Bear – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

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Bears are widely spread mammal carnivores. There live in North and South America, Europe and Asia. These animals have large bodies, covered with shaggy fur. Eight species of bears exist today.

These animals are usually solitary by nature. They are gifted with an excellent sense of smell. They are active both during the day and at night. Although heavy, they are excellent runners and swimmers. They also have an excellent ability to climb.

These animals live in dens, which are usually caves or their logs. They spend more than 100 days there, during their winter hibernation period.

Prehistoric people have hunted bears for their fur and meat. Most of the existing species are endangered because off poaching and a spread network of international illegal trade.

The first bear ancestors are believed to have lived 38 to 18 million years ago, but these animals didn’t look much like the bears of today.

The polar bear is the largest existing bear, weighing up to 700kg. The smallest is the sun bear which weighs up to 65 kg. The weight of bears, especially in temperate and arctic climates varies because they lose weight during winter and they build fat during the rest of the year, especially summer and autumn.

These animals are robust and have short tails. Males are usually larger than females. They have short limbs with strong bones. They use their strong front limbs to catch their prey or to dig dens and excavate their prey from the ground. They both eat meat and plants.

Their short limbs make them appear clumsy while walking. These animals are able to run fast but they get tired soon. Because of that, they usually hunt by ambushing their prey.

These animals can stand upright on their back feet. They have flexible front paws which enable them to grasp leaves and fruits from trees. Their paws help them climb, dig, and catch prey.

The color of their fur is usually uniform and consists of long hairs. The fur protects the bear during the winter and it sheds in spring. They have winter and a summer coat. They have a thick coat of blubber under their skin, also for protection against the cold. Their ears are also small, to minimize the loss of heat from their bodies.

They don’t have a good sight and hearing and have a color vision. Regardless of that, they have a great sense of smell, possibly better than any other existing mammal. Bears use their smell to signal each other, to warn of rivals, find potential partners, as well as to find food.

These animals also have an excellent memory that helps them find the places they once were, especially where there’s good food.

They have massive skulls and strong jaws. Their teeth are large, but they don’t have as much power because they are adapted for eating plants as well.

Scientists have determined big differences between the teeth of different bear species and that leads them to believe that the bears are still in the process of evolvement into a predominantly herbivorous species.

Bears spend much time eating and searching for food, mainly because they need to make reserves for the winter. For example, the panda spends usually 12 to 15 hours feeding during a day.

The most widespread of all existing bear species is the brown bear.

Bears are solitary animals and only mothers with their young could be seen in a group. They can locate carcasses from a distance. They mostly consume plants, such as berries, roots, leaves, but they also love fish, carrion, and fresh meat

. They have an ability to eat the plants in the most nutritious and digestible phase, avoiding old plants. They know when each food should be collected during the seasons of the year.

Some species eat honey and fish. Brown and black bears sometimes attack deer or cattle, usually the young or the weak ones. The mothers teach the young predatory behavior.

Bears have various vocalizations, such as clicking, grunting, moaning, sorting, blowing air or huffing. They sometimes bark during alarming situations or excitement. When they feel aggressive, they roar, growl, chatter their teeth, etc.

Bears also have visual means communication. They stand upright to exaggerate their size and intimidate their opponent. Some bears have visual chest markings which also serve for intimidating purposes.

Bears are territorial, and they mark their territory by rubbing their scent on trees and other objects. After that, they usually claw and bite that object.

The bears’ pregnancy lasts about 6 to 9 months. The birth usually takes place during their hibernation period. The cubs follow their mother outside the den after 2 to 3 months after birth. The males don’t have a role in raising their offspring.

The mother is very protective of her young and is prepared to defend them with her life.

Hibernation usually occurs with bears in the colder climate. During that period, the bears slow their metabolisms and decrease their body temperature and heart rate. These animals usually don’t wake up during this period and spend it without eating, drinking water, defecating or urinating.

Females give birth during the hibernation period and that is when they wake up.

The most important and dangerous predator the bears have are humans. Their offspring is also killed by tigers and wolves.

As a spirit animal the bear is a bringer of many gifts and abilities, and you are truly fortunate for having the bear as your totem.

What does the Bear Symbolize?

The bear symbolizes power, balance, groundedness, leadership, authority, courage, fearlessness, humor, playfulness, bravery, healing, strength, confidence, action, healing abilities, helping others, protection, communication, solitude, rest, quietness, introspection, aggressiveness, energy, endurance, isolation, stamina, peace, soul, subconscious, resurrection, hibernation, patience, motherhood, nurturing, introspection, benevolence,  etc.

There are some variations in the symbolism of bears depending on their type. For example, the black bear signifies the need to go within and explore your hidden motives and desires.

This totem animal asks you to discover your life journey or to act to fulfill it. This bear symbolizes introspection.

The grizzly bear could indicate being overly sensitive and cautious regarding what you consider outside threats.

This bear is calling you to protect your territory but is also reminding you not to overreact in some situations. The brown bear is possibly asking you to establish balance and harmony in your life.

The Meanings of Bear as a Spirit Animal

The bear spirit animal has many different meanings. Here are some of them:

Leadership. The bear totem animal is asking you to undertake a leadership role in some life situations. With the bear as your spirit animal, you are most likely a person who is a leader by nature and has the power and ability to organize and lead other people towards the right direction in life.

Fearlessness and courage. Bears are fireless animals and don’t have many enemies. They are not afraid to confront anything which comes their way and will defend what is theirs and fight for it. The bear totem animal is teaching you to release all fears you have and courageously confront whatever comes your way.

Staying grounded. The bear is a heavy animal, standing firmly on the ground. This totem animal is teaching you of the need to be balanced and grounded, regardless of the circumstances surrounding you. With the bear as your totem animal, you are most likely a balanced and harmonious person.

Confidence. The bear spirit animal is giving you the gift of confidence. This totem is teaching you to be confident about your abilities to achieve anything you desire.

Stamina. The bears are very enduring animals. As totem animals they give us the gift of stamina which is an ability to go through difficulties without much effort.

Hibernation. Bears spend the winter months in deep sleep. This totem animal is teaching you of the need to retreat from everyone and everything and spend time on your own, taking care only about yourself and your needs.

Isolation. Bears tend to be loners. This spirit animal is teaching you to retreat from time to time to spend some time on your own and contemplate on your life and about possible future goals.

Communication. Bears use different means of communication, visual and vocal. The bear spirit animal is reminding you of the importance of communicating to others, as well as communicating your desires and thoughts. No one can understand them nor respect them if you don’t vocalize them in some manner.

Bear as Your Totem Animal

With a bear as your totem animal you are a born leader. You have the bravery and fortitude for that role. You are a person who can’t stand injustice and help those in need.

These people are often found in the medical profession and healing. If the bear is your totem animal, you need periods of total retreat during which you will completely rejuvenate yourself.

You are very temperamental and sometimes you have an aggressive approach to people. But you are also very just and fiercely defending what you think is right.

If the black bear is your totem animal, you are most likely a very patient person and wait for the right moment to fulfill your goals and desires. You intuitively know when the right time to act is.

You are also a very confident and determined person, aware of your goals and desires. You are very protective of others, especially your children. You also have an authoritative personality.

With the brown bear as your totem animal, you intuitively know what is best you and your life. You choose wisely your direction in life and you are very good at helping others do the same. You might often find yourself in a position to help large groups of people in some way.

If a grizzly bear is your totem animal, you are most likely very aggressive and competitive. You would do anything to accomplish your goals. You are usually a loner and don’t like to listen to other people’s opinions. You want to decide on your own, without anyone influencing you.

What if the Bear Appears in Your Life?

When the bear appears in your life it could be calling you to be more courageous. It might be calling you to protect someone or indicate that you need protection yourself. This spirit animal appears in your life when you need more strength to deal with some challenges you are facing.

It also gives you the endurance to reach your goals.

The bear appears in your life when it’s time to begin guiding and leading others instead of just being a follower.

This spirit animal could be a reminder that you need to retreat from everyday madness and your busy schedule. The bear is asking you to take time off and just relax and cleanse the accumulated stress and negativity.

You also need time to connect to your inner being and learn to listen to its voice and guidance.

The bear is asking you to listen to your own inner guidance and not succumb to the influence of others, even if you they think they have your best interest in mind.

The bear also helps you to decipher correctly the messages and the guidance from your inner being.

The bear appears in your life to encourage you and assure you of your power. It is also a reminder to be grounded. The bear also helps you ground yourself and stand firm on the ground. It helps you find balance and inner peace. The bear could help you discover or rediscover your power and your abilities.

This totem animal is also helping you to reconnect with yourself and heal. The bear spirit animal comes in our life to support us during challenging times. This totem animal is asking you to be courageous and face your problems without fear.

The bear appears in your life when you need to stand up for what you consider is right. This animal is also asking you to take control over your life, or it might be asking you to take the guiding role in someone’s life. It is asking you to embody the qualities of confidence, fearlessness, and inner strength.

When mama bear with her cubs appears in your life it could be a reminder to spend more time with your children or it could be a warning that they need your protection.

When to call on Bear?

You can call on bear spirit animal when:

  • You need protection;
  • You need strength to deal with some obstacles;
  • You feel powerless or helpless;
  • You need more respect from others;
  • You need to ground yourself;
  • You need to believe in your power;
  • You need to reconnect with your inner being, your intuition and inner guidance;

Dreams about a Bear – Interpretation and Meaning

Dreams about bears often indicate the need to go within and explore the subconscious levels of your being. This dream could also indicate having some undesired thoughts you are possibly not aware of, which are attracting unwanted circumstances into your reality.

This dream could be a reminder to begin listening to yourself instead of doing what others are expecting of you. Follow your inner guidance and intuition.

The bear in your dream could be a calling to take time off and retreat from others so you could fill your batteries and recuperate.