The Great Star Bear
In most standard circles when one speaks of Shamanism,
thoughts turn to Native Americans and their Faith, but Shamanism is not
limited to anyone place or people. The Druids of ancient Gaul were shamans
of a sort. Animal spirits featured almost as heavily as humanistic deities.
These animals often included animals now thought to be mythical such as
dragons and others like them. Most animals were viewed in the same way as
humans were, children of the Goddess and God, and in their rightful place in
the scheme of things.
To the Celts there was wisdom to be found in all things
and in the animals that surrounded them. They also shared a similar world
view to the Native Americans in that the Sky and Earth were linked by living
things. The constellations (and their animal like shapes) seemed as
reflections to these people and thus their earthly counterparts held power.
From a perspective ( that I discuss in more detail on my dragon magick
pages) these Forces act as catalysts for parts of our inner selves..
awakening dormant parts of our psyche (whether subconscious or conscious).
The act of Invoking or working with these Primal animals develops these
dormant parts of our psyche, strengthening them and bringing them to the
forefront of our personalities.
While I am not Native American, I can say that my
heritage comes from the Gallic Druids and their particular brand of
shamanism. I draw upon my ancestry and ancestral spirits often, that I may
stay in touch with my roots. This connection has given me a deeper
understanding of how shamanism works than I ever would have had without it,
thus I am grateful for my experiences with them.
In the old language Bear is 'Art', and there were
several old celtic festivals that revolved around Bear as a central image.
The ancient druid festival of Alban Arthuan (time of the white bear ) was
celebrated around the winter solstice with the celestial power of Bear
symbolizing the union of power and wisdom (thus we use Bear as a northern
animal). To these people (and today) Bear represents the Power of the
Heavens and the Wisdom of the Earth. Bear is a Healer, a Protector, and an
Initiator into the mysteries of life. There is a story that says all life
came from the Great Bear Mother. The first beings were born without shape
and the the Bear Mother licked them into the desired shape (thus the phrase
'licked into shape' that we use today)
As with Archetypes of this kind, Bear can be male or
female. This gender distinction is largely resultant from the Practitioners
own beliefs influencing the manifestation. When Male, Bear is called "Ardehe"
which is pronounced (AR-thay-day), and when female, Bear is "Andarta"
pronounced as (AN-thard-ah). When calling upon Bear you can use either name,
as you would use the name of any deity when invoking them.
Invocation to Bear as Northern
"With the Blessings of the Great Bear of the
Starry Heavens and the Deep and Fruitful Earth,
We call Upon the Power of the North."
Welcoming Chant to Bear
"Into my sacred Circle, I welcome the
Spirit of Bear,
Inner World Initiator and Healer.
Open the doors of my Heart, my Mind,
and my Spirit, that I may become One with My selves.
And through that Union, gain the strength of
self-awareness and self mastery.
Meld my strength and intuition,
that I may walk this world in Wisdom and Power."
Awakening Chant to Bear
"Come O Spirit of The Great Bear,
Awaken in your hidden Lair.
Dancer in the Starry Sky,
Awaken my inner eye.
Great Medicine Singer,
And healing Bringer,
Grant me the Power in your Roar,
Root it deep within my core.
Grant me Might in Claw,
And Healing touch in Paw.
O Spirit of The Great Bear:
AWAKEN the Bear in Me!
AWAKEN the Bear in Me!
AWAKEN THE BEAR IN ME!
"I am Bear
Bear is Me
Bear has Awakened
The Bear in Me!"
(repeat to build power, etc)
"Bear of the Woodlands
Bear of the Sky
Bear of my Forefathers
Bear that does not die!
Andarta, Andarta, Andarta!
Arthede, Arthede, Arthede!
(repeat for power, etc.)