Thursday, January 5, 2017

Healed in the grip of She Bear

A she-bear is among us. I volunteer to deal with her. She is enormous, maybe six hundred pounds. Light in color, lighter than honey-brown. She grips my head in the crook of her arm, and holds it against her, close to her face. We spend four days in this intimate embrace. It is not uncomfortable, but I am aware that at any moment she could break my neck.
   At the end of four days, the people who were with me at the outset gather around us again. One is a woman scientist or zoologist. They now have the means to release me.
    But the she-bear lets me go without a struggle, confident of our relationship. She shambles away into a space that had been prepared for her, in a room off the corridor of an institutional building, a university or teaching hospital facility.
   When I start talking about her, she returns to look at me.
    I stare into her beautiful eyes. 
    “You are Artemis,” I tell her. “I am Osiris.”

Feelings: I had been suffering persistent wooziness and blurred vision before the dream. These symptoms were now gone. I felt physically restored, confident about things, open to adventure.

Reality: I have come to know the Bear as the great medicine animal of North America, where I live. I knew that warriors in the Europe of my ancestors called on the power of the Bear as a fierce protector. I know that Osiris is the model of one who rises from death, under the wings of a goddess.
   For the connection between Artemis and the Bear, I turned to my personal library, and immediately found this, in the Jane Ellen Harrison's classic work Themis: A Study of the Origins of Greek Religion: "The well-born, well-bred little Athenian girls who danced as Bears to Artemis of Brauronia, the Bear-Goddess, could not but think reverently of the great might of the Bear.”
   Harrison added the important general insight that "the mystery gods…are never free of totemistic hauntings, never quite shed their plant and animal shapes. That lies in the very nature of their sacramental worship. They are still alive with the life-blood of all living things from which they sprang."

Comment: In my current state of hibernation (the literal meaning is simply "passing the winter") I am deep in old journals. The report above comes from my journal for April 1999. As I read the journal entry again, the memory of healing streams through me, sweet and bright as mountain honey.
Bear has come to me again and again, over many years, to offer healing for me and for others. Great Mother Bear has come to offer soul recovery healing for many who come to my workshops. I have seen it again and again: Within the supportive energy of a circle of active dreamers, you journey with the drum to find a missing part of yourself, perhaps that magical child who took leave of this world because it seemed too cold and too cruel, and has been living all these years in a Land of Lost Girls or Lost Boys. You find that child, but she won't come to live fully in your body and your present life unless you can convince her you are safe and you are fun. That's not so easy. But when you take her in your arms, and hold her, Great Mother Bear comes and wraps her great arms around both of you, holding you gently but firmly together until you are one.

Drawings by Robert Moss

1 comment:

frances gilley said...

Wonderful. I love your child like drawings! Bear is important to me, also. My Indian name given to me, is White Bear!