Healing Bear

a photograph and poem by Ethel Mortenson Davis


El Oso de Salud or “the healing bear” is the symbol of the UNM Cancer Center and a Native American totem of power, health and protection. The bear, by the sculptor Gene Tobey, is the animal most closely associated with mudjekeewis, the spirit keeper of the west and source of responsibility, teaching, leadership and healing. It represents the desire to serve New Mexicans whose lives have been touched by cancer with strength, courage, grace and great ability.

Healing Bear

I am the healing bear.

I will lick you
all over
from head to foot.
I will take
the bad smells out
of your fur.

I will bring you
up out of the labyrinth
and will heal you.

I will show you
the face of your child
so small you can
hold it in your hand.

I am the healing bear,
and I will heal you.

© 2010, I Sleep Between the Moons of New Mexico.


Filed under Art, Ethel Mortenson Davis, Photography, Poetry

19 responses to “Healing Bear

  1. Scriptor Obscura

    Beautiful. We all need healing…

  2. Following the animals and learning from them is the basis of the ancient healing wisdom of the American Nations. After the long sleep bears cleanse their systems with Oshia root. No wonder it is Bear that is the symbol of the UNM Cancer Centre. Bear is one of my totems. Beautiful sculpture of Oso de Salud. Thank you Thomas. Bless you, Ethel and your family.

  3. This is beautiful Ethel, and has left a tiny tear in my eye, but it is one of hope, thank you.


  4. Thank you Ethel for the photo, for the background information and for the poem.

    Symbols of Hope are always welcome in my world


  5. Julie Catherine

    Beautiful healing poem, Ethel. Sending prayers, blessings and love to you and Thomas ~ Julie xox

  6. Healing is a well-needed concept these days.. there is hope here.

  7. Caddo Veil

    I just love this so much!! And it’s interesting the timing–since I recently posted a couple bear dream transcriptions. Sending up prayers for your healing, Thomas–and great big armfuls of love to you and Ethel. God bless you abundantly today, and always.

  8. Wonderful and uplifting Healing Bear poem, dear Ethel. And as I said on a prior post, your photography is just wonderfully expert here.

  9. Thank you for these comments. Love Ethel

  10. This is beautiful in all ways. Thank you for posting it.

  11. tikarmavodicka

    Hi Ethel,
    I realy love your photo of the healing bear and the information about what he signifies. Very empowering! Your poem too is so very beautiful and so full of strength and hope.
    Brightest Blessings to you and Thomas and thank you for sharing your powerfully inspiring talents.


  12. Oh, wonderful to see this poem here, Ethel. I loved reading it in Thomas’s “Salt Bear”. This gives it more background.
    (Sorry, I’m way behind in blog reading – trying to catch up. 🙂 )

  13. Ina

    Bears are very gentle with their young ones, that is why I think the statue was a good choice. And I love the poem. 🙂

  14. I think sometimes animals are a lot smarter than we are, and can do much for us if we to just let them do it.

  15. Healing to see the bear’s image and read your gentle words, Ethel. I so believe in the importance of animals in our lives–they are our comrades in this journey and to honor them is so essential to our mind, body and spirit health.

    I might’ve mentioned it before…but I love a book called “Animal Speak”–I had it out the other day as at a difficult moment a fox crossed my path (well, in front of my car).

  16. A powerful reply
    to a heartfelt affirmation.
    We send healing

    May all hearts conjoin
    in this ongoing healing
    for it is time.

    Let us bear with one another.
    In spirit … One family
    after all.

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