But, the first sculpture I made with bear as shaman came before I read the book.
In fact, the very first bear I sculpted in this series came into form on the same night when the recently departed husband of a good friend of mine came back to visit her. As a bear. When I saw her Facebook post the next morning, I got chills all over (the good kind!) In the night, a bear had climbed up on her porch, leaving claw marks on the bannister. The same night when I'd spontaneously created a small bear figure to sit inside my latest sculpture.
Shortly after, I started another sculpture of a sleeping bear inside a spherical vessel.
I'd been thinking a lot about spirit animals since our winter trip to Mexico when out of nowhere I started painting spirit animals. So, naturally, I wanted to make spirit animal sculptures to explore the idea further. So, I made a small model of a sleeping bear inside a sphere and then started sculpting a larger sleeping bear sculpture, intending to lay the figure of a woman curled up with the spirit bear.
I had the sleeping bear sculpture half-built when I impulsively started reading Martha Beck's new book. "Diana, Herself" is a good, fast, thought-provoking, soul-stirring book...
The book ends with a scene where the goddess protagonist CURLS UP TO SLEEP IN THE ARMS OF THE GREAT-MOTHER BEAR GODDESS.Exactly what I was already sculpting, WTF?! Okay, a little freaky, but I was secretly pleased at all the synchronicity. I'd really tapped into the spirit world on this one. Now all I had to do was keep creating faithfully and hold on for the wild ride.
That's when the Great-Mother Bear Goddess came looking for me. In person.
It was turkey season, a few weekends ago, and my husband was out hunting south of Madison, Wisconsin when he came upon bear tracks. All up and down the river on the DNR hunting land. I've lived here for 15 years and never heard of bears this far south. I got chills again. I told him the mother bear goddess was looking for me. He laughed me off. I kept sculpting.
Then, two weeks ago, there was a report of a black bear RIGHT HERE IN OUR TOWN.
The police were warning people that a bear had been sighted on the west-side of town. I was so excited! I started whispering things to the goddess when I took the dog out at night. I let her know I was listening and I kept expecting to walk out my door to the vision of a great black bear in our yard. That part hasn't happened yet.
But I had another vision.
I saw this archetypal bear goddess, symbol of the sacred feminine, as a sculpture on her own. No World Within Worlds vessel for her to hide in. The bear-goddess was ready to come out and stand on her own.
Arms outstretched, maternal milk ready, the Great-Mother-Bear Goddess is guardian over births and deaths. She is the sacred feminine given body.
I am still sculpting. I am still listening for her next message.
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