I was gifted a bear hide last year. It came to me frozen, so I just put it right into the freezer. Thinking the hide was just the body of the bear without the head and paws. It was a small black bear, so I was thinking I'd just make rattles and a drum out of it. And so it sat in it's ice cave until this lady happened.... This is Pixie Campbell, mama of SouLodge. She is a powerful guide, supporter of women, and fellow magic maker. On Imbolc of this year I was sitting in a circle of hers and there was this spark of universe mapping a path from her heart to mine, and long story short...It was decided that I am to use that bear hide to facilitate a rattle making workshop for one of her other groups. What an honor to be asked to do this. I am still moved to tears by her trust in me to hold the space for her group.
The date was set for late March. For the time in between saying yes and showing up, I had numerous dreams of failing the group and the process with epic proportions. During this time there was deep dismembering of so many wounds. More than once I was in journeys to explore my anxiety and bear claws were just ripping me to shreds. Wounds of past teachers, community, family, and beliefs...being ripped out of me. I even felt it during the daily mundane stuff. The time of breaking down, harvesting, and thinnin' the herd. Dismemberment can be scary, and what falls down, will rise again. During this time another dream showed up 3 different times. A dream where the bear hide was complete with head and paws, it was in the center of a circle of women. The bear laid out as offering and as receiver of healing. In the dream, I couldn't see who the women were, but I saw each women's pair of hands touching the edge of the hide, encircling him with grief and love. A drum beat encircled the group like a womb and I would wake up. Emotionally covered in the reside of this connection and power. Waking up like it had already happened and feeling lost in time with confusion.
Prepping a hide by hand for sacred sound making begins a week before you begin. The class was set for a Saturday. So on Monday I went to the bears ice cave, pulled him out, and this happened:
Face and paws. My dismemberment was complete in that instant. My dream was right. Worlds within me collided as soul parts came home, and all anxiety of failing was eliminated. I messaged Pixie and told her that bear rattles could not happen now. "Thank goodness I brought my buck hide home last fall" I said to myself. And went about getting the buck hide out too and pulling up my big girl panties to buckle down and work two hides that week instead of one. And not only two hides, but I had to remove the skull and paws...which I'd never done before. This was a showing up and a trust that magic is made of. I was so blessed to have Pixie come out later that week to help. We dehaired the buck hide and took the bear skull out together. And ya know one of the reasons I love working with the remains of wild animals is that when you get into dismembering their remains, the inside of the their bodies show you how to do it as you uncover bit by bit. And I feel from this that instinct connection. It reminds me of life: when you show up for something, especially an unknown, it's not so much about knowing what to do before you do it, it's all about uncovering how you can do it one bit at a time. One step at a time. One knife slice at at time, and the body with show you where to go next.
Once we got the hide off the skull the bears' third eye chakra burst open, reached out and grabbed my third eye and pulled my forehead to the freshly skinned skull. I was given visions from his spirit of his life. How he lived in awe of the stars. Searching through the night for a wide open space to see as many as he could. I saw him in clearings looking up and filling his breath with those stars. I saw how he knew there was more than just being a bear, not that a bear was not great...it is. He knew that he had more to experience that he couldn't experience in a bear body. He showed me that this is one reason for being willing to die so young. For things must die when embarking on a new choice. Young ideas sometimes need to die too, in order to choose another idea that will have a better life. I also saw that his spirit hadn't been able to move on and he wanted to be held in fire until the group could be a part of his transition. Then I was released from his skull and Pixie and I went back to our day. We finished up, said our good byes, and I lit his candle.
Gathering day! Oh, man I was so excited and happy. I met and held space for incredible women who carry impeccable integrity of sisterhood. Each one of them touched and opened my heart. Healing the wounds of tribes and relationships past. These are the wise women of today and they radiate authenticity. The deer hide was laid out when we circled up, and then we laid out the bear on top. Bravery happened. Courage to feel the pain of sorrow and grief happened. Walking through resistance in order to connect to unknown happened. These women reached out and laid their hands around his edges and on his body. Encircling him with love and grief. I began drumming to the beat of the womb power. The womb of his transition. My dream had literally come true. And then it just got better....together we crossed him over and freed his soul. He is on to his next thing.
His body was then my new experimental project. I tanned him, which again, I went into this with very little knowledge or prepared process. I again showed up without certainty and intentionally DID with my heart leading the way. I thought with my heart and finally got what it's like to truly move from intuition. I learned so much on his young body and feel daily doses of Earth medicine...and I let him hold me...a lot. And I like to scare my four legged babies while crawling on the floor with him over me. But mostly, I sit in meditation on him. I wrap myself up in his tiny bear body and practice letting myself be held.
Wow, this has been a long post, so I should wrap it up. Thank you for listening, and witnessing what Pixie rightfully called my initiation. Initiation into what? I don't know for sure, but I'm showing up for it every day in subtle ways...like practicing be held...And I'm showing up without knowing what I should be doing, so I can show up with what I can do each step of the way.
There is a whole other story of the King Buck interwoven with this Bear, but I will release that after all my upcoming rattles from him are already sold and the buyers hear the story first. So, stay tuned!!
I'll leave you with this: did this post stir something in you? If so, what? What is true about this for you? What do you need to show up for this in your Self? Blessings of my bear's hugs. Blessed be. Nissa
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