Bear Spirit Meaning, Symbols, and Totem

Written by : Posted on May 27, 2011 : 5 Comments

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On May 27, 2011
Last modified:June 17, 2013


Bear totem description, symbolism, and spirit animal meaning.

Picture of Bear Totem MeaningBear Spirit Animal Symbols:

Introspection, Solitude, Motherhood, Hibernation, Dream Time, Healing, Communication with Spirit, Thoughtfulness, Natural Strength, Intuition, and Territorial

Bear Totem Meaning and Medicine:

The bear spirit animal brings with it many different meanings. If the bear spirit totem has entered your life recently take a moment to stop and reflect on some of the following messages:

  • Retreat, Rest: Have you been running non-stop, have you disconnected from yourself in the everyday hustle of life? Bear spirit medicine guides us to take time for ourselves, to withdraw into your den, rest, and regenerate. Slow down and take some time to reconnect with yourself, meditate and reflect on who you are and what you want.
  • Independence: Are you depending too heavily on people in your life? Bear totem animals are extremely self-sufficient spirits, during the winter they live almost entirely off of fat stored in their bodies.  If you have seen bear recently her message may be to remember that you have the animal strength and power to live and thrive within yourself.  Just as the bear spirit animal awakes in spring for a new and fresh beginning, so should you!
  • Balance, Sleep: Are your sleep cycles out of balance? Bear totems are active both in the day and night.  This symbolizes bear spirit’s connection with solar energy (strength and power), and lunar energy (intuition).  Bear spirit is powerfully connected to dreams, it guides us to seek balance in rest, make sure you are getting enough sleep and pay attention to any dreams that stand out in your mind!Totem Mother Bear and Cubs Relationship
  • Protection, Strength: Has someone entered your personal space, is someone threatening you or a loved one? Or has someone simply come between you and what’s truly important? Bear animal spirits are fierce defenders and does not tolerate any threat to its lair or cubs, meaning you shouldn’t endure any intruders in your life. You may need to stand up to someone or something that has come between you and your family or friends. This could be an outsider or even someone you are in a relationship with.
  • Solitude, Territorial: Have you recently moved or has there been a major change to your immediate environment? There is a great deal of meaning buried within bear spirit’s cave. If the bear animal totem is speaking to you it is important to ensure that your home is safe and sound and that you feel completely comfortable there. Hang some paintings or posters and make sure that your special place really reflects your inner spirit.

People with Bear Totem are…

  • Strong
  • Natural Leaders
  • Generous
  • Stable and Reliable
  • Extremely Loyal
  • Intuitive and Empathetic
  • Creative Dreamers
  • Modest

Bear Totem RunningDue to the introspective and self-analytical nature of bear spirit people, they are full of wisdom and insight. Don’t expect them to volunteer advice readily however, they must be asked directly. Even when giving advice or guidance bear animal spirits tend to be somewhat reserved or modest, after all there is wisdom in keeping advice to themselves and avoiding any problems suggestions may create. Also, it is important to remember that the self-knowledge this spirit totem imparts is exactly that… for the self… bear totem may not be able to communicate what he/she thinks is best for anyone else.

This animal totem’s internal nature can be a doubled edged sword and as a result people with this power animal can be closed off or shy. People with this spirit totem may struggle with being lazy or unmotivated. Bear spirit can be very stubborn and getting information about what’s really going on inside can be like pulling teeth. People with the bear as their spirit animal can become overly sensitive and easily defensive, don’t press them, if they feel threatened they may retreat within and after that… good luck. If you’ve been let into bear totem’s lair or personal space consider yourself lucky, it means you are trusted!

Bear Spirit’s Message and Meaning:

The bear animal totem holds the spiritual teachings of introspection and self-knowledge. When spirit bear lumbers into your life pay attention to how you think, act and interact with others.

Interpretation of Bear Totem Animal in Dreams:

When bear animal medicine enters your dream it is a very powerful spiritual symbol and message. Seeing the bear totem symbolizes independence, rebirth, and the cycles of life. Bear totem is trying to awaken your inner power and lead you to a period of spiritual meditation and thinking.Angry Bear People in Dreams

If you are the bear animal in your dream, or if the bear totem is friendly and not aggressive, you may need to open up, to bare your inner self and bring everything out into the open.

If bear spirit is chasing or attacking you the message or meaning is that you are neglecting or harming yourself or you have entered a threatening situation.

Finally, bear totem in your dream may symbolize your mother, or your relationship with her. Pay attention to bear’s animal behavior in this instance and analyze how it may reflect on this important bond.

Cultural and Spiritual Symbolism of the Bear Totem Animal:

  • Native American: In Native American lore, bear totem is spirit keeper of the West, the place of darkness, maturity and good harvest.
  • Celtic: Bear totems are associated with the moon as a protector of the underworld and dream realm, and also with the sun as a symbol of motherhood and springtime rebirth. In Germanic culture, the bear totem is also a symbol of the warrior, and is linked to the Old English word beorn which means both bear and warrior respectively.Ancient Roman Bear Cultural Symbolism
  • Greek: In Greek mythology, Zeus lusts after Castillo, a nymph of Artemis. Hera, Zeus’ jealous wife, transforms the beautiful Callisto into a bear. Callisto, while in bear animal form, later encounters her son Arcas. Arcas almost shoots the bear, but to avert the tragedy, Zeus hurls them both into the sky, forming Ursa Major.
  • Chinese: There is evidence about early bear spirit animal worship in China and among the Ainu culture. In feng shui bear totem is viewed as a protector of the home and people often adorn their entryways with a symbol of this animal.
  • Christian: The bear is most often seen in the Bible as a symbol of God’s wrath. (2 Ki 2:23-24) (Amos 5:18-19) (Hosea 13:8-9) (Lam. 3:10-11)


  1. I found this very helpful to help me understand bear’s meaning! Thank you very much for this information.

  2. For many years I’ve often had dreams about animals mainly bears. I’ve dreamt of this one particular bear more often.
    Interesting reading…

  3. Patricia Findley on said:

    I was recently diagnosed with early-stage invasive lobular carcinoma (ie. breast cancer)…I am now preparing for radiation therapy for 6-7 weeks. Where I go there is a place where they take our picture and we can share “totems” with others of our the spirit we want to bring to our healing and recovery process…I have gotten a standing bear totem for the sharing counter as I believe that my totem that I want to share with everyone is the “Spirit Bear” of the strength, courage and healing of the forest…thank you so much for posting this information for me so that I can print it and share it with the other patients so that they too can share the sprit of the “Spirit Bear of the Forest” as they too participate in their treatment and healing.