The Big Bear Moon/ First Light



Blood Red Sunrise.

a precursor of

a coppery round moon

to come?

Ominous perhaps,

But also Nature’s phenomena

manifesting at perigee,

ending a month of double moons –

tricksters who take bites out of each other

wearing skulls with sharp spikes.


We honor the Great Celestial Bear

who climbs into the Northern sky

escaping Orion’s wrath,

his need to slaughter

turned back on himself,

a directional reversal…

She steers the wheel towards

First Light.


She is forever free to roam the night skies.

Shuddering, his power waning

he slips below the horizon,

a mole gone to ground.

With the approaching spring season

She Rises!

A Datura moon seed taking root…*

She is:

Queen of the Star cracked heavens,

Mistress of the Fire,

A pure white fragrant moon blossom..

Goddess of the coming Light.


We Crown her with candles

Birth poets, artists, from her Visions.

Her waters flow, purifying our thoughts

Healing broken souls – susto* –

– illness –

brought on by “power over”

and the obsession to be right.

Our Lady watches over her namesakes

as black bear cubs snuggle deep in furry wonder,

ascend the mountain of her warm black body to play.


It is The Great Bear’s heartbeat

that drums the Spring Song,

a refrain we long to hear…



Working notes:


  • the Chumash Indians celebrate January’s full moon as the moon that is sacred to the visionary plant Datura. In honor of this moon and the coming of the light I am rooting some Datura seeds. Amazingly, when I started this process two days ago I never expected to see a rootlet appear within 24 hours… it normally takes 3 – 8 weeks to germinate these seeds. I surmise that the rootlets appeared because this moon is sacred to Datura plants and they know it!


  • Susto is a Spanish word used to describe “soul loss” or the weeping soul, a diagnosis that Indigenous medicine healers use when treating a child or adult whose soul has literally never incarnated in the body, or has fled its home because of severe trauma. PTSD and anxiety disorders fall into this category. Western medicine treats the physical body and excludes both spirit and soul so people do not heal.


In the Indigenous way of thinking the spirit surrounds the soul and body protecting it from harm, but trauma creates holes in spirit and the soul takes flight, leaving a person lifeless, depressed, without normal defenses to fight depression or disease. Returning the soul to the body and healing the holes in spirit is the medicine person’s job.


I witnessed this process of soul recovery firsthand when I was working in the Amazon. Until then I had never heard of susto but the moment I did I understood that it was part of my history. This discovery has changed my life.


Now I understand that when severely traumatized as I have been recently due to sleep deprivation that soul loss becomes inevitable, and that it takes awareness, patience and attention to spirit, soul and body to recover what was lost. I am still in the process of recovery at the time of this writing.


It is critical to note that anyone who has an intimate relationship with Nature and has plants and animals will also see negative changes in these companions. During this last episode of mine I lost a dear friend and sister, a passionflower I have loved for many years (13 years). I watched her in horror simply withering away before my eyes.


As a therapist I have been blessed to be able to help others recover from soul loss  due to severe trauma. In my experience, the older one is before being diagnosed the more difficult it is to recover completely – but speaking for myself it was a relief to pinpoint the problem.