Are you afraid of the bears or you quite adore them? Nevertheless, a bear sighting is a reminder from Spirit that you may need to take time to heal, replenish your reserves or simply stop and smell the roses—whether physically, emotionally or spiritually and perhaps all three.
Make time for quiet solitude, reconnect with nature, and take time to meditate. Some believe that a bear sighting is also a reminder to savor the sweetness and joys of life (like honey).
A Powerful, Healing Spirit
In the realm of spirit animals, the bear represents strength, courage, confidence, and leadership. If you are always the leader and always having others depend on you, the bear is reminding you of the importance of self-care. You cannot be a grounding force for others if you are not strong and actively grounding yourself. You can call upon the spirit of the bear when you need healing, paying special attention to those areas that feel weak or in need of rest and repair.
Shamanism and Symbolism
The bear has been a spirit or totem animal—probably longer than any other animal in history. Many shamanic cultures worldwide, associate the bear with healing and with women.
Many cultures through time and worldwide have had bear shamans and bear societies. Bear shamans have different gifts. Some have the ability to heal deep wounds and even bones (representative of a bear’s claws and their ability to dig deep). Others claim to have the ability to walk between life and death. This is essentially a resurrection (representative of the bear’s practice of hibernation).
The Celts connect the bear to the Sun and the Goddess Artio who was known also as the “great protector.” The ancient Greeks and Romans connect the bear to the god, Artemis the Hunter, and Diana, the goddess of Fertility.
Vikings and Native Americans alike saw the bear as a great warrior spirit and their warriors or shamans often wore bear skins to invoke their warriors with bear-like courage and power before a battle or a big hunting expedition.
Many Native American tribes revere the bear not only for its strength but its power as a healing force too. Bear medicine is powerful in the areas of strength, healing, and wisdom. Many tribes, such as the Zuni, wear bear charms for healing and protection. Also, many tribes have bear clans including the Creek, Chippewa, and Huron to name a few. Many tribes also have medicine men or shamans who utilize the healing powers of bear medicine.
Spirit, Totem, and Power Animals
As explained on whatismyspiritanimal.com, animals can appear as a spirit, totem or power animal—all of which have slightly different meanings. A spirit animal represents abilities you possess or abilities you need to cultivate. When an animal repeatedly comes to your attention in talks, dreams or real-time sightings, this is your spirit animal. If the bear is your spirit animal, you identify with the cycles of nature. You are a healing and grounding force for yourself and for others. You understand the importance of taking time to regenerate, heal and rest, and you are likely very comfortable in your own company and in moments of solitude. The bear is the spirit animal of the healer.
A totem animal is an animal you are drawn to and perhaps you surround yourself with. In the case of a bear, it could be bear statues, rugs, or other symbols like bear tracks. You are drawn to them and collect these things to surround yourself with bear spirit. If the bear is your totem, you likely possess courage and great strength and you are probably seen as a leader in your family or community.
A power animal is one we identify with internally. We can call upon our power animals when we need to summon inner strength. If the bear is your power animal, you are a symbol of strength that others naturally gravitate to and rely upon for support because you possess the confidence and leadership qualities that others respect. You are both thoughtful and powerful.
The Gentle Giant
The bear itself is a solitary creature that represents quiet thought, retrospection, and comfort in one’s own company. The bear is also large, powerful and fierce, representing a strength and stature that others would dare not provoke. In this light, he is like a gentle giant who shows us that we can live a life that is nature-centric and generally peaceful, but when provoked, attacked or hunted, we can also stand our ground and will not be intimidated.
As a parent, the bear shows its love and loyalty to her cubs—protecting them at all costs but also providing an environment in which her young feel safe to play and learn responsibilities that will carry them into their adult life.
Different Bear Species
There are different species of bear, each with their own unique gifts and habits. For instance, there is a vast difference between a panda and a grizzly. If you have a bear sighting and identify with the spirit of the bear, find the species you most identify with and study its traits in order to utilize them in your own life.