In a guided Equinox meditation recently, I had the imaginal experience of a bear settling down next to me, as I was seated under a tree. I could smell the dank musky aroma of the animal body and I could feel the thick rough dense fur under my fingers.
I had never been that close to a bear before.
Of course I looked up Bear Medicine as soon as I could type “Google.”
I was not surprised to read references to solitude and hibernation, introspection, as well as strength, groundedness, and courage.
I didn’t realize that bears are also considered symbols of resurrection and rebirth because of their disappearance in Winter and re-emergence in the Spring.
They are associated with the Great Mother, into whose wombs they crawl, only to be reborn joyfully, like frisky children.
Now as the days slide into darkness, and move towards Winter in the North, where I live, the urge to pull within can be strong.
Perhaps you’re feeling that too – are you? I certainly am.
But of course, impending Winter is not our only reason for pulling in.
Most of us have been enduring an enforced hibernation for six months now, coming out of our caves when we can.
For some this solitude has served as a time to go deeper, but for many it has not been welcome.
And for too many – those on the front lines or juggling work with home-schooling or in the throes of financial anxiety – the deep rest and peace of the Bear Cave has been all too elusive.
None of us can fail to notice the degree of chaos and fear running riot in our world. Who would not be forgiven for seeking to escape from that?
In this crazy time there are outer stressors and inner ones. Many people feel guilty for not being more “productive” during their forced down time, as though normal expectations still apply.
Actually, the intensity, speed, and overwhelm of events happening around us seem to require – in my opinion – a pulling back, a taking stock, a gathering of resources. A slowing down. A waiting.
This is certainly not a time for business as usual. As many have observed, “normal” is a thing of the past.
We’re in new territory and the ground keeps shifting under our feet more and more. (And I think we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.)
These deep tectonic movements can feel quite destabilizing and even frightening.
On another level, though, I sense a lot of pieces being moved out of the way, getting ready for some radical shifts that are coming. The same shifts many of us have been longing for, for years.
I don’t know when the rebirth will come or what form it will take. Or what we will go through to get there. The birth process is known for being painful and messy, and it can take longer than we hoped.
But that pain often dims in memory when you hold your baby in your arms. New birth is worth waiting for.
I personally deeply believe that the “more beautiful world our hearts know is possible” is more than just possible. I believe that – despite the many risks along the way – it is ultimately destined.
I believe that humanity’s optimal future – the one we desire – is also calling us. And that we can cooperate with it to bring it closer.
If we only look at the most disturbing evidence around us, we are giving that energy, and feeding that outcome. It takes the strength, groundedness, and courage of the Bear to stay rooted in our deeper truth and keep our focus on that.
As I was told recently, in a spirit-message I received, it is time for us to throw our anchor into that more beautiful Future. In fact, there’s a part of us that already lives there!
I think hibernation can be a good thing.
Although the “show”out there is riveting and has us all at the edge of our seats, some of us might be wise to pull within and do the deep dreaming of the Cave Bear, dreaming the world into being.
If that’s your role, I thank you.