Gentlebear. . .
Today I mourn the passing of an elder. Although I was in his presence only briefly, Gentlebear left an impression upon me that will never fade. As his name implies, he was a gentle and loving man of great warmth and power. His lesson to me was simple: Power is self-evident; it need not be flaunted to be effective.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the evening I was asked to call in the directions at a memorial service for a mutual acquaintance who’d passed a few days before. Her name was Morningstar, and she was a shaman from Australia who’d left behind the security of her family to travel the world sharing her gifts and her teachings.
As the service turned from quiet reflection to wild, joyful drumming, Gentlebear approached me and handed me a medicine bag, telling me that Morningstar had gifted it to him. As I commented on its beauty, he raised his hands and backed away, indicating that he was gifting it to me. That bag still travels with me and sits on my portable altar during ceremonies and circles. It now carries with it the presence of two Elders who walk with the Ancestors.
Gentlebear’s passing also fills me with a greater awareness of what it means to walk the physical world as a two-legged. Although my own journeys have allowed me to stand among those who have crossed over to the Upper World – and confirmed undeniably that spirit lasts beyond the vessel of this body – there is still a portion of me that is saddened by his transition. It is this same sadness that reminds me that being here, in this place of joy and terror, this “sad and beautiful world” – and experiencing all it has to offer – is truly a gift. . .