Not a rehash of those stories of the North Star and the constellation circling it, I fall asleep twenty two hours before the super blue blood moon eclipse enchanted by another astral body. In the space for dreaming, those two gatherings of stars, paired together so often, take the form of Ursa Major and Minor, bear and cub, blending together beneath my fetal rib cage. When I first wake up about five hours later, I’ll be a bit skittish, mistaking the growling in my stomach for roars.
From what I remember from an inflatable elementary school astronomy lab, somewhere in the ancient Mediterranean is where the story of the mother bear and her cub immortalized around the North Star originated, although because of its intense visibility, many other Northern Hemisphere societies have stories of the bear dating even to prehistory, the cub somewhat amorphous and many times a hunter (thank you Wikipedia and your cited sources). Crudely mashing these tales together, Ursa Major functions both as a symbol of stellar protection and nature barely outpacing human greed.
Awake and acute, the dream has me reconciling with my gender and sexuality. Considering gender and sexuality as the center of a Witches’ universe of practice engenders general praise and criticism from those queer and not, but after the dream, I can’t shake it. Amongst other queer dudes, especially men-loving, as well as men who sleep with, men (MLM and MSM), I’m known as a “Bear”-in-training, a heavyset guy who doesn’t have enough hair and/or body mass to pass as a large, hairy MLM or MSM (the average Bear). This replicated archetype in gay and other queer communities, and among my friends and acquaintances, is commonly called a “Cub.”
So I dream of a Bear in the sky.
These interpretations of the stars were about the Ursa genus and oral history, not a queer man, yet I can see myself and some of the communities I belong to there. I see an expansive way to look at Butch cultures, women and butches and butch women can be Bears, too, even those who consider themselves cisgender. I see a queer masculinity that supports aspects said to be “maternal” and therefore extrapolated to be not worth our time, expectations of loyalty, bravery, and activity, to protect Cubs, nonbinaries, men, women, and all else to take up the mantle of community care. That can begin with the self.
But these are just stars with elaborate stories, less related to me than maybe anyone else. Stars circled with their own plethora of planets, maybe one, even two, with something on them. And if somehow they’ve gotten there or needed stellar coordination, they might even see us as just a segment of an animal, plant, or just a speck in the sky.
That’s still fine.
Stuffing cereal into my face, I’m still queering my space, present and somewhere far away. It’s admonished, celebrated, something between. Otherwise, I don’t belong, hegemonies of masculinities, cis-status, abilities, classes, and sexualities [for me, not races and/or ethnicities, expectations of whiteness are ubiquitous] squeezing me out. So I claim outer space. So I see myself in the constellations. So I project myself onto the Cub in sky that points the way, dependable, necessary.
Almost falling asleep again, I write this all down in my laptop for school, saving it to data stick and hard drive, a shock about two hours later as I format my stuff. Where did this come from?
Some could psychoanalyze the hell out of this, and if that’s you, have at me.
Meanwhile, I’ve skipped out of doing homework for a day or maybe some more, writing short stories for about a week straight for various competitions, sequestered for Dungeons & Dragons sessions about twice a week for two more, somewhat strung out. I wrote a paper that required extensive insight into fan fiction, a completely unknown territory for me, from scratch my entire month off from school, all to the same sounds of electronica. I’ve wrangled together times to hang out with friends, having to arrange for cars so we could drive forty minutes out to finally see The Shape of Water. My brother’s applying to college, and I’m showing him how to do school. I haven’t worshipped or cast spells or done rituals for about that same amount of time, crashing around. I’m stressed out, and like those who need brief release, I stare into a mess of blue surrounding the sun, somewhere out there, Ursa Major.
I have about one hour to do three times the work at the library today, the building closing early.
I need a big ol’ Bear hug.
Maybe I queer my universe so I can think clearly.
So maybe I couldn’t think of a topic for this month and decided to loosely discuss queer genders and sexualities as tools for finding magic wherever a person goes. It works for me.
Maybe some more on that: I was reading a paper about six months ago at the graduate student level that staunchly defended a “[cis] male and [cis] female balance” of the cosmos (if I find it again, I might still link it). Thinking unspecifically through many of the things I read as a child and sometimes now, I get the same vibes. Even as an openly bi “not-girl,” I saw infinite skies populated with just boys and girls. It’s probably why there are gender nonconforming Witch and Pagan adults who see their genders and sexualities as liminal, without anchors, just spiritual or just physical, works with or without magic. (I’ve talked more coherently about this before.) Let’s queer that place. If a spectrum doesn’t fit, then a sphere, a garden, a software of genders and sexualities. Don’t let the axes shape and stratify us.
So anyway, those were the musings of a sleepy Cub MSM. Stay safe and stuff out there this February.
What are some of your thoughts? Any interesting dreams or ideas regarding gender, sexuality, something else? Cool insight on Ursa Major and Minor? Comments are always something. Stress is, too, although I’ve been reading this post “Progress Not Perfection” by Jesamyn, which is pretty dope.