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The Waking Of Mama Bear - a story for spring equinox from the Temple of Ursa

Its dark in here at the back of the cave, this is the dark that has kept me safe through the winter. In this dingy den I have slept in the arms of Mama Bear. I am Bear Clan Mama. Her musty animal smell has enveloped me as she snuffled and snored her way through the icy storms. Outside the cave in the wild lands the wind has raged and, the rains lashed and then the earth settled into an icy sleep. Inside here there were times I feared my heart would freeze in the cold creeping shadows, but I leaned into the great bulky body of Mama Bear and heard her heartbeat as she slumbered. Outside in the winter sky the dream bears Ursa Major and her cub Ursa Minor danced in the stars. Below the earth from the inky black the fragile root tendrils of stories push their way through the crepuscular soil. Sometime after winter solstice when the nights are deep and long Mama Bear squirmed and shuffled in her sleep and partly opened her dreamy eyes to the gloom...She was giving birth, from her belly emerged a tiny cub, so small and fragile that had it been a human it would be too premature to live. But Mama Bear scoops the tiny blind naked beloved cub to her belly and begins to feed it. And we settle down to rest again in the dingy darkness. And through the gloomy days and black nights the cub feeds, and Mama Bear and me snooze on, and the star bears dance on in the frosty sky, and the inky stories form a rooty web in the cold earth, and Mama Bears heart beats its steady pace until....

One day a breeze blows in from the cave entrance. It carries a new smell that tickles our nostrils and sweeps away the rank and musty scent of our winter bodies. The drip and tinkle of snowmelt trickles through our dreams and washes our eyes open, and the heavy weight of slumber lifts from our bodies and we stretch and squiggle and feel our limbs again

A warm ray of sunlight breaks through the gloom and pierces the shadows with its bright joy, and me and Mama Bear move, rolling apart and slowly standing we shuffle tentatively towards the light at the cave mouth, shaking off sleep and unfurling our bodies. And here at the cave mouth in the limpid equinox light I stumble across my hearth fire, the old autumn peats still smoor it and a feint warmth glows from within. Mama Bear rakes the peats aside and stirs up the embers with her great claws, she lumbers out into the sunlight beyond the threshold and fills her lungs with bright clear fresh air, drinking in great gulps and sighing away her sleep. She returns to the embers and breathes this bright new energy into the fire, the flames flicker into action, all at once leaping and dancing to her life breath. Drawn towards this heat and energy from the fading shadows comes her cub, padding on fluffy wobbly legs she scampers to her mother’s side, she shakes and squeaks with the wonder of this waking day. Her cub is no longer blind and helpless, she has her own strength and energy, and is driven by curiosity and playfulness. Mama bear leads her out onto the new grass beyond the cave and their tread releases the fresh green smell from the shoots of the stories sprouting up from the earth and the sun shines on their fur and my heart burns with love for them. I watch as Mama Bear leads her enthusiastic one away and out into the valley, exploring amongst green leaves and vibrant blooms as they go. I turn back to my blazing hearth fire and from the pouch which hangs at my waist take a bee’s wax candle and light it from the flames kindled by the strong breath of Mama Bear. Now it is my turn to step out into the springtime. I am Bear clan Mama and I am returning to you, my tribe with the flame of Mama Bear. This light holds all the creative playful joy of the cub, it’s time to step out and explore your creative dreams that you have held safe through the sleeping winter, now it is time to wake up, to paint, to sing, to dance to write them into life. This flame holds the heat and passion and courage of the breath of Mama Bear, come out of your sleeping cave, emerge into the blossoming valleys, return to your clans and be your brilliant, shining, radiant selves....

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