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Religion Laid Bear, by Alan Leddon

Reviewed by Erin Lale

Religion Laid Bear by Alan Leddon is both a history of the ancient bear cult and a guide for modern pagans, heathens, and shamans to bear spirituality. It examines forty deities descended from the ancient bear god. The book also includes rituals and other information for the modern practitioner.

Leddon postulates that the bear god was the first god of humanity, and that this god was a goddess, taking on gender about 40,000 years ago. The cave bear was a large and powerful creature, and would have been quite impressive. The Bear as Great Mother Goddess is common to cultures across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In northern climates, when the bear was hibernating, the sun and the vegetation of the earth were asleep, too, and the bear hibernated in a cave, a connection with the underworld. As humans transitioned from a hunting and gathering to an agricultural lifestyle, the bear cult waned in favor of the cow cult, but some bear cult traditions survive even today.

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