Scent is one of our most primal senses; our deep ancestors learned to smell more than half a billion years ago. It is our only sense that fully develops in the womb. By the end of the first trimester, we have the ability to smell, but we do not smell until our first breath. With that first breath, with our first smell of Mother and Air and Earth, our soul comes to life inside us and we enter into the Great Communion.
Breathe deep. Close your eyes. Imagine that you are there, in the Womb of the Earth, surrounded by our deepest ancestors, snug in our cave, basking in the fire’s last glow. Imagine the warmth of your kin all around you. Imagine the crackle of the fire. Smell the fire; cedar and juniper, mugwort and apple. Feel the sacred meadow mushrooms begin to kick in. The ritual is about to begin! The Wise One’s apprentice takes up his tusk; hear him play it like a didgeridoo. Hear the drums begin to call.
Listen to the Wise One teach: “Breathe in, and out. Know that the air you are breathing connects you to every living thing on Earth. The air you are breathing was breathed out by Forest, and your exhalations give Them life. This unceasing cycle of respiration connects us to All, the Great Communion of Breath. Breathe. Feel the air enter into your nose, tickling your cilia. Feel it slide, warm and wet, down your trachea. Feel your chest and belly expand as they fill with life-giving air. Feel its goodness redden your blood. Feel its goodness nourish your bones. Breathe, and feel the air, source of life, awaken every bit of your body. Breathe and know that We and Forest are one. Breathe, and know the Great Communion.”
The Wise One is calling us out to the dance! Come, come, come! The Apprentice is painting your body with red ochre and bear fat. Spirals and chevrons that twirl and tickle as the magic sinks in. The moon is full and bright. The sky is pregnant with glory. The Great Bear is dancing in the north. Her rainbow skirt is swirling. Dance with her!
“Bear, Bear, you who rule the heavens, the stars, and the entire world; you who make the axis turn, you who control the whole cosmos by only force and will, we appeal to you, call out to you, make love to you. Bring us into the Circle Deep, the well of our most ancient ancestors. We call upon you by all your holy names, at which your divinity rejoices, which you cannot ignore. BRIMO, Earth-Breaker, Queen of the Hunt, BAUBO… AMOR AMOR AMOR, IEA, shooter of deer AMAM AMAR APHROU, All Queen, Wish Queen, AMAMA, well-bedded, Dardanian, all-seeing, night-running, man-attacker, man-subduer, man-summoner, man-conqueror, LICHRISSA PHAESSA, O ethereal one, O strong one, O lover of song and dance, protectress, spy, delight, delicate, protector, adamant, adamantine, O Damnameneia, BREXERIKANDARA, most high Taurian, unutterable, fire-bodied, light-giving, sharply armed. Admit us into your cult, bring me into the Circle Deep. Bear, Bear, BEAR! ROAAAAAAR!”
Great Bear Incense Recipe
- 3 part mugwort: for Artemis, the Great Bear
- 3 parts juniper needles: for the magic of the frigid north gate
- 1 part cedar: the World Tree, the mighty axis which the Great Bear circles
- 1 part dried apples (or other fruit): for the bounty and beauty of Forest
The name Βριμο (Brimo) means “Roarer” and is often, but not always, associated with Hekate.
Βαυβώ (Baubo) is the goddess of delight, who entertains Demeter, in her grief, with bawdy humor.
Here in the northern hemisphere, Ursa major is “circumpolar”; it never sets, and appears to circle the pole star.