Arta the Bear Goddess ~ Mother Honey Paw
by Maria Ede-Weaving from A Druid Thurible
Finding courage and inner resilience seems to be the order of the day for so many people around me at the moment, myself included. The Goddess as She-Bear has always held great attraction for me. In modern Paganism some have come to call her Arta or Artio. As Goddess, the She-Bear is our primal mother – ‘Mother Honey Paw’ – fiercely protective, birthing us in the dark stillness of the winter cave; nourishing us from her own body and giving life and growing strength to our potential. She embodies courage. In the darkest and coldest of times, it is the warmth of her deep fur that we cling to, her vast body encircling us gently, her rich milk nourishing our spirits. It is in the black stillness of Arta’s cave that we learn to let go of the old, envision the new, grounding and centring ourselves to contact that deep peace and inner knowing. In this part of the world, in the spring she leads us out of our winter caves, blessing us with the courage to move forward into life.
We have in the past performed ceremonies calling in Arta to bless us with her invaluable gifts in times of struggle, or when venturing out into the unknown and the new; each of the quarters offering us something of Arta’s all-encompassing love and protection. Arta equips us for battle – for life – supplying us with the courage and energy when we are required to go that extra mile, despite feeling weary and worn. In the south of the circle she fills us with courage and fiercely protects our path, animating us with renewed energy, enthusiasm and trust. In the West she enfolds us in her secure embrace, nurturing and nourishing us with a profound love. In the North, we tap into her immense physical strength and endurance, the clarity of her inner vision and wisdom guiding us. In the East she reminds us of the sweetness in life, that all challenges bring the potential of new beginnings, a whole new journey. Through her, we seek to integrate these qualities into our beings, expressing them in our lives both in our relationship with ourselves and others.
In dark and fearful times, all we need do is gaze up into the night sky to see her ever present starry form stretched across the heavens. In the spring, the paws of the Great Bear constellation are up high, walking the spiral galaxy, the bowl of her ‘Big Dipper’ inverted, pouring the love of Arta upon the awakening earth. The Great She-Bear of the night sky points us to the pole star; with Arta we are never lost; she is the star fire that guides us.
May Arta’s immense strength and courage go with you on your journey; may she protect your path, inspiring you with the energy to move onward; may you be upheld by the power of her love and guided by her infinite wisdom – may the sweetness of Mother Honey Paw be yours always.