The Order of the White Moon Goddess Gallery Presents:

Bear Mother


By Rin Fairweather



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Da.axiigang (Charles Edenshaw, Haida, 1839–1920), Bear Mother carving

ca. 1900 Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution (19/6253). Photo by NMAI Photo Services.




The story of Bear Mother originates with the Haida, Tlingit, Tsimsyan, neighboring tribes of the North Pacific coast, and the northern Rockies of America. Like many stories, her tale has travelled and certain details are told differently by different tribes. Bear Mother is represented in free standing carvings, oral stories, and totem poles. “The Bear Mother tale itself reveals that bears are kinsmen: true forebears… The Bear Mother may also be the first great mythopoetic mother of all life (the first external incarnation among animals of our personal mothers), prior in history and deeper in the psyche than her humanlike expressions, the goddesses and madonnas of civilization.” (Shepard & Sanders, 1985)

Her Story-

A group of girls were out gathering berries. One girl, who liked to talk, aroused the curiosity of the bears by being loud and obnoxious. When it was time to go home, the girl turned and slipped in some bear dung, spilling all her berries. She swore and complained. As it grew dark some men appeared wearing bear robes. They told her to come with them and they would help her get more berries. She followed them to their home, where there were more people wearing bearskins. She soon realized that they were all bears. The son of the chief approached her and said she could either die or become his wife. She chose to wed and bore twins that were half-man and half bear. One day her family came looking for her, so she rolled a snowball down the mountain to get their attention. Her husband knew he was going to be killed, so he taught his wife and the cubs how to do a proper ceremony over his dead body. This would give the men luck and power.

Rites for the dead bear, similar enough to be linked by numerous details and all based on the myth of the Bear Mother, occurred until recently in Lapland, Finland, western and eastern Siberia, Kamchatka, Japan, Alaska, British Columbia, and Quebec.”(Shepard & Sanders, 1985) Many rituals have been created around what is considered to be the proper death and ceremony for a bear. Parts of the bear are sometimes eaten. In certain tribes it is taboo to eat or only certain parts can be eaten by specific people. Claws and bones were made into talismans. The story of the hunt was told or reenacted along with feasting and merriment.


Link to Variations of Her Story:






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Carved in the 1st half of the 20th Century, Restored by Norman Tait

Used with permission in 2020



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What Bear Teaches-  

It’s no surprise that the Bear is such a respected animal. It is large, powerful, and unique in its similarities to humans. It can stand tall on hind legs, it is an omnivorous mammal, has an intelligent mind, and is very independent. The bones of bear paws closely resemble human hands. In the wilderness, it is easy to mistake one for the other.

Many Indigenous tribes across the Americas and Canada have myths and stories about the bear and what it teaches us. Here are some common themes and ideas.

       power, strength, protection, motherhood, teacher of herbal medicine, dreaming and/or visions, leadership, self-reflection, healing, shapeshifting, turning of the seasons, death and rebirth, earth energy, wisdom, authority, solitude, understanding, and courage


Links to Tribal Bear Stories:




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Considerations and Inspiration-


Upon beginning my OWM studies, stay at home orders were issued across the US due to Covid-19. I was lucky to have started a practice that would support me spiritually in this time of uncertainty. When instructed to consider which Goddess or Goddess figure resonated with me for the project, I began to notice Bear synchronicities and energy in my life. I kept seeing and hearing the world Bear. Bear Mother’s presence makes sense during this time. Everyone is, in a sense, hibernating. It is time for introspection and rest.

I would like to note that I am not Native Canadian or Native American. I am aware of cultural appropriation and how much hurt it brings to a still oppressed people. The following art piece, chant, ritual, and recipe are based on my own intuition, experience, writing, tinkering, and not borrowed from any Native practices. In essence, they are neo-pagan and inspired by research into Bear Mother.





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Picture by Mika Brant in Nindorf Germany.

Open Source from 2020



Bear Call


Deep in the mother she sleeps

Deep in her den she is dreaming

Bear Mother won’t you come?

And be blessed by the heat of our sun

Bring us your vision of seasons to come

Spring has begun!  Spring has begun!

Out in the forest she guides

Teaching her cubs to hunt and forage

Bear Mother share your wisdom

Of our Earth’s magnificent gardens

 Help us to regain our connections

We have begun! We have begun!


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-Original Chant by Rin Fairweather 2020-


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Recipe for Bear Mother Muffins


1.      2 cups of flour

2.      2 Tsp of baking soda

3.      ½ Tsp salt

4.      1 cup of sour cream

5.      ½ cup of sugar                                                                                                                                                    

6.      ½ cup of honey

7.      1 Tsp vanilla

8.      2 large eggs

9.      1 cup of chopped pecans

10.  1 cup of chopped walnuts

11.  ¾ cup of chopped Mulberries

(After chopping press gently

with paper towel to remove moisture)

12.  Cane sugar

13.  Butter



1.      Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.      Prepare muffin tins/ I used cupcake liners

3.      Combine wet ingredients in a big bowl

4.      Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

5.      Dump the dry ingredient bowl into the wet bowl

6.      Combine by hand and be careful not to over stir

Add nuts and berries, stir a little more)

7.      Fill tins ¾ full

8.      Sprinkle the tops with cane sugar

9.      Bake in oven for 15-17 minutes

10.  When they are done, pop them out of the tin to cool

11.  Serve with butter and more sugar on top if desired


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Comfort Cave Ritual

(Inspired by Patricia Telesco)



Materials Needed:

  1. A dark quiet space. This should be done at night, if possible.
  2. Comfort items such as soft blankets and pillows. You may wish to have an eye covering for meditation.
  3. Incense or scents that are calming or comforting such as lavender, nag champa, jasmine, cinnamon, or vanilla.
  4. Any stones that reduce anxiety, promote dreaming or healing, or make you feel safe. Lepidolite, Amethyst, Picture Jasper, Black Tourmaline, Labradorite, Celestite, Selenite
  5. An image or depiction of a bear or Bear Mother
  6. A non-candle representation for each element. (i.e. feather for East, water for West, sand or salt for North, unlit incense or charred wood for South)
  7. 4 Tealight candles. Set them around the border of your circle but not at the quarters.
  8. A Candle snuffer, matches or a lighter
  9. Lavender for burning, bell, or singing bowl
  10. Bear Mother Muffins or any offering you think a bear would like
  11. Anointing oil that lifts your spirit


Before Beginning:

1. Do a smoke cleansing with lavender or use a bell or singing bowl to break up the energy of the space. Cleanse, ground, and center yourself.

2. Have 4 things in mind that are causing you stress or worry.

3. Have the candles lit.



  1. Cast your circle with your finger.
    1. Air- for knowledge of the self and the willingness to be open                              
    2. Fire- for a sense of family, the hearth, and protection
    3. Water- for healing, love, and purification
    4. Earth- for patience, truth, and wisdom
  2.  Spirit-

“Great Mother Bear! I invite you into this sacred space with the hope of sharing rest with you and letting go of some of my worries. Please lend your vision and care. I make an offering of __________ to welcome you in.” (put it outside later)

  1. Say this or a variation of this out loud-

Right now I am suffering from stress and/or worry. These things are important to me, but in order for me to be well, I must set them aside for the time being. Go into as much detail you need to about what is bothering you. When you are ready, snuff out each candle saying “I set aside ______________. So that I may be well.”

  1. Meditation-

Make yourself as comfortable as possible for this. Curl up with blankets and pillows. Breathe deeply until you feel relaxed. Imagine you are standing at the entrance to a cave. Enter the cave and make your descent into the Earth. When you come to the deepest part, you hear snoring. There is a mother bear and two cubs all cozied up together. The mother can see you are tired. In a gentle voice she says, “Come and rest here.” You climb into the soft warm pile. You are comforted, warm, and safe.  Stay with this feeling as long as you need to. Before you leave, ask the mother bear for a vision. What does she show or tell you? Thank mother bear for her loving energy and make your way up and out of the cave. When you reach the surface, open your eyes.

  1. Re-lighting your candles-

Consider 4 positive things to combat the negative things you released. They could be blessings you already have or dreams you would like to bring to fruition.

Light each candle and say “I light this candle of hope/thanks for ____________.”

  1. Perform a self-blessing. Touching oil to all your chakras, hands, and feet.
  2. Close the circle in reverse order of casting. Ground yourself and journal whatever mother bear showed you.       





Bear Mother Inspired Pendant

Made with copper wire and Picture Jasper

- 2020 by Rin Fairweather-


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Front                                                                                        Back



Barbeau, Marius. “Bear Mother.” The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 59, no. 231, (Jan. - Mar., 1946), pp. 1-12.

Caldwell, E.K., Animal Lore and Legends: Bear. Scholastic Inc. 1996.

Lake-Thom, Bobby. Spirits of the Earth: A Guide to Native American Nature Symbols, Stories, and Ceremonies. Plume. 1997.

Shepard, Paul, and Barry Sanders. The Sacred Paw: The Bear in Nature, Myth, and Literature. Viking Penguin Books Inc., 1985.

Telesco, Patricia. 365 Goddess: A Daily Guide to the Magic and Inspiration of the Goddess. Harper-Collins Inc., 1998.




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