Bear, Power Animal, Symbol of Strength, Introspection, Knowledge,
Dreamtime and Transformation
By Ina Woolcott
Some anthropologists say that the Bear was one of the first animals to be
revered by humans. Celtic tradition holds that the Primal Mother is the Bear
goddess Artio, a fierce protector. Bear is also associated with the Goddess
Artemis. Bear has been a figure in the forefront of many Native cultures.
Beliefs state that the power of the Great Spirit lives through the bear,
therefore making them highly sought after guides due to their fearless
medicine. This belief led to a constellation to be named after it, Ursus
Major, The Great Bear. Some traditions see Bear as the spirit keeper of the
West, where harvests are abundant and maturity resides. Those who walk or
live in areas where bears reside know -or may quickly learn- that the most
dangerous animal in the woods is a bear mother protecting her cubs.
If you have bear as power animal, you will most probably be quieter during
the winter months, which is similar to the bear hibernating during the
winter. But in the spring you must awaken to seek whatever opportunities
arise. Be fearless in standing up for what you believe in. You are also
encouraged to use your abilities as a natural healer. Bear is linked to
trees, considered to be natural antennas, joining the heavens and the Earth.
Bear also has ties to the seven colour rays of the Universal Light, as well
as Lunar associations, linking the conscious and subconscious mind.
Hibernating during the cold winter months, means bears know instinctively
when the time is right and where to go. They also know when to wake back up.
From this we can see it is good to know and realise that we sometimes need
to be alone, to ponder and reflect, to examine our thoughts and emotions,
where we are headed on our life journey. We need to trust and follow our
instincts. Bear is active day and night, not like other animals, symbolising
his connection with solar energy, strength and power, lunar energy and
intuition. This enhances and teaches us how to develop these qualities
Bear medicine teaches us introspection, aiding us to digest our experiences
and to discover that we have within ourselves the answers to all our
questions. We all have bags of wisdom, if only we slow down and listen to
what our intuition, our inner knowing voice is telling us. It is useful to
be with yourself at times, so you can be yourself and are able to uncover
your own answers to whatever challenge you are facing. On the other hand,
just like Bear you need to know when to come out of 'hibernation' and to
interact with others.
The female bear gives birth to the cubs while asleep. Due to this Bear is
regarded as a symbol of the deepest inner wisdom, of the dreamtime and
transformation. When giving ourselves over to sleep we become receptive to
the Great Mother who nurtures us. As we delve deep into our identities and
lose our egos, going back to our primal and elemental natures, we find we
are part of Infinity and of All That Is/The Universe/One.
Winter symbolises darkness, death, and the inner world. Winter is a time of
year which many humans fear. Much as they fear death. Yet an intrinsic part
of the beauty of Bear, is its connection to the pattern of the stars during
this season. The Druids associated the Pole Star of the constellation of the
Great Bear, to King Arthur (whose name means Bear). During the Winter
Solstice, the darkest night, the Pole Star guides us. Thus, when our world
appears negative, dark and confused, when our physical senses and reason and
logic seem to fail us, when it feels there is no path to follow, we go
with-in to discover our deepest resources, and the light of inner knowing
and intuition aids us in finding our way home.
Sometimes bears are over confident and to quick to act on their fiery anger.
Although possessing perhaps just a trace of fear they can forget caution, an
important characteristic to own. If bear is you guide try not to forget
caution. If you are unaware, or even disregard your limits, this can have
consequences you may not want! If Bear crosses your path, pay attention to
how you think, act and interact. Use discernment in everything you do and
say, discriminate with care. You are shown how to make decisions from a
place of power.