If you know me, you will also know that I LOVE bears. Be it teddy bears, Paddington Bear, Berlin’s Buddy Bears, Baloo, or real bears. Many years ago, I actually did see a little bear in the wild, for a couple of seconds only, but it was an exciting experience to see a real bear in its natural habitat as opposed to a zoo or the likes. They are fascinating animals with their strength and resilience, the true Kings of the Forests. I have a small library about bears sitting on one of my shelves, and there are bears (mostly the teddy variety, though) basically everywhere in my Bear Den.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I found out that my Native American zodiac sign is, of all the 12 signs, the Brown Bear. I have spent some time to learn about this zodiac sign, and I am actually intrigued HOW much I can relate to what is said about people being born in that sign:
they’re introverts, free spirits, protective (of their loved ones), generous, courageous, relying on their guts, patient, observers, loyal, deep thinkers … and more.
I found a lot of myself in the Brown Bear character traits, and I thought it was fate that “my” Native American zodiac is the Brown Bear. It *had to* be. That is not to say I 100% believe in horoscopes whatsoever (if I did, I’d be married by now, have a family and all that jazz), but I at times find stuff said about various zodiac signs incredibly interesting and fascinating. There has to be something to it!
Fast forward to last month.
I was admitted to a psychosomatic ward in a clinic here in Berlin, to undergo an in-depth examination of what causes the fatigue and other things, and one of the therapy forms there was good ole art therapy. Something this creative soul right here just loves. I enjoy being creative, and one evening, I all of a sudden I had an idea. An idea I needed to work with, as I legit had the image in front of my eyes, could totally visualize it. Knowing that, due to some of the details, I would need more than just one final art therapy session, I signed up for a voluntary art class and got to work.
First step was to find a bear silhouette I could use as a model for my idea. So I was looking for one, found a perfect one (a fellow patient actually wanted to help out the evening before by looking up bear images for me, but I already had the image in my head, and well …) and got started (all while listening to NIGHTWISH just because) :
So this was the basis: a grizzly bear walking, with the first sketch of a forest in his body. And no, I did NOT copy trace this, I drew this freehand, just by looking at the image I had on my phone.
Next step was adding some details:
Among that an inscription “Brother Bear, guide me home“, more or less in Yours Truly’s actual handwriting. And since I obviously wanted to work with the guiding me home theme as well as the night, I worked on a night sky and incorporated some details: if you look closely, you will not just see a crescent moon, but also two star constellations: Ursa Minor (head) and Ursa Major (body); also known as the Dippers. And we shall not forget the North Star in Ursa Minor, a well known beacon to navigate at night.
Next steps (done in the final art therapy session) were of course laying the finishing touches on the whole drawing:
forest and parts of the night sky
Considering the short time frame I had, I am really satisfied with how this came out. I will also frame it at some point, so that I cannot damage it in any way. I put too much heart into this!
One day, after I had finished my Brother Bear drawing, I went home to bring home my suitcase and the majority of clothes etc as I’d leave the clinic again soon, and on my way home, I all of a sudden had an idea how to transport this drawing without wrinkling, tearing, damaging it: I have a huge portfolio for drawings here, of course with bears on it, so that was coming with me to the clinic. Brother Bear is still kept in there, safely.
The thing I also noticed once again is how much I was immersed while drawing this. It also helped me to calm down one day. The hand-eye-coordination is definitely useful here, as I realized bit by bit how the anger I had felt faded, while the drawing came more and more to life. This is also why I love art therapy – or being creative in general. You just lose yourself in there, work on something YOU created, which is YOUR art. And it can be anything, a collage from magazine clippings, clay, soapstone or whatever tickles your fancy. It’s YOURS and YOURS ALONE. It’s a piece of yourself.
Just like the bear is a part of me – especially because of the zodiac sign. I feel this sign, things that are associated with it, so. much.