Years ago, in rural Pennsylvania, a young White Wolf von Atzingen happened upon his second father, an elderly Lenni Lenape (Delaware) Indian shaman and warrior, reclined under the boughs of a beech tree behind the boys house. The Lenni Lenape, he later learned, are highly revered people; many tribal leaders, both east and west, consider them to be among the most ancient of Native Americansthey are sometimes called the Grandfathers or Old Ones by Algonquian people. The old man was waiting patiently for a boy to appear, a student to come and learn the Old Waysthe moment of meeting was both fulfillment of an old mans vision and the young mans destiny. Although the shaman, named Meechgalanne, didnt speak a word of English, he and the boy embarked on a journey that would change White Wolfs life forever. In the beginning, White Wolfs parents werent aware that their sons time in the woods was spent learning the old ways under the tutelage of a Native American shaman. When they first learned of the friendship, according to White Wolf, they were annoyed. In time, the association between young and old was predestined; over the next 12 years the Indian elder instructed his protege in the Earth Path Ways also known as the Old Waysthe ways of the wild, the medicine balance of life and the attainment of purity. As he matured, White Wolf became a master in Reiki (a Japanese stress reduction and relaxation technique), and jujitsu. The young mans lifes journey has taken him to 50 states, living primitively and teaching the Old Ways as he traveled. But he also managed to keep himself firmly in the modern world, serving for a time as a contract specialist for the U.S. Special Forces with whom he traveled extensively and put his special skills to use for the benefit of modern society. Special Forces recruits must be mentally superior, creative, highly trained and physically tough, according to the U.S. Armys web site. It was, said White Wolf, a nice counter balance to a life lived betwixt and between the ancient and the modern. Today, White Wolf lives with his wife Raven and their young son Lohak (Fox) in their home at the end of a gravel road in rural Lincoln, Vt. The house is surrounded by acres of woods and streams. There, the couple continue to maintain a balance between the modern and ancient ways of living on the land. The family happened upon Vermont by chance when Raven applied for a job as a chemist in Rutland. They found a photograph of their future home on the Internet and realized it was the perfect location to settle down. We love it here, said White Wolf. Were never leaving. White Wolf has gone on to found the Ways of the Wild Institute in nearby Lincoln and offers classes in natural skills, personal medicine powers and the Earths mysterious ways knowledge that used to be intuitive to humans but has been largely lost amidst the trappings and conveniences of modern society. For instanceas White Wolf describes the building of a simple shelter using only the materials at hand in the woodsit becomes apparent that this basic knowledge could save the lives of lost hikers and skiers, if only they had the basic skills necessary to survive. The process of building a warm, water-proof shelter from tree limbs, forest debris and bark is simple and will provide a safe place to bed down even in sub-zero temperatures. White Wolf teaches students how to naturally purify drinking water, how to find nutritious food in the nearby woods, and how to manufacture simple bowls through a process known as coal-burning. White Wolf is a fascinating individual, with an aura of serenity and warmth, and a keen sense of humor set behind piercing, sparkling eyes. He has a deep knowledge of the natural world, but is also connected to the ways of the 21st century; his conversational style is both engaging and funnot the least bit preachy or pedantic. White Wolf is a confident teacher; hes willing to share experiences and knowledge gained during years spent studying with Meechgalanne. White Wolf offers a variety of classesfrom natural wilderness navigation (no magnetic compasses or GPS units here), elemental studies (earth, wind, fire and water), and woodland wild foods, and shelter building, to more esoteric skills such as totem connection (personal spirit guides) and vision quests. For information about White Wolf and the institute, visit the web site www.waysofthewildinstitute.com.