A thoughtful man in my Prague workshop wanted to understand the illness of a family member. This was on his mind as he left our first evening session. I had suggested to everyone in our lively group that they should experiment with "putting a question to the world". This meant carrying a clearly stated theme on which they wanted guidance, and then being open to receiving the first unusual, unexpected thing that turned up in their field of perception tn the world around them as a possible response from the oracle of the world.
Our dreamer walked down the snowy street and turned left into Old Town Hall Square. He saw an amazing scene unfolding in front of him. A headless bear was being pursued across the square by a pack of animals of various kind. The headless bear was a man in a bear outfit, missing the head. As he tried to grasp the nature of this astonishing theater, he saw a fox being chased by a second pack of animals.
When he shared the episode with us in our morning session, we all felt that the world had staged a special production, a dream theater, just for him. There was a fine run of coincidence at work. On my first evening in Prague, I had taken a table at a restaurant in front of the astrological clock in the Old Town Hall, waiting for six o'clock to chime and the procession of sainted figures to emerge from behind their shutters. I heard these words in English wafting from a nearby table: "It was the time when the fox drank water with the bears." Though tempted to get up ad ask the speaker for the context, I was content to let the mystery words hover in the air. They had the quality of an enchanted children's story, full of wonder, and also gave me a sense of confirmation the animal powers would be very active with my workshop group in Prague, in harmonious ways, as indeed proved to be the case.
During my first drumming on the first evening of the Prague workshop, I saw Bear and Fox standing on either side of a great tree, urging me to invite the group to enter the tree without delay, through a door, among the roots, to seek consultation with the animal doctors in the way that had proved wonderfully successful in my workshop in Utrecht the previous weekend
Now I proceeded to discuss what the theater of the headless bear and the running fox would mean to me, if I were seeking guidance on someone's illness and the way to healing. I suggested that our dreamer might want to help his sick relative to find ways to connect with Bear and Fox, perhaps by growing a story for him that would carry the energy. We talked about the Bear as a great medicine animal, and about the cleverness of Fox, as an animal that must be able both to hunt and to hide and has been - for me - an impeccable guide to ancestral matters, which can carry the code for contemporary complaints, and also their cure. I have noticed that people who are attacking bears in their dreams, or running away from them, are often avoiding their personal medicine.
Lewis Carroll provides a great further commentary on the Case of the Headless Bear:
He thought he saw a Coach-and-Four
That stood beside his bed.
He looked again, and found it was
A bear without a head.
"Poor thing,' he said, "Poor silly thing!
It's waiting to be fed!"
It's always time to feed the Bear (says the Bear).