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Bear Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)


In moments of weakness, the bear symbolism is what you need to raise you back up and give you the courage to move forward. So let’s dive into this spiritual meaning of bear and learn how to use its energy efficiency in our own favor.

Table of contents

Bear symbolism and meaning

The bear is the way to go when you find yourself in an impasse. This animal’s power will make a hero out of you, as it symbolizes strength and great courage. Limitations will disappear, and obstacles will fall before you. 

The bear’s medicine powers can develop your leadership capabilities to their full potential and even raise your spiritual level, giving you enlightenment and awakening your consciousnesses.

If you are a parent and this symbol appears in your life, it is a sign to take good care of your family, for it may find itself in a dangerous situation.


This animal spirit determines you to not only lead others but to be a guide for them as well, as it’s meaning is of inspiring those around and staying true to one’s self. 

The bear energy works as a spiritual guide that aids us in meditation by silencing our minds and helping us hear our higher selves, as well as the divine. 

Panda bears symbolize prosperity and give us the ability to multitask successfully. The Feng Shui bear charm functions as a protector of the household when placed facing the entrance.

Bear Native American symbolism

The bear symbol is one of the most common signs in the Native American tribes. This animal is thought to have magical and healing powers and is used as a bear medicine being. They see it as an emblem of strength and wisdom and use the spirit animal bear in various divine ceremonies.

These beliefs are shaped by this animal’s ability to continue fighting even after it was hurt, and thus it is considered that it can heal itself. The Pueblo tribes link the bear’s meaning to the color blue and view it as the West’s guardian.


The Zunis create a bear totem by drawing it in stone to provide them with good luck and protection. The symbolism of a bear is present in many charms, necklaces, especially when it comes to its claw, and it is used to bring power and strength to warriors. 

The bear spirit was very respected, to the extent that it was rude to speak its name outside rituals. For hunters, killing the mama bear meant terrible luck. 

The Native American bear symbol in folklore depicts the animal as a being that bestows judgment amongst others and, at the same time, is very susceptible and easy to trick. (1)

Bear Eastern Symbolism

During the Han Dynasty in China, the bear’s symbolic meaning is of a divine, honorable being; thus, it was transformed into a bear animal totem, which helped its owner in gaining spiritual enlightenment.

The medical symbolism of a bear is present in this culture as well, and it is the reason why this animal is hunted brutally in these parts, to collect its gallbladder and create medicine out of it. 

In Korean mythology, the bear meaning is a maternal one, as it was believed that there was a bear that turned into a woman and had a son who created the first Korean kingdom. 


What does a bear symbolize throughout the Japanese regions? The Ainu people, for instance, have a supreme bear deity that rules over all gods. 

As a spirit animal, the bear was said to have visited people dressed in worldly skin and fur and gave itself as a gift to them to be eaten. This is a ritual in which the Ainu people send the spirit away back to its spiritual realm. 

The bear’s divine meaning was so strong that people would even treat them better than their children, breastfeeding them if necessary.

Bear Christianity symbolism

What is the symbolic meaning of a bear in the Bible? It is portrayed as a ferocious beast, without consciousness, but as God’s wrath unleashed towards the sinful.

The bear’s spiritual meaning is mostly negative, as we can see in the narrative of Elisha that invokes God’s wrath through two bears that killed 42 children, for calling the first mentioned a “baldy.”

David had to protect his flock from bear attacks, and Daniel compares the Persians to bear characteristics.


As a positive aspect, the bear’s spirit is nurturing and protective to its cubs, with strong maternal traits. In Isaiah’s paragraph, the bear significance is of a voracious beast that disturbs Christ’s sheep. 

It is still depicted as a friendly animal that lives along with other domesticated animals in peace, fear being an emotion of the past, their babies growing together, and never eating flesh again. 

It is an analogy of the love between humans when the power struggle shall exist no more, and everyone will be equal and caring for each other. (2)

Bear Celtic symbolism

The bear animal meaning for the Celts is of strength and stamina and was used for this reason as a totem and even as a name, being the word from which Arthur derived. 

The bear symbolism in dreams is of a protector of this Other World of spirits and death, in which he retreats during winter hibernation. 

During our sleep, the bear spirit guide, also known as the Great Mother, nourishes us. It is also a symbol of the Sun, of rebirth because of how the females emerge with new cubs in springtime.


The Celtic bear meaning for shamans is healing the body, mind, and soul and heightening your spiritual level.

Artio, the bear goddess, is invoked by hunters in these realms to obtain success and keep safe. It is also a symbol of strength and power, but also of the divine. 

For warriors, it was the bear power animal that gave them the ability to fight not only through physical might but by knowing when is the right moment to act. 

This spirit guide helped them interact with their superiors, such as kings. (3)

Bear African symbolism

What does a bear represent in the African culture? As it is a rare animal in this region, it’s presence in folk beliefs is also scary.

In East Africa, the folkloric Nandi bear from Kenya is a ferocious, nocturnal, red-haired beast, twice the size of an average bear, that takes human scalps and hunts people deliberately to kill them. 

This brown bear spirit animal was never seen officially and has escaped bullets and traps instead of a local sighting. At the moment in time, it was believed that it might be a surviving prehistoric creature. 


Natives reported that it was a creature born from a crossing of a demon and a hyena. 

This spirit animal bear meaning is of an evil being that must be feared even by the tribes that were used to hunting lions armed only with spears. 

But also of an intelligent creature that could easily pass through men’s walls and traps and get to its prey, which was anything that stood in its way.

In Egypt, the white bear symbol is a mysterious beast illustrated as an animal by the size of a sheep and relatively docile. (4)

Bear in dreams

Dreams about bears are signs of a beastly behavior manifested towards someone who might not have deserved it. 

What do bears mean in dreams biblically? Dreams about bears and cubs are a signal of your need for affection and attention. Dreams about bears chasing you are an analogy to the fears and the past you are running from.

Burying your traumas is not the answer. The polar bear’s meaning in dreams is of a strong and powerful rival, which you feel is hard to conquer. 


If the bear is somewhere far away, it means that mean-spirited people surround you. In a dream, the black bear is an evil enemy that only desires to see you ruined and crushed. 

Dreams about bears in the house signify the unbearable person within that place, whether it’s a family member or yourself. 

The friendly bear dream meaning represents the new abilities we hold, probably due to fear. 

A talking bear in a dream is a conversation you are having with yourself. Your higher being is telling you something you refuse to acknowledge while awake. (5)

Bear encounters and omens

The grizzly bear symbolism is of a fierce animal, more dangerous even than the black bear. When encountered or sighted, it is a sign of imminent danger. 

The black bear meaning speaks of a different influence, as it represents a protective individual in your life.

Polar bear symbolism is an omen of the need to be more flexible and adapt to your current situation. Some say that bear breeding is a sign of misfortune, especially if you want to breed your farm animals.


What does a bear mean when it’s licking its cubs? It seems that folks believe they are shaping their babies into bears.

Seeing a bear paw symbol helps you gain sustenance, even more, if they are licking it.

Are bears good luck when encountered? It is if you can grab its heart and eat it, for it will bestow courage upon you.

The bear’s energy can be transferred to a child if it rides it’s back and will make him immune to whooping cough.

The bearskin can cure your backaches if you sleep in it, and the bear’s teeth can heal your toothache if used as a totem.

Bear mythology and folklore

In Native American folklore, the bear spirit animal meaning is of a guardian of the forest and an ally to humans with the ability to speak.

Jataka stories depict a bear’s characteristics as a craving creature, unable to control its urges and appetites.

Asian folklore illustrates somewhat strange bear symbols, in which Indian women have sex with bears and are even kidnapped by them. 

These beliefs are found in medieval Europe as well. The bear traits include lust and an obsession for physical pleasure. There is a story of a young woman abducted by a bear and used for sexual pleasures. 


The beast kept her imprisoned in its den by blocking the entrance with a stone, while he went and collected the best fruits he could find for her. 

These bizarre tales are said to be born from the fact that bears copulate similarly to humans. In Nordic mythology, the bear symbol meaning of the Berserker is of this animal’s skin and are warriors of the deity Odin. 

These people used to wear only the bear’s fur on their back in battle. But what does a bear mean for them? It is a spirit they invoked to make them insanely courageous during fights. (6)

Bear spirit animal

The bear spirit animal is the energy of courage that replenishes you with power. This animal will take you through any challenging situation with your head up, and it will remain to lick your wounds and make you whole again.

The bear spirit animal personality makes you fearless. It pushes you to believe in yourself because as this animal has no predators, so will you never know of anyone who can outstand you.

People governed by this animal spirit are born leaders. They can command others or are followed by their admirers awed by their confidence and strength but respect this bear person for his grounded and humble nature.

The bear personality has it’s negative aspects as well. It describes an impulsive person that can be easily angered and should not be attacked without any foundation. 

Overconfidence can also be an issue, and if you have this animal as your spirit guide, be careful and try to control your emotions, which can easily burst and attack others. 

Your lesson would be to become more cautious and take control of your feelings and beastly reactions. The polar bear spirit animal makes you playful but strong and fierce simultaneously. (7)

Bear totem animal

What does the bear symbolize as a totem? The black bear totem gives you the ability to wait for the exact timing to eject your ideas and obtain the desired results. 

Black bear symbolism is about having patience, confidence, and knowing who you are and what you want. The black bear spirit animal that works through this totem is a powerful and dominant being with maternal instincts.

The brown bear totem helps people who own it to understand their role in this lifetime and work as a guide in this instance for others.


The grizzly bear spirit animal totem belongs to fierce people that can’t take no for an answer and have their minds on winning. The grizzly meaning is of lonely and independent people, hard workers with an assaulting behavior.

The polar bear totem has a similar effect as the black one, while the white bear symbol gives patience and great focus.

Bear medicine totem bestows balance and good health. The bear totem pole makes people loving guardians of nature. Bear totem animals are found in possession of those who know their divine mission of returning balance to the world. (8)

Bear power animal

This power animal will appear in the moments when your intuition is failing you, to restore it for you. This powerful presence will heighten all your senses and make you keen and aware of everything around you.

Let this animal be part of you and discover abilities and qualities you might not have been aware of owning. It will give you a firm walk through life, confidence, and wisdom.

The bear medicine card speaks of obtaining enlightenment through self-contemplation and accomplishing all our desires and plans. 


It invites us to meditate, clear our minds, and seek the answers within ourselves, as the bear hibernates in Earth’s womb.

The bear’s energy allows us to take a peek in the spiritual world of our ancestors and indulge in their wisdom, see future events, and understand the path we must walk on. 

The cave in which this animal sleeps symbolizes the pineal gland, used in foreseeing and mysticism. It emerging in spring is an analogy to awakening one’s consciousnesses.

The bear’s power is to bring forth spirituality, divination, and clarity to humans and help them reach higher realms.

Bear tattoo meaning

When bear tattoos are illustrated on men, it’s their way of invoking this animal’s strength. At the same time, for women, it is a symbol of maternal protection, love for her children, and the extent to which she is capable of going for her offspring. 

This tattoo represents power, love for nature, and spirituality. It can also symbolize your armor toward the aggressiveness of the world.

Bear tattoos can look very cute and suggest a calm and lovable person, but it is the calm before the storm. This animal’s fuzzy look can transform into a hungry, evil beast when taunted with.

The Teddy Bear was born after President Theodore Roosevelt refused to kill a baby bear. This tattoo is a symbol of love, nurture, innocence, and childhood.

Tribal bear tattoos symbolize spirituality. People that get this image are in search of answers to the mystery of life. Panda bear tattoos are used as a lucky charm on one’s skin, balance, and harmony.

The koala bear tattoo is suitable to calm and joyful people. These animals are said to be the keepers of Earth’s history and memories. The Californian bear tattoo is an emblem of independence and freedom.


Dedicate your time to invoking this spirit animal into your life, and all the answers to your life questions will become clear as day. Wisdom and enlightenment will bestow upon you through the bear spirit animal. The courage that will surround you will make you capable of anything and help you obtain life’s desires.


2 thoughts on “Bear Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. I am about to go way out of my comfort zone today towarss my life purpose journey and boy it has been a long process. Recently I have been having dreams with powerful animals in them including polar and brown/grizzly bear. It is great to have an understanding of what it means, outside what I interpreted myself. Thank you 🙏

  2. L Yvonne Ruiz

    Thank you for this article on bears. My curiosity about their symbolism is due to my novel I am writing about native people living in a Mexican forest before the Spaniards came to the western hemisphere.

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