Earth's Children

The Feast of Ursus occurred after the Bear Ceremony, which was the height of the Clan Gatherings that were held every seven years. In preparation for the feast, the skin of the cave bear that was killed during the ceremony was mounted in the mouth of the cave so that the bear's unseeing eyes could watch the festivities.

The cave bear was a guest of honor at his own feast. The feast also honored the spirit of any hunter who was chosen by Ursus to accompany him to the world of Spirits. (If a hunter was killed during the ceremony, it was deemed a great honor.)

At the feast, the choicest morsels of every dish (except the meat) were selected for the bear and placed before its skin. Clan tradition dictated that all of the bear meat must be eaten on the night of the feast. The bear's flesh and blood were a sacred communion that strengthened the bond between Ursus and his people and bound all of the people together as the Clan.

The feast was followed by the men's rites, during which the clan's communal bond was further reinforced, and the women's dance, which allowed the women to release the pent-up emotions that they had to repress during everyday life.