I pulled this card from my Druid Animal Oracle deck about 1 week ago, had a conversation with my mum regarding the critter as her animal totem, and had a nudge from a wonderful friend reminding me of the power of “the bear” only a few days ago….I’m convinced that my friend is blessed with the spirit of the Wren…
Ok, Art (Gaelic, meaning “Bear”), I’m awake…and prepared to receive your wisdom at this time of Alban Arthuan (“Light of Arthur” or Winter Solstice)…
“Artio’s inky-black eyes shift from beneath closed eyelids. She is sleeping and dreaming as any respectable Bear should, for this is the time of Alban Arthuan, our longest night of all. On ripples of dreams and flickers of mist, her quarry float by; first a frisky trout then a sweet beehive and that elusive old Salmon. “Phwap phwap phwap,” her paw strikes amiss. Artio smacks her pink lips for that long-awaited honey or fish.”
When Artio’s slumber is deepest, Arthur’s Light is brightest. This Light, emanating from the Pole Star, is poised assuredly over Arthur’s Plow (also known as The Great Bear constellation). It has served as a guide, beacon and source of hope for Our Clan as they wished for the return of Arthur who was thought to “reside” in the Sun. Warmth, promise, fertility and Spring were carried upon the Sun’s cloak. Artio is both protector and messenger of this Hope. I could imagine the rays of this bright Star waking our slumbering Bear, as they first danced, then flickered, and settled upon her weary eyes.
“Delicate, but shattered shards of light flicker, twist and whirl as they summon Artio from her dreams. Pulsing to the rhythm of an Aurora Borealis, Brighid and the Dagda’s ancient song is whispered through Artio’s sleepy dreams. The Bear’s eyelids flicker as she yawns, stretches and rises to her thickly padded feet.”
Artio might pause for a moment at the entrance of her cave, shrugging off the last vestiges of a shortened hibernation. She might glance up into the night sky and register the Light of the Pole Star with a courageous sniff before padding off down her chosen trail in search of Arthur; her Holy Grail. We would give this fearsome, but dedicated servant of the Mother Goddess some room to stride along her journey before catching up with her further down the path, by following her massive footprints. I imagine that Artio’s path might lead to a variety of destinations on her Quest to retrieve the Sun.
One of Artio’s destinations might be that of Bru Na Bhoinne, in a sort of pilgrimage. This Megalithic structure and mound, nestled in Newgrange, Ireland was specifically constructed to channel Brother Sun into the structure’s Inner Chamber as he panned across the sky in his mid-winter passage (Winter Solstice, 21 December to 23 December). The Pole Star’s placement in the sky at this particular time was as predictable as the Sun’s movement itself; and it was the brightest and most reliable indicator of the “Sun’s Where-abouts”. This Celestial certainty (Pole Star), paired with our understanding of Mother Earth’s cycles (Artio – the Bear Goddess), points us to another mystery – that of our intuition (Arthur’s Light and Sun) as produced by the “union” of our starry and earthly selves (Bear – or human as both constellation, and animal) consummated, in a comfortable “chamber” or “mound”.
“With the blessings of the Great Bear of the starry heavens and the deep and fruitful earth, we call upon the powers of the North.”
– From Druid Ceremony –
Cyfarchion y Tymor!