By Rowana Sabredancer
Before you begin any ritual, you should always cleanse yourself and the area youíre planning to work in first (except when youíre outside in Nature). There are different kinds of techniques to cleanse yourself such as taking herb baths or listening to meditation music. It also can be as simple as meditating, which calms your spirit and releases unwanted energy from your thoughts and body. This will enable you to focus more and direct energy during the ritual. To cleanse the room, you can smudge or play musical instruments such as drums, bells, flutes, etc. What I like about music is it cleanses yourself and the room.
- An offering(s) for Artemis. Some ideas are beeswax candle, incense, honeyed food (nectar if vegan), and gemstones.
- Drum, shaker, or rattle (can be homemade)
- Drumming music or music that gets you to dance
- Half of a coconut* shell to represent a cave. If you cannot get one, mould clay into a cave and let it dry a couple of days before Arkteia.
- Yellow ribbon*
Close your eyes (optional) and take a couple of breaths. Visualize a warm and protective, bright light surrounding you, especially your back. (This is the most vulnerable area to be unprotected.) If you know your animal totem, call your totem to be by your side and protect you from any harm. If you donít know your power animal and have an "astral animal companion", call the spirit instead. If that doesnít work for you, visualize Artemisís hounds guarding your circle (donít forget the back!). Any negative energy trying to enter will be frightened away by the hounds' barks and growls. If youíre not a fan of canines like me, you can replace the hounds with your favorite animal or bears. After all, it's Arkteia :)
Call Artemis, Mother of the Bear. Ask her to protect the ones you love such as animals, children, and women (pregnant women especially). While tying the ribbon around the miniature cave, envision the Great She-Bear protecting them fiercely from predators as she guards the cave outside as if they were Her cubs.
In return for Her protection, place the offering for Artemis on top of your altar. Now, prepare to perform the Bear Dance. Begin by drumming slowly and chanting in your own rhythm:
Bear Maiden, Bear Maiden,
Dance with me,
Show me the power of
The She-Bear Queen.
Now, drum faster and feel the energy. When you feel you are ready to dance, turn on the music and dance the Bear! Envision yourself shapeshifting into the She-Bear when you dance. Feel your inner self, and the power that lies within you. There is no specific way to do the Bear Dance. Follow the beat and the rhythm. A couple of crouches can work too. The purpose of the dance is to allow you to be with your wild and untamed spirit.
When you feel energized and ready to return to center, ground yourself by sitting down and meditate on the solar plexus chakra. Thank Artemis and any spirits you called for joining you at your ritual. You may release your protection shield or continue to meditate. If you have any magick work to do, you may work on them.
Celebrate after the ritual by treating yourself to a nice meal. If you cook your own food, you may like to be creative and make dishes according to a bearís diet :) (fish, berries, etc.) If you perform the ritual during the day, spend the rest of your day hiking alone in the woods. Be with Nature. If there was something you missed doing when you were a child or when you were younger, unleash it. Know that in every one of us, a wild She-Bear lies in our hearts and that we are never bound, but free.
*Coconut: I decided to use the coconut to represent a cave, because the coconut represents protection, purification, and chastity.
*Yellow Ribbon: I do not know why Thista Minai decided to use the color yellow, but it is rather a fitting color to represent the Goddess Artemis.