The Society of the Wolf & The Water Dance


And welcome to another wonderful Tuesday.

Lately I’ve been furiously engaged in writing my next book, which has the working title of BRAVE WOLF’S LADY.  The hero is a member of the Society of the Wolf.  Society of the Wolf?  What’s that?

Well, in America’s past, the American Indian tribes had many different societies that a man might belong to.  The Society of the Wolf was a very secretive society.  In fact, outside of its own members, no one else in the tribe knew who belonged to this society.  Why?  Because this was the society of those special individuals who were the eyes, the ears and the life blood of the tribe — the scout.

apachescout4And so, because my hero is a scout, my nose has been poked into books about the scout.  Now, one of the fascinating abilities of the scout of old was the particular way he moved in water.  So graceful was it, it has often been called the Scout’s Water Dance.

Let me tell you a bit about it.  We all know that if one drops a rock into the water — or any object — it makes concentric circles in the water.  Any movement, it would seem, would cause water to move and to announce the presence of man or animal in the water.  So, how did the scout of yesteryear manage to move in the water without being seen, without making those telltale concentric circles, and so be able to  stalk his prey, or obtain information on the enemy?

I’m going to rely heavily upon the book by Tom Brown, Jr., THE WAY OF THE SCOUT to tell you a little bit more about this.  As I said in my last post, Mr. Brown was taken under the wing of an old Apache Indian, whom Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, called Grandfather.  Grandfather had been trained as a young man into the ageless ways of the Society of the Wolf — the scout — and Grandfather wished to pass along some his knowledge so that these things didn’t pass out of existence.

cheyennescoutI’m going to quote from the book now.  Grandfather is speaking:

“You must first understand that it (water) is the blood of our earth Mother, the same blood that courses through your veins.  Once entering the water you must blend your mind with that of the water, thus becoming part of the water and ultimately becoming invisible while wrapped in its mind…  …You must learn to move with the water, for to disobey its laws and move against its power is to perish.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

And so started the lesson, which is at first a little humorous to read.  As Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, were learning to become part of the water, they were having a tough time of it — trying to keep clear of brushes and fallen logs in the water.  However, he goes on with the lesson and says in his book, “After nearly two full hours of being impaled, battered, and tangled in sharp brush, Rick and I gave in to the stream’s energy and began to move freely, silently, and quickly.”  He goes on to say, “The stream and Grandfather had somehow taught us a great lesson without uttering a word…”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

siouxscoutHowever, they had been going downstream and had reached their destination.  Now they had to somehow go upstream.  Says Mr. Brown that he and his friend Rick were struggling even more now and really fighting the currents of the water.  He says that both he and Rick were being beat up by the struggle to fight upstream.  Imagine then, these two boys, who upon emerging from the water being battered and tired, with no energy left, then found Grandfather waiting for them — for he had gotten far ahead of them in the water.  Says Mr. Brown, “He had that smile on his face, unruffled and relaxed, depicting an air of not having struggled at all.  Rick and I, on the other hand, were cold, exhausted, bruised, and cut…”

Grandfather then told the boys that they had chosen to fight the water, instead of moving with it.  But how can one move with the water upstream?  Grandfather answered their questions by signaling them to follow him back into the water.  And here’s what Mr. Brown writes:

“We began to follow Grandfather closely.  His motions were like those of a well-choreographed water dance, a flowing ballet, where he moved effortlessly.  He weaved back and forth, riding whirlpools, slipping through backwaters on the inside parts of bends in the stream, and dancing across submerged logs without a struggle.  He used the power of the waters to move him.”  THE WAY OF THE SCOUT by Tom Brown, Jr.

Isn’t that a beautiful description?0[5]  There is more, of course, as Mr. Brown and his friend, Rick, learn how to move in the water by watching herons and egrets who were in the shallows.  They learn how to raise up out of the water without leaving any of the telltale concentric circles, and they learn to stalk the more aware animals — a fox for example — from the water.  Mr. Brown says that he and his friend, Rick, went on to stalk all kinds of animals from the water, and he says, “We laughed at the antics of our local wildlife population around the waters of camp.  They had become a bit neurotic when approaching the water, but nonetheless seemed happy to join in the game.”

This is an incredible book and an even more incredible journey that Mr. Brown takes you on in this book.  It’s an older book, copyrighted in 1995.  But in the book, Mr. Brown makes mention of a school, a Wilderness Survival School.  If you’re interested, you might pick up the book and see if the school still exists.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the blog today and I hope you’ll leave a message.  Remember that SENECA SURRENDER is on sale at Amazon and Books-A-Million.  Pick up your copy today!

Links:  Amazon:


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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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16 thoughts on “The Society of the Wolf & The Water Dance”

  1. For anyone interested, here is the Amazon link for the Tom Brown Jr. Book that starts at $26.51:

    And here is a link for “Tom Brown Jr.’s Tracker School” that Karen mentioned above:

    Just FYI: When I at first typed in just “wilderness school” I can’t believe how many returns I got. A. LOT. One place had a two-day survival package for $200!

  2. Extremely interesting. Thanks so much for the article. I think it’s so fascinating. Now I want to know more, and will probably do research for more info. Thanks again.

    • Yes, I highly recommend Tom Brown, Jr.’s book. I have almost all of his books. I’m going to have to go and see if he has anything new. He also wrote a book entitled GRANDFATHER. I absolutely love that book.

    • Yes, doesn’t it? I love Tom Brown, Jr.’s books. Through him, we can learn about this fascinating society — probably not all of its secrets, but enough to fascinate us and intrigue us.

  3. In my mind I’m picturing the in water movements of a SEAL Unit or a DELTA Team. That kind of knowledge of blending and becoming one with your surroundings had to come from somewhere…

  4. Hi Starr!

    Well, I’m about 2/3’s of the way done with the story — then it goes to editorial, then revisions and then finally into a form to print. Probably will be ready for release some time in the fall, I’m thinking. Thanks so much for asking. Have you read all my books or is there one or two you haven’t? How about WOLF SHADOW’S PROMISE or THE PRINCESS AND THE WOLF? Those two books are put out by Harper Collins and they are not ones that I usually promote (mostly because I don’t have any of them on hand). Do let me know.

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