White Bear

800px-Polar_white_bear_ursus_maritimus.jpgPhoto: Eric Regeler –  U.S. Fish and Wildlife


She came to me

in a dream

under the shadow of a ripening moon.

Wet fur shining

great paw extended

curved claws

gently nudging me

from behind.


Fright bound,

I fled.

Hovering over

my shivering body

I watched

sapphires on the run

spinning a crown

over her head.

The space in between

cracked awe and reverence,

above all,



I felt my heartbeat quicken

as I slipped through

thick fur

the color of eggshells.

The ragged hole

in the Bear’s neck

healed on my return.

We breathed deep

as revelation

struck earthbound feeling.


Right relationship is All.


Working notes:

As a woman with Native American roots and one who is also an animist I believe that humans and all living creatures have a spirit and a soul. The spirit is transcendent, the soul embodies the more personal aspects of the animal or human.

I suspect that the spirit and soul reside in the instinctual realm of the “unconscious” body. In humans having access to our instincts allows us to live authentic lives.

However, in western culture people are taught to suppress instinct/feeling and elevate the mind. This cultural process cuts us away from both spirit and soul on a bodily level. In the process we may lose track of ourselves. This poem is about what happens to one woman who is cut away from her instinctual body as a small child and learns to fear it (perhaps as an infant).

When I finally understood what had happened to me I hoped that the conscious decision to return to my abandoned body/spirit/soul would be possible. It has taken most of my life to heal this split and even today my natural tendency is to leave my body when fear strikes. Unlike humans, animals are  automatically attached to their spirit and soul through their instinctual bodies so it is not surprising that animals, especially bears and dogs have been my most powerful teachers…

A few weeks ago I lost Snowy, a dog that I loved that didn’t even belong to me (see last essay about Snowy). Death always pulls my spirit and soul out of my body. I know it’s happening but I am unable to do anything about the involuntary splitting. During these periods I feel like I have lost myself. For the last three and a half weeks I have not lived in my body. Yesterday I went with my friend to pick up a new puppy. I was not sure if I was ready to see a new dog of the same breed, but the decision was not mine to make. Much to my amazement I immediately fell in love with the new dog who looked like a little white bear. I could sense that she had her own powerful  personality which became apparent almost immediately as I held her in my arms all the way home. We communicated directly through words, unspoken body language and touch. She did not remind me of Snowy, for which I was deeply grateful. When we reached my friend’s house the little white bear dog solemnly approached each of the five children and the three adult dogs introducing herself to her new family. I had the uncanny sense that she knew exactly what she was doing. No one mentioned Snowy. Yet strangely, last night I had a one line dream – a pronouncement which stated: “Snowy is coming back!” In the dream I experienced a moment of pure joy, which awakened me quite suddenly. When I got up this morning I was full of energy; I felt whole, – like myself again. I sensed that somehow Snowy must have returned…

In my experience at the time of death the spirit and soul leave the animal body behind… Depending on the circumstances this process usually takes a few days during which time it is possible to feel the spirit/soul presence of the animal (or person), have vivid dreams or visions etc as I did with Snowy. What happens next is something of a Great Mystery. It may be that if the animal has lived a full life the soul and spirit of that animal moves on, but if the life of the dog is cut short as Snowy’s life was then the spirit and the soul may need to return to help those who have been left behind.

I think the powerful rush of energy that I experienced when I awakened may have been Snowy returning to heal my broken soul/spirit body connection. Her gift to me.

When I next visited my friends I was thrilled to see that the little bear dog seemed fully integrated into her new home although she appeared quite indifferent to me. It was hard to fathom that she had been with her new family for less than 24 hours. I noted that the terrible emptiness that had permeated the house since Snowy’s death had lifted. Could it be that the little “white bear” dog that has joined my friends manifests the more impersonal spirit of Snowy who will remain with them throughout this dog’s life time?

There are no answers here, only more questions but I am adding these working notes the day after I posted “White Bear” and before and after I met the little “white bear” dog….so for me at least, all of this writing is intimately connected.


7 thoughts on “White Bear

  1. I love it that you added these working notes and that they are filled with mystery and with questions. And then the photo — little white-bear dog looks directly at the camera, as if she’s greeting everyone who will see her picture. What a sweetheart …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Harriet, I am so happy to have you responding to my blog again – you have been sorely missed. And I like re -reading these working notes because usually they get lost in my journal – so much better to post them – I am always hoping that I can hook one person at least with those questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My two princesas amazonas, two bóxer sisters named Tina and Frida, died last year, leaving me bereft, even incapacitated, by grief, one in February of lymphoma and the other in September of lung cancer.

    These two dear girls, sweet little Amazon princessas, were my soul mates, a term I do not use often. They would visit me in my dreams, from time to time, especially when I had been crying abjectly. I would waken elated and feel relief.

    A few months ago, a friend told me there were boxers at the pound, where they are killed off not adopted. When I arrived, I was not able to adopt the ones I went for. While leaving, a shelter worker saw me and took me to see one bound to be killed the next day. She had been bred repeatedly, then left in a small kennel in sub freezing rain for days without food or shelter. She was emaciated, a walking skeleton with ears filled with dozens of ticks, and bedraggled teats. She also had a large tumor on her knee.

    She came to me immediately and I agreed to take jet. The shelter worker could not believe I wanted her because of her age and health. They delivered her to me the next day and she ran to me as soon as they set her down in my front yard. She had no name, so I called her Lily, associated both with death and renewal. She immediately felt at home. She strikingly has some of Tina and some of Frida in appearance. She’s so happy now, and so am I, although still I cry for my girls and sing their special songs to them.

    Lily’s tumor had Type 2 mast cells. So far nothing has grown back at that site. We’ll see if more metastacize.

    Any way, sorry to go on, but your story just touched me on so many levels. Thank you.


    1. Oh, but I want you to go on! I want and need to hear stories from like minded women! Your gift to the Mother of the Dogs and all animals will not go unnoticed. May Lily live a long long time… As for the grief of losing our dogs…I don’t experience myself as ever getting over a loss… but rather that I learn to live with the hole these animals leave behind. My dead dogs come to me in dreams guiding me and my sense is that all of us are somehow present for one another but that this reality is outside time as we normally experience it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry for typos.

    At the county animal shelter, dogs are killed IF (not off) no one adopts and the Humane Society will not take them.

    Jet should be her; I agreed to take her, not jet.


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