Totem : Bear

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the bear is emblematic of grounding forces and strength. This animal has been worshiped throughout time as a powerful totem, inspiring those who need it the courage to stand up against adversity. As a spirit animal in touch with the earth and the cycles of nature, it is a powerful guide to support physical and emotional healing.

Some traditions see Bear as the spirit keeper of the West, where harvests are abundant and maturity resides. 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 color rays of the Universal Light, as because Bear is active both day and night Bear is connected to both Solar and Lunar energies resulting in a connection to both the conscious and subconscious mind.

The bear, an ancient spirit animal worshiped in many traditions

The bear as a spirit animal or totem is one of the most ancient worshiped animals. Remains of bears have been found in many archeological sites in Europe especially, where bear bones and skulls were found together with human bones dating back to the Neanderthals.

It is said that the Vikings would wear bear skins in times of war to scare off their enemies. They would appear as powerful as these wild animals. Bears symbolize warrior spirit and courage to fight. The bear’s spirit would be invoked to help the warriors in the battle.

In ancient Greece and Rom, the bear was a totem animal associated with the Goddess Artemis and Diana, goddesses of fertility. In contrast, for the Celts, the bear would represent the sun.
The spirit of the bear as healer and teacher

Interestingly, in Siberia, the name used to designate women shaman is the same as the word “bear”. In Northern America, in the Inuit tradition, the bear spirit animal is also connected to the shamanic tradition and women.

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.

For the Inuit people, the bear is a strong power or totem animal. In some beliefs, it is said that if an Inuit hunter accepts to be eaten by a bear, he may reincarnate as a shaman and carry the spirit of this animal. The polar bear is considered as the “Wise Teacher” as it shows how to survive in harsh conditions.

The Shoshone sages found connections between human and beast and from these associations would interpret profound meanings that propelled the community into direction, action, and wisdom. One such connection to bear meaning comes from a Shoshone sage who, set about bridging worlds in a manner of trance walking. During his trance walk, he was gifted with the site of a clan of real bears who were performing what seemed to be a ritual dance in the golden rays of the sun. The Shoshone sage understood this to be a dance of gratitude as well as a prayer for the healing and protection of their young. From that point further the Shoshone have instigated their own Sun Dance where the bear is a central figure of the ritual symbolizing protection, strength and continuation of the progeny of the tribe.

The bear, a spirit animal symbolic of strength and courage

The spirit of the bear is a strong source of support in times of difficulty. It provides courage and a stable foundation to face challenges. When the bear shows up as a spirit guide in your life, it’s perhaps time to stand for your beliefs or your truth. This power animal will provide for support and strength.

The bear is also a guide to take leadership in your life or in other people’s lives. This animal is feared and admired for its strength. Its presence inspires respect. Its strength and powerful stature will inspire you to step into a leadership role in your life and take action without fear.
When you invoke the power of the bear totem, reflect on the qualities of inner strength, fearlessness, and confidence in yourself and how you can project them in your world.
The spirit of the bear and healing

The bear, a spirit animal of healing and introspection

As a Sioux symbol, the bear also has healing symbolism. Sioux legend indicates mother bear was weary from carrying her heavy babies in her belly. She was having trouble walking and feared she could not make the journey to the great foraging fields to feed during her final days of pregnancy. She rested against redwood sorrel plant and the plant spoke to her, telling her that if she ate of its leaves her body would be able to sustain her load.

Since the bear is often associated with shamans in many traditions, this spirit animal can symbolize healing abilities and stepping into the role of the healer. If the bear shows up in your life, it may also be time to take care of your own needs for healing, whether it’s at the physical, emotional or spiritual level.

Be sensitive to where you are at and reflect on where you would most need healing. You can call on the bear spirit guidance to direct your energy in a more conservative or focused way.
Bear spirit animal and grounding forces

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 realize 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.

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.

The bear is an animal that lives a solitary life. Having a bear as a spirit animal can mean that you find balance and comfort in solitude. The presence of this power animal could point to the need to “regroup” and set up boundaries, so you feel comfortable in your own space. It may be a call to find time away from the crowd or busyness and favor quiet time and rest.

The bear spirit can also be a great helper to dedicate time and energy to more introspective practices, such as self-inquiry or meditation. Call on the spirit of the bear to help you find your center and ground yourself in a strong foundation that will support you in more busy and noisy times.

Source material edited from the following sites:
http://www.spiritanimal.info
totatema.wordpress.com
http://www.whats-your-sign.com/native-american-bear-meaning.html

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