What comes to mind when you think about bears? Depending on where you live (and what you watch on TV), you might picture fluffy polar bears or terrifying grizzlies. Or you might imagine cubs in hats at the circus. But what’s the spiritual meaning of bears? Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
- what does a bear symbolize?
- 1. Be Flexible in Your Approach to Life
- 2. Evolve and Adapt to the World Around You
- 3. Someone Near You Needs Protection
- 4. You May Need Physical Healing
- 5. You Need to Stand Up for Yourself
- 6. Step Back and Enjoy Life
- 7. You Need a Short-Term Partner
- 8. Share Your Hidden Strength
- 9. You Should Broaden Your Perspective
- 10. Take a Gentler Approach
- 11. You Need Down Time
- 12. Prepare for Harsh Seasons
- 13. You Require Some Introspection
- 14. Someone Close Needs Validation
- 15. Be Open to New Experiences
what does a bear symbolize?
1. Be Flexible in Your Approach to Life
Human beings don’t like to be put in boxes. We feel it hems us in and restrict us. But we love to put others into groups so we can understand them better. Right from daycare, children define their friends as the dumb kid, the smart kid, the quiet kid. By teenage, the categories are more tightly defined. But what does this have to do with the spiritual meaning of bears?
Bears are versatile and can fit into multiple classes. They can swim, climb, hunt, fish, dig holes, and even open fridges. They’re gentle enough to learn tricks but are powerful enough to crush your skull in a simple swipe. They can be pets or predators. So bears invite you to be an all-rounder, or they describe you as one. Don’t lock yourself into a specific way of being.
2. Evolve and Adapt to the World Around You
The spiritual symbolism of bears can be expressed in lots of ways. You might see a bear (at a distance!) while hiking in the woods, or you might see the caricature of a bear in unexpected places. Maybe you dreamed about bears. Or maybe you were Netflix-and-Chilling when the algorithm offered you three bear movies in a row. What are your spirit guides trying to say?
If you’re seeing bears in multiple forms and contexts (e.g. books, product labels, etc.), the emphasis is on the versatility of bears. We’ve mentioned how they weave between seasons and lifestyles, from fruit-fishing to berry-picking. You might see bears during a life transition like the kids leaving for college or your company being sold. Be brave and adapt to survive.
3. Someone Near You Needs Protection
You’ve probably heard about the Mama Bear instinct. You know, those incidents and anecdotes where a mother lifted a ridiculously heavy object that was crushing her baby. Yes, we know these are feats of adrenaline, and that the mom in question can’t understand or explain how she did it. So if you’re seeing bear totems around, it may be a call to protect.
When you see bear images everywhere (and yes, that includes photos, movies, or songs about bears), your spirit guides are signaling that someone needs your help. It’s probably someone you wouldn’t ordinarily think of supporting. Maybe they hide their fear well or seem capable of defending themselves. But your guardians have a helicopter view, so they’re sending SOS!
4. You May Need Physical Healing
In the olden days, people didn’t live very long. We didn’t have electricity or modern medicine, and most people lived outdoors. So any insect bite or infection could lead to pain and death. But indigenous traditions had certain healing tools – the most important being rest and sleep. Given time and space, your immune system overcomes lots of health issues.
The deepest form of sleep that humans know of is anesthesia. And in the animal world, hibernation can be a symbol for that. So when you see bear imagery, it could be a sign that you’re unwell, and it may be useful to visit a doctor for some exploratory tests. You might also see bears before a surgery or medical procedure. That’s your angels sending comfort.
5. You Need to Stand Up for Yourself
Sometimes, the person that needs protection is yourself. Maybe you’ve been a doormat to someone at work or an old friend. Your higher helpers are saying it’s time to be assertive and guard yourself because their passive-aggressive comments and taunts are about to escalate. Their mean words and tricks are hurting you more than you know. Establish boundaries!
This isn’t always easy, but that’s why your heavenly guides are invoking the spirit of the bear. Think of it this way – #TriggerWarning: have you ever seen a shaved bear? At a glance, most of the bear bulk is in their fur. Underneath, they’re alarmingly scrawny. Maybe you see yourself that way and underestimate yourself. But your angels know your power – use it!
6. Step Back and Enjoy Life
A bear can destroy a human in seconds. One swat from that powerful paw can smash your skull. And if the bear rears onto you or bites you, you’re history! So why are we so drawn and fascinated by them? Well, when they’re not being killing machines, they’re just so cute! As long as they feel safe, bears can be adorably cheerful, and mama bears play with their kids.
This could be part of the reason why we buy teddy bears for our kids (and our sweethearts). So your bear symbol might be a reference to their cuddly, personable nature. Maybe you’re taking life too seriously and your angels want you to lean back, relax, enjoy the sweetness of life. Or maybe you’re acting like a gruff grizzly. The spirits want to bring out your softer side.
7. You Need a Short-Term Partner
Among Kenyan urbanites, there’s a cheeky idiom – baridi ya watu wawili. The transliteration is ‘cold worthy of two people’ but the figurative meaning is ‘cuddling weather’. You’ll hear people use this phrase in June and July, the coldest months of the year. But it can be used on any day that’s particularly cloudy. And yes, lots of people do couple up.
But this isn’t a permanent relationship – it’s a survival mechanism for those chilly times. And bears are similar – they only get together to mate. Bears aren’t native to Africa, so the bear symbol might mean you’re lonely and want company. You want someone to be your human teddy bear, just for a little while. So if they do show up, don’t take it too seriously!
You might start to see bear symbols around your work or home space. In this context, the message will refer to people who often work and interact with you. They may routinely underestimate you and take you for granted. So when you suddenly start seeing bears on mugs, product labels, or emojis, your angels are saying it’s the right time for you to shine.
Think of it this way. Most people focus on the size and physical power of a bear. But did you know they can run 35mph? You wouldn’t know it by that clumsy, ambling gait, but there’s no way you can outrun that! So your spirit guides are whispering hey, we know you have secret gifts and talents. It’s time to expose those abilities – we’ve set up the perfect scenario to do it!
9. You Should Broaden Your Perspective
The spiritual meaning of bears can be general or specific, according to your context. So suppose you’re feeling stuck. Maybe you’re studying for an exam but your mind has hit a wall and the words won’t sit still on the page. Or maybe you’re trying to mediate between warring relatives and you can’t see how to win – how do you referee your mum, wife, and daughter?
It could be a work thing where you’re trying to resolve an office conflict and nobody is backing down. Or maybe you’ve just been hired as HR is a contentious company. So if you open a book and suddenly see a bear, the message is to diversify your approach. You’ll need to get creative and combine brains and brawns to resolve this crisis! Think outside the box.
10. Take a Gentler Approach
The earlier bear symbol was a reminder to stop and smell the roses. Life isn’t always a battle, and your spirit guides want you to lean into joy and beauty. But sometimes, the bear message isn’t just for you. You might encounter bear symbols as a parent, a boss, or an army captain. In all these contexts, the meaning is the same – you need to try a softer way of doing things.
Many societies are hierarchical, and some spaces don’t allow subordinates to talk back. This could be a teacher with students, a line manager with interns, or a parent with their kids. You’re used to taking the gruff, authoritarian approach. But your spirit guides are reminding you it does more harm than good. In this context, they want you to try being a kind leader.
11. You Need Down Time
Most people know that bears hibernate during the winter months. We assume they hide in caves and burrows and sleep for 90 days – maybe 100. And in the poles, bears typically hibernate for half the year! But in reality, bears don’t spend the whole time asleep. They won’t come out of their holes too often because it’s too cold and there’s nothing to hunt.
The focus on hibernation is rest, survival, and self-care. It’s isn’t merely about sleep. So if you start seeing bears everywhere, your guardians might be letting you know you’re burned out. You need to set aside some time for restoration and self-care. Take a vacation or ask for help. Maybe you could get an assistant or a temporary reduction of your official responsibilities.
12. Prepare for Harsh Seasons
If you know anything about the bear’s hibernation cycle, you’ll know why the bear can be such a powerful spiritual symbol. Seeing a bear could be similar to the biblical dream of seven cows. In this story, the Egyptian Pharaoh dreamed of seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows, and Joseph interpreted it as seven years of bounty followed by severe famine.
The dream allowed that nation to stock up food and avoid starvation. In a similar way, bears prepare for winter by eating a lot and bulking up. This way, when snow covers everything and no food is available, they can survive on their body’s stored fat. Similarly, bear symbols might mean a lean period is approaching. Your guardians want you to be fully prepared.
13. You Require Some Introspection
Do you know why solitary confinement is such a terrifying concept? It’s because for the typical person – especially in the age of cell phones and minuscule attention spans, being left alone with your thoughts is terrifying. It can literally drive you mad. But as the sages tell us, spending time inside your brain can be helpful. Sometimes, you need to pause and look deep.
Repeatedly seeing bears on billboards, books, or team jerseys could be a call to introspection. This doesn’t mean you should lock yourself indoors and turn off the lights. But it does mean you need to tune out the physical world and focus on your spirit for a while. This could be a long bath with soothing music, a hike with your dog, or an afternoon of guided meditation.
14. Someone Close Needs Validation
Scientists are constantly warning us not to anthropomorphize animals. That’s when we watch an animal doing something and interpret it in human terms. For example, we all assume dogs feel guilty and cats don’t, even though experiments prove your dog is just submitting to the tone of your voice. They’re not admitting they’ve done something bad!
But even experts that know better get attached to animals. They can’t help being influenced by the smile of a dog … or a bear! And Else Poulsen proved that bears smile at their kids or on any happy occasions. Seeing a bear symbol could therefore mean you need to show your approval to someone that needs it, whether it’s a toddler or someone you supervise at work.
15. Be Open to New Experiences
Suppose you’re finishing a phase in your life. You might be a graduate, an empty-nester, or a divorcee. It might even be a break-up or a new job. You’re scared, cautious, and closed off. Then you start seeing bears everywhere. This is a message from your angels that you need to open up. Don’t let that hurt and anxiety stop you from experiencing joy or seeking adventure.
Think of it this way – kids are fussy eaters. But bears will eat anything – fish, seals, carrion, berries, bamboo – they’ll even eat Cheerios! Similarly, people who’ve been dumped don’t try new things or dare to find new love. Your heavenly helpers are inviting you to be like the bear and explore life’s sensations and treasures. Your heart may be damaged, but you’re not dead!
When was the last time you received a message from bears? Tell us about it in the comments!
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2 thoughts on “15 Spiritual Meanings of Bear”
I met with my cousin after 32 years of not seeing each other.
We were in a national park where we set up our get together.
We were talking about life when suddenly, we saw a brown coloured black bear, which walked by us, about 30 feet away and wandered off back in the woods.