Sunday, July 23, 2006

Our Bear gets a Name

I think we’ve found a name for our bear. Not that she cares, but we do. Her name will be Ursa after the ancient bear-goddess and the constellation Ursa Major. Since both the bear goddess and our dogs [Bernese Moutain Dogs] have the area of Berne, Switzerland in common it seems to fit. Here is what I found after searching on the web:

“The bear goddess was known to the Greeks as Artemis (daughter of Zeus and Leto and the twin sister of Apollo) and in China as Matsu Po, Queen of Heaven and the Sea. According to one source, one of Artemis’s frequent animal incarnations was the Great She-bear (constellation Ursa Major), ruler of the stars and protectress of the axis mundi, Pole of the World. The Helvetian (Swiss) tribes around what is now Berne, worshipped her as the She-Bear, and she is still their heraldic arms. Berne, in fact, means ‘She-bear’, just as Urus means ‘bear’. Sometimes the Helvetians called her Artio, shortened to ‘Art’ by the Celtic tribes who married her to the Bear-king, Arthur. As Artio’s Lord of the Hunt, the medieval god of witches came to be called, ‘Robin son of Art’. In Irish, Art meant ‘God’, but its earlier meaning was ‘Goddess’ – more specifically the Bear-goddess.”


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