Bear Dreamers

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series Bear Medicine


The Lakota said that any man who dreamed of the bear would be an expert in the use of plant medicines. —David Rockwell, Giving Voice to Bear: North American Indian Myths, Rituals, and Images of the Bear

Four warriors lie wounded. The leader of the bear dreamers sleeps in a hoop of hide while the sun circles. They wake him suddenly to make him wild, frightened, lost. His canines lengthen. Lying back down he reaches into the earth & extracts bear root. Getting up, he goes in search of a plum tree, grabs it & shakes — a rain of bruise-colored fruit. He circles the camp, bear skin over his head, brandishing a knife. His hands are painted white, his body, red. Bullets cannot kill him, steel cannot cut him, the hidden wounds cannot escape his healing claw. The other bear dreamers follow, singing. The wounded ones stagger to their feet & begin to walk.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

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