In the Priestess of Avalon Tradition, Ostara Season/March-April/Mid Spring/When the daffodils turn up is when we honour the Goddess as Mother of Fire and Artha the ancestral bear goddess. Rawr!
Artha is a name for the primal Bear Goddess who once lived and was worshipped in the British Isles and all over Europe as Artio (a misc Gaulish bear goddess) and Artemis Calliste (who had a big bear-centred following in Ancient Greece). We did have bears here in the British Isles once upon a time – we’d hunted them all down by the 10th century so they have been gone a long time, but they would have been present in pre-Christian Britain.
My experiences with the Bear Goddess this month have been all about protection and surrender.
The Bear Goddess shows us the fierce love that the Goddess has for us – how as her cubs she will protect us and is supporting us in everything we do. She celebrates our victories with us, is there to help us out when we mess stuff up, and is always rooting for us and cheering us on. She wants us to know we are safe and looked after and protected, always, by her, and all we have to do is be aware of it.
It’s hard to describe as it just sounds like words, so work with me here. Take a few deep breaths and imagine that the Goddess is in front of you in her bear form, and she loves you so much. She takes you in her huge, powerful arms and holds you close to her, burying you in her thick fur – you can feel it’s slightly oily texture, smell the scent of animal in it and the heat of her body. Feel how protected you are, how loved, how much this Bear Mother would fight for you. Really sink into it. Surrender into that feeling.
Ain’t it great?
That’s the feeling I have had through this month’s work with the bear goddess.
I think working with the Goddess as an Animal brings home truths about her that are hidden when we imagine her in our own human forms – in her animal form she just feels so tactile and so real, perhaps because animals are another world to us humans, and for sure you’d never catch me trying to hug a bear in real life!
I also feel that in her animal forms we can more clearly experience her peace and the idea that though our big human brains are super smart, they completely overthink everything and create all this drama and worry and complicated scenarios. Animals live in the now, and us humans live in memories (past) or plans (future). You wouldn’t get an squirrel worrying for hours over wether he hid his nuts in the right place or not. He’d be like – nuts be done. You wouldn’t get a fox beating herself up about the fact that her last kill wasn’t killed in the most efficient way, or a lioness self-hating on not catching a wildebeast. No way.
I feel that’s another really inspiring piece of wisdom we can take from the Bear Goddess.