Fat Magick

by nielskunze on March 6, 2018

A young Grizz I met under the power-line 2 springs ago

Fat Magick

Wind whipped and whistled through the naked branches of larch boughs gone bare in the sunset of seasons. Blustery autumn music crashed against a sky smudged grey like ashes on the elder shaman’s face before performing funeral rites for children. Although it wasn’t raining, the ashen sky was streaked with tears, etched with grimaces, lined with age for another year nearly gone by— a contoured canvas for the cold sighing breaths of indifferent gods.

Tawnee pulled the beaver-skin collar of his winter tunic up around his cheeks, hiding from the cold as best he could, redirecting his gaze back down to earth. One of the young boys from the village had shown him the fresh bear tracks leading up the mountain pass. They were big, clear and deep… awesome.

The grizzly had perhaps a quarter-day’s head start. The big bear would be moving pretty fast too. There wasn’t much left for forage, and there’d be even less the higher they climbed. Almost certainly the bear was headed more-or-less straight for a winter den to sleep through the barren uncompromising winter months. Tawnee and his people had no such option. That’s why Tawnee and his three companions stalked the monster now, quickly, determinedly. With the blessings of luck and skill, no one would starve this year in their village.

The previous year had seen no such opportune tracks, heavy with invitation and promise. There had been no stores of bear fat laid up, just the dried elk meat pounded into pemican with mixed currants and buffalo berry. The buffalo berry made it taste like shit. And the coyotes had kept the snowshoe hares away— beyond mounds and drifts of snow too taxing to traverse. Six villagers had starved to death before the spring could come and settle in again.

Many lives were depending on the quiet skill of these four braves sent to bring back Brother Bear and his most precious medicine. Tawnee loved bear— not so much the flavour of his meat, but the quiet wisdom in his adaptations, the deliberateness, independence and indifference of his character, the solitary fearlessness in his heart. Grizzly was a wholly different character from black bear who was all curiosity and brash adventure— look, run, stop, look again… Grizzly was more mission-oriented; he didn’t give the slightest fuck about you, unless he thought that he could make an easy meal of you. But mostly he was happiest to ignore you, and just wanted to be left alone too.

Sorry Brother, my village needs you.

Tawnee’s moccasins were trudging through the first fringes of alpine snow. They had climbed quickly through the frozen mud of the swamplands below. And these high meadows saw at best only three months of summer bloom. Summer had already ended fully two moons ago here among the fields leading to scree slopes, piled boulders, peaks… and caves, the dens of fattened bears come to hibernate.

The braves moved as quickly as they could in the deepening drifts. It was easy to follow the tracks of the big bear in the snow, through the thinning trees, over hillocks and boulders. But if he made his way to a nearby scree slope before the braves could sight him, they’d lose the trail in a sea of rocks. The den would be hidden in among the rocks. Bears aren’t stupid, Tawnee knew.

So far, luck had been on their side. Though the cold wind bit deeply into their flesh, it had been directed in their faces. Walking into such a stiff and steady breeze, it would be nearly impossible for the grizzly to scent its stalkers. On the contrary, it would be the hunters who should smell the quarry first, despite the bear’s legendary nose. And lo! There it was, the smell of damp fur, muck and musk. In a moment they could see it too— a lumbering, rippling hulk of single-minded attitude, maybe three hundred paces ahead. The hunt was on!

They had to move fast now. The bear wasn’t pausing for much; there wasn’t anything here to eat. If he reached the cover of his den, he could easily defend himself from a frontal attack of arrows, spears and knives. Tawnee had once traded for one of the rifles of the white man, but without ongoing exchanges with the cunning and deceptive traders there were no bullets and the rifle was useless. On this day, their more traditional weapons would have to do.

His three companions rushed ahead, taking wide arcs to flank the beast and finally encircle him, while Tawnee kept pace straight on, keeping the grizzly in sight. When all were in place, they tightened the circle and Tawnee rushed straight at him with voice and spear raised to the battlecry of fierce need. The bear whirled its raging bulk to face the intruder, and in the seconds right before Tawnee and beast could meet for battle, a hail of arrows stuck in his flanks from all sides. Just as Tawnee arrived— spear-tip first— the bear had turned in reaction to the pain from behind, and the spear penetrated its neck, plunging deep. The bear screamed its fury before coughing and choking on blood. In an instant, the other braves were upon him knives unsheathed. Tawnee ducked low to the ground as though in self-sacrifice, letting go of the spear, and when the bear reacted, he slashed at the throat with his own lightning fast blade before the beast flopped on top of him, bleeding. The bear died very quickly as Tawnee struggled to free himself beneath the colossal weight.

She must have weighed about 800 pounds. As the four hunters got busy preparing the carcass for the transport home, they had quickly noticed that this bear was a sow. Tawnee and the others would have much preferred that this had been a male, for in all likelihood the she-bear would be pregnant, preparing to give birth during her long hibernation. Though cutting short her lineage was not ideal, it had been necessary. As they carved the spoils and readied their prize for the gruelling trek home, Tawnee thought about the magick contained in her flesh and especially in her rolls of rippling fat.

For five solid months the prized fat would’ve kept her nourished, warm and even hydrated. If she had indeed been pregnant, her fat would’ve supplied everything for her suckling cubs too when they were born in the midst of hibernation. It was truly remarkable to think that two or even three suckling babies would be fed all that they needed to grow into toddlers ready to face the world in spring, all while mother slept, never eating, never drinking, relying only on the ancient magick of her own awesome fat metabolism.

And now that same magick would keep Tawnee’s whole village from starvation. Though it would be tough to transport home, it was easy to store. Cold fat was concentrated calories that would easily keep for months. First they would nourish themselves and the whole tribe on the blood they collected in their water-skins. And then they would share all of the richly prized organ meats and glands, bestowing the promise of health upon all who could accept the profound gift of healing. Next, the muscle meat would be rationed throughout the coldest weeks, keeping everyone’s energy up. And finally, the pure fat would be saved until it was needed most, when spring was approaching but still frustratingly far off. And then the whole village would greet the first green shoots with an eager appetite for change…

Though he couldn’t know it, in seven generations hence, Tawnee’s distant descendant would teach a wisdom-starved world about ketosis, about fat magick.

I was already most of the way to ketosis before I knew what a ketogenic diet even was. My body had very quietly, very deliberately, led me to a new set of culinary values without my hardly noticing the profound shift. My body needed time for burning almost exclusively fat in order to recuperate from several rather unconscious decades of careless choices.

Sugar is sticky. Fat is slippery, like a lubricant. Burning carbohydrates is like burning wood; oil burns much cleaner in the context of energy produced. These bodies need to periodically burn clean, to detoxify, to heal.

For me, it all began by hearing so clearly that small sure voice within— the voice of my innate body intelligence. Once my internal healer was back in charge of directing my behaviours, healing was easy and assured.

I invite you to come join me on this healing adventure. There’s something essential for everyone… and a world which awaits the resurrection of care.

The Healing Fundamentals podcast is coming soon… because you can’t properly heal the rest until you’ve healed the fundamentals.

To begin on your own inner-directed healing journey see also: Redox Universe

Leave your comment


Required. Not published.

If you have one.