Bear’s Day


( a pool created by mountain waters flowing into El Rito Creek)


Crystal waters cascade

down craggy mountains

blessing desert scrub.

Cottonwood buds sing.

Bears dream renewal,

tangled under pulsing

roots of light.


Working Notes:


The Powers of Water and Light …


Last night I dreamed that I was on top of a craggy mountain, astonished and bewildered as I witnessed a clear mountain waterfall cascading down mossy crevices nourishing the desert below… Equal amounts of joy and disbelief awakened me probably because our desert is still struggling with drought.


Although we have had a winter reprieve with much needed snow falling in some Northern mountains we are still in need of adequate spring rains to nourish our desert scrub, wildflowers, and trees. At the very least I am hoping we experience a spring run off which will bless Red Willow River by raising her waters.


I continue to imagine the spring rains that will make the roots of every plant and tree sing as the days shrink the night…


This is a very special time of year because the waters do begin to rise in many parts of the world. This rising of the waters is traditionally also a time of purification for peoples who are preparing for spring renewal.


The intensifying light brings longer warmer days. Every cultural tradition notes this shift even in a distorted form. In the United States we remember February second as “groundhog day,” the day the groundhog emerges from his underground lair. If the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow spring will not come for another 6 weeks. The old story was obfuscated by Europeans when they came to this country.


Originally, the groundhog was a bear.


Wild Bears of all species do emerge from their dens for brief periods during early February to drink snow and to urinate. The females are also birthing their cubs


In Indigenous mythology throughout the U.S. all   (black, grizzly, polar) bears are seen as the animal that voluntarily enters the underworld, survives death, and returns to birth new life in the “first light” of the following spring.


Bear is the ultimate embodiment of renewal.


Until recently in some rural places in central Europe a chained Shrovetide Bear was led from house to house, often made to dance on hot coals to help the crops grow.


Here in New Mexico, the Tewa hold the Deer Dances at dawn. The power of Avanyu, Serpent of the Rivers and flowing Waters is acknowledged as a sacred Life Force. Another Tewa dance honors his coming…


Some ancient Goddess traditions celebrate Brigid (also aspected as a bear), as goddess of poetry and mistress of the forge. Each year on February 2nd I light a crown of candles to celebrate the Bear’s Return, the power of Brigid’s Fire and Light. I also pour river water on the Earth as a blessing singing a little song for Her renewal.


Blessings to all on Bear’s Day.

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