There is a lot of wisdom to take from She-Bear, if you’d listen, and open your mind. For some (me included) this… Wasn’t easy. I had my biases growing up, and Bear was no different from the Bernstein Bears, Smokey, Yogi, and more. Bears only did certain things. That’s IT. Holy shit was I surprised!
Bear took on Her gender about 40,000 years ago. She emerged with cubs at Her breast, with a bear-mask Herself, and there were images of humans with bear cubs, and bears with human infants nursing off our Mother Bear.
I’ve been reading about the Bear Mother nursing the Deities of Vegetation, of either gender. They are nursed over winter, and emerge stronger and more potent than before. It is certainly something to ponder over a good bowl of pipe tobacco.
Arta in my belief is the mighty Ancestress – who showed us the North Star, who taught the blacksmiths, inspired the mighty berserkers to frenzy, taught the healers, as well as teaching us how to remember.
Even Artemis is considered the daughter of the Bear. (Update: This was corrected thanks to Dver)
Every spring, Arta rises and teaches us from what She’s learned of the Underworld, which spans from the Underworld to the Upper Skies. She has an immense knowledge, and can teach you damn near anything if you just hush and listen. And… Take notes. A lot of notes.
I learned that to hear ‘everything from many worlds you need to hear their echo’s’ – where better than the Underworld? This is something we could all meditate on, myself included!
This time of year, I feel Her as Lady of the Beasts. The animals are out, about, and even the flora is whispering to the twelve winds. Also, honoring Her martial aspect – that tough and resilient strength that through disciplined ecstasy we can overcome physical flaws and weaknesses and conquer not only fear, doubt, and physical limitations but at the same time emerge wiser, and stronger from the experience alone.
Like I said, Arta is a badass.
I do think Bear worship and reverence is important in this day and age, due mostly to the absence and removal of information due to invasion, conversion, and violence. I think it is important to go back to the source, and maybe re-learn what’s been lost that will be applicable and profound in our era. I think we’ve forgotten more than we realize?
Bears are so human-like it’s unnerving at first. I have had many encounters with bears, but none of them were vicious. Maybe that was a prologue to my later life? Could be, maybe not. Maybe I don’t ‘smell’ like a threat to bears.. Hell I don’t know! They slept in my tent, on the hood of my car, raided my beer, ate my sweets – but never attacked me even when I approached. It was more of a ‘party crash‘ sort of situation.I have watched several sunsets with a black bear near me, watching the fish jump and the night creatures awaken. I will always hold those moments dear to me.
Not sure what that means, but there you have it.
We have much in common – wanting the best homes to reside in, walking flat footed, using out appendages to open, work, and manipulate our surroundings, we’re opportunistic eaters, when we’re injured we’ll seek to heal ourselves first, we can both walk upright, and we both communicate in distinct mediums.
I am learning as time goes on to see Arta as a type of Green-Woman. When She sleeps, so does the trees and plants. When She rises, everything blooms. This is something I’m still working with – as I do not live on an agricultural calendar, nor a pastoral one. These lifestyles in my belief are made possible by the blessings of the Bear Gods and Goddesses the world over.
I know, it’s just me who sees it that way.
And so in closing, this time of year I always seek to strengthen myself, and it is the time of year I affirm my beliefs, the ‘why’s’ to what I do, and I take several salt baths to cleanse myself, and eat salts before hand to cleanse from the inside out. It is the time I reflect how much I’ve learned from my Primal Mother at this rising of the Thunder/Summer Moon.
I don’t recommend doing this after sweating excessively – take it from a welder and fabricator. Do this when you have at least 2-4 hours to cool off and hydrate as a health precaution. Intake of salt is a proper part of hydration, but hold off on the salt bath until you’ve cooled off.
So in closing, I hope you can meet Arta, and learn from Her.
To you Arta! I raise my toast!