The Wisdom of the Crescent Moon Bear

Journal Date: 10:15am – Thursday, November 5, 2020

I’ve been reading a chapter in Women Who Run with the Wolves today. This one is on rage, something I do need guidance on at this moment in my life.

Here, she tells the story of the “Crescent Moon Bear” as a way to show us how we can deal with our anger.

The story starts with a woman preparing for her husband to come back from the war. She goes shopping and cooks meals for him and does everything she can to please him and make him happy.

But when she goes to him and offers him what she has made, he gets angry and flips over the trays, sending everything she has worked so hard to prepare onto the floor.

The pattern repeats itself over many nights. The man is still in a state of shock, and will not be consoled. His mind is still preoccupied with the images of violence and fear he has seen and experienced in the war he’s only just returned from.

So the woman, in a state of distress, goes to seek out the healer on the outskirts of the village.

The healer tells her to go climb to mountain and bring her back one hair from the throat of the Crescent Moon Bear.

So the woman ascends the mountain by herself to meet the bear.

As she walks the trail up the mountain among the rocks and under the trees, she says, “Arigato zaisho,” a way of thanking the mountain for allowing her to walk on her body and to pass safely.

Getting to even higher ground, she surprised by the birds which fly out at and then past her, these birds representing the spirits of the dead with no family, the muen-botoke.

She tells them, “I will be your relative. I will lay you to rest.”

The muen-botoke symbolize the parts of ourselves which we may have abandoned during times of distress.

These can be thought of as the difficult emotions and experiences which we may have repressed or dissociated from during any incident which was traumatic or otherwise overwhelmed our body’s capacity to cope.

The woman promises them that she will be their family, she will bury them. With this, it is as if she is saying, “I will recognize you as my own, I will honor you and put you to rest.”

Finally, after continued struggling up the mountain, the woman finds the tracks of the crescent moon bear. She hides near the entrance of her cave, and every morning, she leaves food out for the bear to discover upon waking in the morning.

Slowly, with patience, she gets closer and closer to the Crescent Moon Bear, until one day she finds herself directly underneath it.

She tells the bear of her situation, about her angry husband who has come back from the war traumatized and upset, and asks the bear for a single hair from its throat which she needs to heal her husband.

The bear, taking pity on her, consents to let the woman take one hair from the shining silvery crescent on her throat.

Having received the white hair from the crescent moon on the throat of the bear she rushes down the mountain through the Village to the house of the healer.

She rushes up to present the single white hair to her. The healer then smiles and throws the hair into the fire.

The woman cries out in despair, having lost the one ingredient she had struggled so much to obtain in order to heal her husband.

The healer reassured her, telling her the hair itself was not necessary. In learning how to approach the Crescent Moon Bear, win its trust and receive its message, she had learned what she must do to heal her husband as well.

“Now you know what you need to do. Go home, and repeat everything you have just done here with your husband. That is how you can heal this rage and find love again.”


In this story, we can take each character be a part of the woman’s own psyche.

The husband represents animus, the masculine inside of us, in this case the part which has been wounded. Normally, it is responsible for outer directed activity, for creating structure and boundaries and pursuing ambition and achievements in the world.

However, when wounded, it may have a tendency to respond by being either shut down, pushing others away, or with senseless rage and aggression. These responses are typical of the “fight-flight-freeze” trauma responses that are activated after periods of great stress or danger.

The woman here stands for the anima, or the emotional, feminine part of our psyches. This is the part which loves, which strives for union and ultimately seeks healing by going to find the healer outside of the village.

The bear can be thought to represent the wisdom of rage itself. The Crescent Moon Bear, and the primal power of sacred rage which she represents, are something which many of us fear and reject, but which, when approached with the proper care and respect, can ultimately serve as one of our greatest teachers.

The woman’s interactions with the bear and the environment around her along with her journey up the mountain show us a way in which we can start to come to terms with these difficult and troubling feelings.

With caution, with respect, with care, understanding and a little bit of fierceness, we can find the wisdom we need to release our pain while preserving our natural instinct to protect.

The bear teaches “that one can be fierce and generous at the same time. One can be reticent and valuable. One can protect one’s territory, make one’s boundaries clear, shake the sky if need be, yet be available, accessible, engendering all at the same time.”

In fact, I believe that in many ways it is the “NO” which makes the “YES” possible. If we are unable to communicate the points which are our limits, we will never be able to feel truly comfortable expressing the fullness of our power and can never express the fullness of our generosity, as well.


When we have discovered how to approach the tender, hurting parts of ourselves which we have previously sought to disown, we can begin the journey of healing and learning from our rage.

Our anger and our pain are worthy of being treated with respect. To push them away, or to ask that they simply “be nice” and act as if nothing has happened, is to do ourselves a disservice.

It is understandable to be wary of such a powerful and potentially explosive current of raw energy within ourselves. But there is a message waiting for us if we can sit quietly and let it speak to us.R

Repression or denial is hardly effective. In fact, it only makes the denied energy louder and more destructive, as it struggles to get us to pay attention to pain which needs tending to.

There is inestimable hope and healing available to those who turn towards the powerful sacred rage of the Crescent Moon Bear.

As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “Women who are tortured often develop a dazzling kind of perception that has uncanny depth and breadth. Although I would never wish anyone tortured in order to learn the secret ins and outs of the unconscious, the fact is, having lived through a gross repression causes gifts to arise that compensate and protect.

In that respect a woman who has lived a torturous life and delved deeply into it definitely has inestimable depth. Though she came to it through pain, if she has done the hard work of clinging to consciousness, she will have a deep and thriving soul-life and a fierce belief in herself regardless of the occasional ego-waverings.”

I know that this is true about me. This has been my path. What was once my shame is becoming my strength, and of that I am proud.

Visions of Xiuhcóatl: Part 2

Me as Cynthia, about to get eaten

During the last days of my medical treatment for the parasite, I was still feeling a lot of generalized fear and anxiety that would seem to come from nowhere and overtake me without warning.

One night, I was in meditation and I started to have a lot of fear regarding the way the vision had ended, with me being eaten by the turquoise serpent.

I think it was in response to one of the images Noé had sent me, of the man being swallowed by the serpent.

In his message he had said, “we see the being consumed by the matter planes and lower body impulses (Coátl) and unable to act for itself controlled by the parasites..”

😬

I was like, “Uh oh…this guy on the Mayan vase looks A LOT like me being eaten the other day. Am I in trouble?” 

I started to panic, thinking, “Oh no, it’s all over, I’m doomed,” etc.

But a stronger voice from above said, “Hell no! Don’t believe it. You will be given another vision, you’ll know what to do.”

I thought, “Oh no, not now! I’m too scared. I couldn’t…”

But it came more quickly than I’d imagined it would.

First, I saw the turquoise serpent to my right, with my body still in its belly.

Then a very large dragon appeared: a bright green, distinctly female dragon. It had a cute little red bow attached to the left side of its head. I feel a bit silly saying this, but that’s kind of how I knew it was me.

But not the personal, little me, not Eleanor, lying immobilized in the serpent’s stomach.

It was my higher self, my soul, the part of me which is eternal and beyond.

She took a step toward the serpent and looked him right in the eyes. He bowed his head, and though he didn’t seem to like it, he didn’t make any move to resist as she stepped forward and swallowed him whole, head-first.

It’s your turn now hehe 😉

I was a bit confused by this detail. “Are you sure?” I had always seen those images of the Ouroboros, the snake (or sometimes dragon) eating its own tail, and I thought it would be the same here.

“No, it has to be this way,” was the answer.

As I watched the last bit of the serpent’s tail disappear into her mouth, the dragon gave herself a little pat on the belly. With a wink, she said, “Don’t worry, babe. It’s not to hurt you, it’s to integrate you.” 😉

[Apparently my higher self has a sense of humor.]

I immediately recognized her words as echoing those of the serpent as he swallowed me to “transmute” me.

And then I saw as the head of the serpent reached the tail of the dragon, and vice versa. In this way, the opposites met and were joined.

The insides of their bodies dissolved into a golden, liquid substance, while their skins hardened into the shell of an egg. 

I saw my body inside the golden amniotic fluid of what was, I soon noticed, not an egg but a chrysalis. 

I lay inside this cocoon where, like the butterfly, I would soon begin to undergo the process of digesting myself, dissolving the cells of what once was in order to be transformed into the self I was born to become. 

And with that, the vision ended: with me, in a gentle sleep before the last decay. Relaxed, safe and enclosed within my own energy, ready to release and to regenerate anew. 

That night I slept more peacefully than I have in many months. I felt it was an important conclusion to something which still felt unfinished after the first vision.

The World | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

The World

Keywords for The World 

SUCCESSMASTERY
ACHIEVEMENTWHOLENESS
SATISFACTIONINTEGRATION
ACCOMPLISHMENTBALANCE
FULFILLMENTUNION

This card is, in many ways, the fulfillment of all those which came before it. Of all the cards, it bears the most striking resemblance to Key 10, The Wheel of Fortune. We see the same four figures in each of the corners as we once encountered there: the man (Aquarius), the bull (Taurus), the Eagle (Scorpio), and the Lion (Leo). 

However, there is one important difference: in the Wheel of Fortune, each of the four had wings, as if to tell us there was something angelic or highly ethereal about them. Each also held an open book in front of them, which they gazed at intently, as if trying to understand the secret mysteries of the universe. 

Here, the figures here in the World possess neither wings nor books. This is likely meant to indicate the different level of being emphasized in each of these two cards.

The Wheel of Fortune was in many ways a card of abstractions. It spoke of abstract visions of the spiritual order underlying all things.

The World, however, deals not with abstractions, but within the concrete material reality. It is the world of physical form and manifestation. It is within the sphere of Saturn, contained by the limits of physical reality. 

In the center of the card, we see the World Dancer in motion. This dancer is androgynous, even hermaphroditic, as they express both their feminine and masculine elements. This shows us that they are completely whole and fully balanced and integrated.

The oval shaped wreath which encloses the dancer is bound by two red bands in the form of an  “x” mark at the top and bottom. Although it may be difficult to discern from our vantage point, these bands are actually in the form of figure 8’s, or symbols of infinity.

Interpretation of the World in a Reading

When the World comes up in a tarot reading, it often indicates that we have arrived at our intended destination. We may find ourselves reaching an important goal, achieving success, or enjoying the satisfaction of hard work paying off.

This card speaks to the realization of our visions, our hopes, and our ideals in the outer world. What was once only an ephemeral dream has now, through hard work and determination, become manifest in the material.

In addition to the themes of fulfillment and completion, the World also carries with it significations that point to balance, harmony and completion. It can speak to an inner sense of wholeness, one where each aspect of our selves is well-balanced and harmoniously interrelated.

On a deeper level, the World card can also refer to the experience of spiritual union, of the unification of the personal, individual self with the universal Self. This has been known to some as enlightenment, others as nirvana, and yet others as cosmic consciousness. 

Yet despite the differences in terms, all of these names refer to the same experience of unification of one’s unique self identity with the greater collective unconscious, of the union of our personal awareness with the mind of God.