Moss and Stone - an Interview with Camilla Koala Stefansdotter
”I love the really dense kind of forest… when other people just walk past because it’s so overgrown with trees... that’s when I go down under...”
Camilla is a woodswoman at heart, home in the wild woods, among thick green moss and rocks. She has been wandering the woods ever since she was a child growing up in a suburb south of Stockholm, and it was often her father who took her into the woods, exploring ancient remains and runes.
Both Camilla and her father were fascinated by rocks. “My dad always had a camera with him when we were outdoors, and he often tried to take pictures of the rocks, but was always disappointed with the photos when we came home. I realised that the photos couldn’t capture the soul of the rock, and it was that which fascinated both us, the actual soul of the rock, and although my dad tried to, he just couldn’t capture it with a photo. The rocks have their own personality. Sometimes they are friendly, and other times they want to be left alone. You have to show respect.”
On a grey November day I met up with Camilla and she led me into her woods – a forest called “Rudans Nature Reserve” that she has been exploring ever since she was a little girl. “My dad used to take us here when we were kids,” says Camilla, “and he was the one who introduced me to runes...”
“You have to live and journey with the runes in order to truly grasp their wisdom.”
A deep fascination for rocks and runes has become a passion for Camilla and she runs her own business, holding ceremonies and teaching courses in rune wisdom and magic. “You cannot learn about runes in a book,” says Camilla. “You have to live and journey with the runes in order to truly grasp their wisdom. Every rune is a friend that you must get to know in your own way. It’s a process that takes time.”
“I live with runes,” says Camilla, “and I think I am always going to be living in rune cycles.” Sometimes when Camilla goes into the woods, she allows a certain rune to guide her and show her where to hold ceremonies. “I remember especially this one time when I was drumming with Eoh, the rune of plants, and I was led into a kind of cleft in a mountain... and there were all sorts of trees that formed a kind of archway above me, and I sat there for hours, drumming, singing and just feeling so at home...”
Camilla has a close connection with nature and we talked about her experience with nature spirits, faeries and trolls. For Camilla, the spirits of nature have many different forms and expressions, and she finds it difficult to capture them with words. Her connection with the spirits of nature is something that has deepened over the years as she has become more aware of her connection. “When I was younger I was aware of them but didn’t deliberately take contact with them. Since a few years ago I have been able to see nature spirits more clearly and communicate with them. In the beginning I connected with them by drumming. Before you open up completely it can be helpful to use some kind of medium, like a drum.”
“There are many different kinds of nature spirits, some live under the earth and in other realms, and some live more in our “realm” so to speak. The ones that live here are more used to humans and want to live in harmony with us. They have also learnt how to avoid us when they need to. The spirits who live deep under the earth are not as familiar with us and when we go into their territory they can get angry... but I don’t believe in evil spirits. They can be angry if we intrude upon their territory and that is understandable.”
There is a nature spirit that I call Soldisa and I first met her in the forest one morning when the sun was shining through the mist... she is like a shimmer of sunlight... and she giggles and is really playful, and sometimes shows me places in the forest... and she is the kind of spirit that enjoys having contact with people.”
Camilla believes that the spirits of nature choose when to make contact with people and how they reveal themselves depends on the person who sees them. “I think that they try to show themselves in a way that we can understand and also depending on what we are open to... I mean, I don’t think they have clothes in the sense that we do but they can choose to adapt themselves to our customs when they want to be seen.”
“But they don’t show themselves to all people... not the kind who just run through the forest... more the kind of person who enjoys just being in nature.”
She who dances with the animals...
When I asked Camilla about her connection with her inner “wild woman” and how she would describe her, she said that her medicine name which she has been given is hon som dansar med djuren – she who dances with the animals. “She dances around the fire, following the rhythm of the elements and all the animals.”
Camilla runs her own business as a dog trainer and animal communicator, and in her work she especially strives to “bridge the gap between humans and animals.” Many of the dogs that come to Camilla have gone through some kind of loss or separation, and she helps the dog owners to see the dog’s emotional needs. “People don’t always understand when their pet is going through something difficult, and what they can do to help.”
Currently Camilla is preparing to launch a new online course in Sweden for people who wish to dive into the magic and wisdom of runes.
”Someone once told me that the meaning with life is to find your gift and share it with others... and I agree with that, and would also say that your gift is your medicine... it is my medicine and what I can give to the world..."
If you wish to learn more about Camilla and her work with animals, runes and magic, then check out her website.