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Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon

Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon

by Wolf D. Storl


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Since the beginning of human history, bears have been regarded as animals of great power. Ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist Wolf Storl, who spent years in the wilderness with bears, explores the fascinating relationship between bears and humans, including the history, mythology, healing lore, and biology of this formidable creature. Storl takes the reader from the bear caves of the Neanderthals to the bear-worshipping Siberian tribes of today, from the extinct cave bear to the modern teddy bear. Bears were traditionally seen as a kind of "forest human" under whose shaggy fur a king or a god was hidden, he explains. Vividly illustrating the power of myths and fairy tales to reveal more than scientific treatises about the true nature of beings—especially in the case of bears—Storl restores this magnificent animal to its rightful place at the forefront of the human imagination as well as among the dwellers of the forest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623171636
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 01/09/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,137,115
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Wolf D. Storl, PhD, is an ethnobotanist and the author of some two dozen books on herbalism, alternative medicine, ethnobotany, and shamanism. Born in Saxony, Germany, he received his PhD in ethnology from the University of Berne, Switzerland. His early post-doctorate career includes research in a Swiss biodynamic farming community, teaching anthropology and organic gardening at Rogue College in Oregon, participant-observer research at a traditional Swiss farm, and two years in India as a visiting scholar at the Benares Hindu University. Always interested in local gardening practices in his travels around the world, 25 years ago Dr. Storl was able to put his learning to the test when he and his family moved to a mountain farmstead in southern Germany. There he maintains a year-round vegetable garden and continues to teach, also appearing on television in the U.S. and many countries in Europe as a spokesman for natural horticulture. The author lives in Isny, Germany.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Bear Shamans And Plant Healers 1

Understanding the Nature of Animals 2

Animal Allies 7

The Plant Healers' Teacher 12

The Bear Spirit Posture 18

2 Bear Caves And Neanderthals 21

An Enigmatic Woman 25

Stone Age Hunters and Bear Shamans 31

3 Bear Ancestors 39

Osborn (Asbjøm), the Divine Bear 40

Bear Children 42

Golden Bears 44

4 Forest Maidens And Feral Mountain People 51

Glutton and Gourmet 54

Bear Love and Matriarchy 58

5 Meeting Up With Maheonhovan 61

A Bear Is Not a Tail-Tucking Dog 62

Shining Light in the Bear's Soul 64

6 Grandmothers' Stories 67

7 The Cave, The Bear, And The Woman 75

The Strength of Those Raised on Bear's Milk 77

A Bear-Like Mother Hulda, or Mother Goose 80

8 The Vital Spirit of The Vegetation 83

Bloody Sacrifices 84

"Straw-Bear" and "Pea-Bear" 86

9 The Bear King Of The Celts 91

The Wheel with Eight Spokes 94

The Festival of Light 94

May Joy and August Fires 97

Modraniht (Mother's Night) 99

10 The Guardian Of The Treasures 103

The Croesus of the Animal Realm 109

Krishna Humbles the Bear King 111

Zalmoxis and Immortality 113

Master of Fire 115

11 Berserkers And Guardians of The Threshold 117

Interpretations 125

12 The Heavenly Trail Of Ursa Major 129

The Power That Moves the Heavens 130

The Guest from the Twelfth Heaven 132

The Forbidden Name 134

Artemis's Children 136

The Once and Future King 141

13 The Warrior Bear 143

Berserkers and Ulfhedinn 144

Fylgia, the Follower Spirit 149

The War of the Animals 151

The Chieftain of the Animals 153

14 Bear Saints And Devils 159

A Messenger of the Age of Pisces 160

The Bear as a Porter and Plowman 162

The Bear Goddess in Nun's Attire 165

Forest Demons and Malicious Wild Animals 167

Brother Klaus's Bear of Light 171

15 Bear Plants, Bear Medicine 175

Plants That Induce Sleep 176

A Master of Botany 177

Bear's Garlic, Bear Leek, or Ramsons 180

Ciubmoss 181

Bearberry 182

Burdock 183

Bear's Milk, Licorice, and Hogweed 184

16 Bear Fat And Bear Gall 187

The Bear's Charisma 188

The Cure-All 193

Bear Fat 195

Amber 198

17 Rituals Of Departure; Reconciliation With The Bear Spirit 199

A Bear Is a Love-Hungry Woman 207

18 Places Of Bear Power 211

Smokey Bear and Yellowstone 212

Salmon Gourmets on the McNeil River 216

A Guest from Heaven 217

Visiting the King of the Forest 224

19 Bear'opolis-Berne (City Of Bears), Switzerland 229

Bears Who Have Become Human 231

Duke Berchtold and Noble Lady Mechthildis 234

The Patron Saint 237

20 Teddy Bear And Winnie-The-Pooh 243

The Dumb Bear 245

The President and the First Teddy Bear 249

The Wise Bear of Little Understanding 253

21 Encyclopedia Of Famous Bears 257

Aloysius 258

Baloo 258

Bamaby Bear (Rasmus Klump) 260

Bart 261

Ben (Bozo) 261

The Berliner Bear 263

The Bernese Bear 264

Care Bears 265

Dancing Bears 265

Ewoks 266

Fozzie Bear 267

Gentle Ben 267

Goldilocks and the Three Bears 267

Gummy Bears 269

Paddington Bear 270

The Russian Bear 270

Smokery Bear 272

Winnie-the-Pooh 273

Yogi Bear 273

Afterword: Hope For The Bear's Return 275

Notes 279

Bibliography 289

Index 293

About The Author 305

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