comes up to me and sniffs my shoulder. We engage in a brief, wordless communication, and he ambles on.

Letting animals come to us could appear to be the reverse of stalking, yet the two approaches require the same indifference and nonchalance. When Raccoon sniffed me, neither of us made a big deal of it. I continued with my writing as though I was unaware of his approach, so he wasn’t threatened. He calmly left the same way he came.

This letting-them-approach method works because foraging animals generally have a curiosity for any disruption from the norm. They make a portion of their livings by noticing and exploiting whatever foodstuffs are kicked up by disturbances, and we can take advantage of this survival trait to lure animals to us.

To Attract Animals

Stir up silt in the shallows of a pond or lake, to attract small Fish that feed on the minute life forms that reside in the pond muck. The small Fish will attract predators.

Use shiny objects and swatches of bright cloth, which are irresistible to some creatures.

Create a brush pile, upturn a log, or mound dirt, all of which will draw attention.

Plant a scent, such as an open can of sardines or a ripening piece of flesh.

Act silly or out of character. The more clever Wolves are great at hamming it up to mesmerize small prey animals.


It’s inevitable: some of us have found the process of Becoming Nature to be overwhelming, at least at times. That’s beautiful, as I can think of nothing better than being overwhelmed by rejoining the Trees of the forest, the Birds of the air, and every other living thing, in the splendid community of Nature. I assure you that once you reawaken to what it is to be fully Human, you will find Becoming Nature as easy as breathing. And the discoveries--the endless kaleidoscope of discoveries that await you!

About The Author

Tamarack Song has spent his life studying the world’s aboriginal peoples, apprenticing to Elders, and learning traditional hunter-gatherer survival skills. He has spent years alone in the woods as well as living with a pack of Wolves. In 1987, he founded the Teaching Drum Outdoor School in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin, where he runs the year-long Wilderness Guide Program.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Bear & Company (March 17, 2016)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781591432128

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Raves and Reviews

“I love the way Tamarack explains that you must get away from thought to understand animals. He is referring to verbal thought with language and entering the animal’s sensory-based world that has no words. To understand animals, you have to get away from words and enter their realm of visual, auditory, and touch sensation, which are linked to emotions. Becoming Nature will help connect you to the natural world.”

– Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

“Do you often feel rushed and far removed from feeling the peace of delighting in the natural world around you? Tamarack Song gives a way to return to heightened sensory awareness and fulfilling kinship with wildlife. Enriched by his background in environmental education, wilderness survival, and wildlife conservation, the author guides readers with a variety of exercises to an active experience with Nature around and within us. Here are practical steps you can take to better know Nature and yourself.”

– Penelope Smith, author of Animal Talk and When Animals Speak

“Tamarack Song teaches how Becoming Nature is our natural and innate state of being. Becoming Nature is beautifully written and filled with practices to help us reconnect with the natural world. This is an important and powerful book to help us improve our personal health as well as bring back balance and harmony to the planet and all in the web of life.”

– Sandra Ingerman, coauthor of Speaking with Nature and author of Walking in Light: The Everyday Empow

“Following up on his successful book, Entering the Mind of the Tracker, Tamarack Song now offers readers 12 steps for learning to move from observing nature to becoming nature. His system teaches the intuitive skills of our hunter-gatherer Ancestors using story and experience rather than traditional study. He tells readers that we all have innate, though largely ignored, primal aptitudes for these skills which are imbedded in our DNA. This is a powerful call to leave the virtual/intellectual world and reclaim our roots in the natural world.”

– Anna Jedrziewski, Spirit Connection New York, April 2016

“Tamarack’s approach, as the title suggests, is founded primarily on the ideal of oneness, as in “becoming one with nature.” On the other hand, as suggested by the phrase in his subtitle, “learning the language of…” he teaches observational skills as the basis for the process of becoming one. The book is quite detailed and technical in its approach, even though it comes from a spiritual perspective of oneness.”

– Intuitive Connections, Henry Reed, April 2016

“The writing is personable, and Song’s generous inclusion of tales about his own journey to ‘become nature’ adds a loving quality to the text. Whether urban dweller or off-grid subsistence homesteader, anyone can benefit from the collected wisdom Song shares in this latest offering--these lessons from a lifetime of learning-by doing-inspire faith in the limitless potential of one who has truly become nature.”

– Foreword Reviews, Patty Comeau, May 2016

“As Song reminds us, we have innate sensory and intuitive capabilities inherited from our hunter-gatherer predecessors; it's just that in our modern world we've lost this perception, although it's still imprinted in our DNA. Song has designed a series of exercises, supported by experiential stories, to help us expand our awareness to include the world around us and the plants and animals within it. He also has solutions for leaving behind our precious electronic gadgets.
Song encourages us to let our imaginations transform us into the animal we seek to become and enter Nature's silence invisibly. Most of us won't ever have the opportunity to interact with animals in the wild, yet Song's wisdom can help us discover that Nature resides within us all.”

– Nexus, June 2016

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