Moss and Stone - an Interview with Camilla 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 "Koala" Stefansdotter is a woodswoman at heart, most at home in the kind of forest that “other people just walk past because it’s so overgrown with trees.” It was grey drizzly day in November when I met Camilla for an outdoor interview and she led me into a forest she has been exploring since she was a child. “My dad used to take us here when we were kids,” says Camilla, “and he was the one who introduced me to 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.”
"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 and way of life for Camilla in her work as a medicine woman and teacher, holding ceremonies, workshops and courses in rune 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 she allows the runes to guide her and show her where to hold certain 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’s connection to nature has deepened over the years as she has become more aware of it. As a child, she was often aware of nature spirits but didn’t deliberately make 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 accustomed 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 relationship 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 an online course in rune magic. ”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…"