Willow Lohr (b. 1964) is an experienced instructor in some of the training/courses we offer at Bushpappa. Among other things, she teaches the special year-long "Faith in Nature" course. The course focuses on exploring nature as an essential part of your inner and spiritual journey. During this year you will practice and learn ancient knowledge such as skills for surviving in nature, traditional rituals, dealing with the elements, making crafts by hand and finding inner balance and peace.
Willow lives in deeply unspoiled nature among the mountains in Scotland and is guided by nature. ''I have always been curious about the world around me.'' Willow Lohr has a background in philosophy, with a specialization in the philosophy of the "mind," and then immersed herself in Shamanism and spent four years learning from and with indigenous elders. Meanwhile, Willow has been teaching Bushcraft, Tracking, Crafts and Wilderness Skills for over 20 years. Her experience is closely tied to the natural and its elements, as well as a solid foundation from which to ground and impart her knowledge.
Several years ago, Willow Lohr discovered that something was still missing in all the courses she taught and was taught. "I taught fire making and shelter making thousands of times, but felt something was missing. Bushcrafting for me only told half the story, from a male and military point of view. And that as long as we have the right equipment, we can then go into nature for a long time. I discovered that something was missing and that was the philosophy of nature. I wanted to know more than how to survive in nature, I wanted to understand how to live in harmony with nature.''
"The philosophy of nature is something that is missing in many courses. Many people think that nature is only there for man, for man's amusement and that it is not there for itself. That is my job and my struggle. In the courses I teach, my aim is to broaden that view. I want to teach people to understand that we are part of nature and that we should live in harmony with nature. If we understand that, then we can really enjoy nature and be inspired by it.''
Something that recurs a lot in her courses are rituals. If you look at legends and stories, there is always a ritual behind them. Even in everyday crafts like making fire or shelters. Rituals are disappearing and many people no longer know their meaning. For example, the Easter fire, that is still done in the Netherlands, but if you ask people why this is done, nobody knows where it comes from. And yet that too has deep and historical roots. Just like praying, this is something many people think is a crazy idea these days, according to Willow. Yet it is the most natural thing people still do. If you look at soldiers on the battlefield, for example, what they do is pray. Whether you believe or not. Hope hides in prayer. And hope is a very important part of living in nature.''
Willow is very confident in the power of her courses. Because they are so unique and last for a year. Course participants' lives are going to change completely. They start to look at their lives and nature differently and realise that nature and their lives are not two different things, but are one together. "I once thought you had to be very strong to survive in nature, but you actually have to be mostly mentally strong. She also calls it working with 'mental tools' rather than just focusing on 'physical tools'. "That's what I like about getting older. All the things you have done and learnt in your life come together in a fun way and find a place. That makes the things I want to teach new and unique. You have to be curious and you have to be daring, that combination is going to help you over any bump you encounter. It gives you the shoes and the strength to step over those thresholds.''