This bear claw was given to me by a Cherokee shaman who adopted me into his family after I helped his uncle pass over.
… Hm, my life reads like a fairytale. … That makes my stories almost unbelievable. I’ve told fortunes with Gypsies and was initiated in the dungeon of a Irish castle. My mother was a Sicilian witch—before the neopagan movement—and an Indian shaman adopted me. And that’s just for starters!
I did not set out to do unusual things simply because they were unusual. I’m not boasting or trying to appear superior when I tell my stories. They’re the only stories I have. If I hide them, they lurk ashamed.
And, if I try to hold silent out of fear of judgement, my breath stifles, choking back stories that are simply my life. So I tell my tales.
I suspect every individual needs to be able to speak the accounts of their life. And if their day to day is odd, so will be those accounts.
Sometimes, a person must speak a truth of their life not so someone else can hear it, but because the recitation allows the reciter to hear it themselves. They are, possibly unintentionally but nonetheless effectively, singing a sacred song of selfhood, spinning the melody as a powerful and unadorned ceremony of beingness, like a wolf howls at the moon.
Thank Gods my mom refused me the shirt, in all her eccentric wisdom.
I feel blessed that I grew up to be a shamanic mentor for free spirits like myself. Their company helps me stay sane and continue to celebrate the wild life I’ve led and still lead.
And, as I help them fulfill their wild dreams, I become more and more able to share more of my stories.
What story do you not share out of fear? Fear can be guidance or a hindrance. Do you need to start telling that story or continue to hold silent? Do you need to share it with just one person, or a few, or many? If the latter, how many is “many”? If, on the other hand, you need to share it with one person or a few, who?
If you’re a craftsperson or anyone else who would like to know a bit of my crafting process making the talisman:
For at least a decade, I’ve worn the bear claw in a setting I’d beaded for it, but I started not liking the beading anymore, so I took it apart.
Making the new bear talisman: I spun green yarn from—if memory serves—fibers of silk, bamboo, and maybe wool. It was not my best spinning, and somehow that seemed right to weave into a wee rectangle for this pendant.
The fabric scrap to which my weaving is attached has rosebuds in one of its lower corners. That’s part of why I choose that scrap.
The hanging beads at the bottom are probably obsidian.
I called the amulet “Great Mother of All Things.” When we tell our own stories, we sing all of life into existence, as the Great Mother did and does. So mote it be.