Changing Shapes


One night last week, I dreamt of bears. 


I dreamt that I was in a class where we were learning to shape shift into the large beasts. My body altered. I grew no fur, but my hands adjusted themselves, paw-like, elbows slightly out, and fingers slightly in. It was quite easy to walk on all fours.

Later, I dreamt of real bears fishing in a river, catching salmon in their mighty paws, fur glistening with droplets in the sun.


Sometimes we need to know that we are strong.


Sometimes we need to know we can stand in raging water and not fall down. We can feed ourselves. We can feed our families. We can glisten in the sunlight, large and beautiful.


We can change our shape, if need be. But we will always be ourselves, somewhere inside. 


If the world requires you to shift your shape, I beg you: please remember who you are. Don’t let anyone take away the magic inside of you. The magic of your soft human flesh, your beating heart, your poetry, your longing, and your fear.

You may be a bear, or lynx, or badger. You may be a poppy, redwood, fly, beetle, or crow. You may be fey, or ghostly. Made mostly of bacteria and water. But you are also human. You are here: Animal. Human. Divine.


There is no one on this planet quite like you. Grizzly by Kristine Kisky (morguefile)

9 Responses to “Changing Shapes”

  1. ione

    In the book of English magic it says that for Druids, the bear symbolises your potential to marry your inner strength with your intuition, so you can be sensitive without becoming weak. Revered for strength and ferocity, early heroes were described as bears as a mark of respect. I bet you made a great bear Thorn! Best wishes xx

  2. Jessica

    Thorn, last week I dreamed that bears were trying to eat me and my family. Was that you? 😉

  3. Princess Teacup

    My favorite poem about a bear is called, simply, “a poem written by a bear” and it’s by tao lin:

    let me go eat some salmon

    why are there coke cans in the river

    what if i wore a bullet proof vest during hunting season

    i’m a bear; i walk in the forest and look at the river and the river is cold

    i saw campers today and they ran away and i was alone and i destroyed their tent

    let me go scratch my paw on a tree

    let me go eat a salmon

    last night i cried onto my salmon

    the salmon was sad but it still wanted to live

    it wanted to swim and be sad and i ate it under moonlight

    i saw a moose scream the other day

    it screamed quietly under a tree

    i felt embarrassed and sad and i thought, ‘oh, no; oh god, oh my god’

    sometimes i climb a tree and sit there and sing very quietly

    sometimes i want to go to a shopping mall and chase the humans and claw them

    i’ll ride the moose into the shopping mall and ram the humans

    the moose and i will ride the escalator and i will hug the moose and the moose and i will cry

    i will eat the moose

    i don’t care

    i will scream and throw the bubblegum machine from the second floor to the first floor

    i felt compassion for the salmon and now i don’t care anymore

    i’ll walk into a parking lot and chase a large human and hug the human and cry

    i’ll walk into a house at night and push the humans off the bed

    i’ll stare at the bed and i’ll feel fake

  4. Ember

    I’m reminded of this, which I recorded in my journal in 2007:

    I found myself a bear. My maw was brown, my paws and body were covered with black fur. My whole sense of physical self was contained within that bear. But She was not me. I listened to Her litany of resignation:

    Not all of my cubs will survive birth.
    Not all of my cubs will grow up.
    Not all of my cubs will survive to mate.
    Not all of my cubs will avoid the hunters.
    Not all of my cubs will be good.
    Not all of my cubs will be wise.
    Not all of my cubs will respect other species.
    Not all of my cubs will fulfill their potential.
    I cannot solve all the problems of the world one cub at a time,
    but I cannot even *try* to do anything else.

    Thank you, Thorn, for another piece of Her mystery. 🙂


  5. Paleolith

    I and many of my friends follow a very animal-centric form of Paganism. Some, mostly the youngsters, often express a desire to escape being human and be a different animal. I like reminding them that humans are no more or less remarkable than our beast-cousins (or even our plant-cousins). We’re human for now so let’s learn to appreciate and enjoy this form. So I think your message here is very important.


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