Symbolism of Bears (13 Surprising Meanings) – Dreams & Spirit Animals

Bears are known as powerful and strong animals with the ability to harm or kill a human being. They are sometimes described as the “king of the forest”, especially male bears. Female bears, on the other hand, are well-known for their immense level of care for their offspring.

With that in mind, we often connect bears to the following traits: strength, solitude, energy, confidence, peace, motherhood, courage, optimism, and majesty

Let’s take a look at the different meanings bears have as symbols, in dreams, and as spirit animals.

What Do Bears Symbolize?

Bears are connected to many positive virtues that make them a feared proposition. 

1. Strength

The bear is a strong animal, capable of taking down a human being with their strong paws. They are known as kings of the forest because they control the area they live in by displaying their claw marks all over the territory. Male bears are especially feared and other animals in the forest avoid their territory.

2. Confidence

Bears are leaders of their families and leaders of their pack. They know how to lead the charge and control their territory, but they also know how to provide for their families. Their presence alone is intimidating and widely feared, even among the human species. 

They are confident in their ability to survive in a harsh environment and they also know how to lead others. Bears are symbolic of confidence and we sometimes connect them to very confident people – leaders who know what it takes to win.

3. Solitude and Peace

The male bear is a lonesome specimen who likes to make sure everything is kept in check with their own values. Very rarely will you see a male bear together with other bears, because their own company is enough to help them survive and keep them alive.

Also, bears are emblematic of peace. They will only attack when provoked and when they feel intimidated. Most of the time, however, they like to keep away from others and keep the peace in their realm.

4. Courage and Optimism

Bears are action-takers. They give the initiative to others, just like a leader has to do. They are confident in their ability and they know they always stand a chance in a fight if they are diligent and optimistic. People who are courageous will sometimes be compared to bears. 

Other animals that symbolize courage are the leopard, kangaroo and cat.

5. Motherhood

Sometimes, bears are mistaken for being heartless creatures that will attack us even if unprovoked. That could not be further from the truth. Female bears have exceptional child-raising skills.

They like to keep a close eye on their offspring at all times. And when they feel their kids are in danger, they will attack anything that comes close to them, including humans. That’s how most of the bear attacks happen.

6. Majesty (Respect)

As we’ve already mentioned, bears are often revered as “kings of the forest”. They have widespread control of their territory where they are the undisputed ruler and controller of the lands.

They like to mark their territory, warning other animals that if they do come close, their life is likely to come to a bitter end. Their stature and their presence alone is enough to keep other animals intimidated. In the past, many royal families had the bear in their emblem, displaying their majesty and announcing they are to be respected.

Another sign of respect for bears comes from the Native American community. They held bears in very high esteem, as they were often just as significant as human beings. They even held ceremonies after they killed a bear to show some respect for their lives.

7. Healing Energy

Many communities from history thought bears carried special healing energies. This is especially true of Native American tribes. They believed bears would bring them prosperity and health. Because of that, it was an honorable deed for an Inuit hunter to be eaten by a bear. They believed they would be resurrected as shamans if this happened to them.

The Symbolism of Bears as Spirit Animals

In terms of spirituality, bears are a popular figure when it comes to spirit animals. Their virtues and traits are highly sought-after, so they are a very common spirit animal for people from all over the world.

But what exactly does it mean to have a bear as your spirit animal?

  • You are strong in adverse times, and you provide support for others who are facing difficulties in their lives. Just like bears, you remain strong when going gets tough. For that reason, you gain a lot of respect from others and from your community.
  • You’re a powerful figure ready to lead your “pack”. You have immense leadership qualities, but your stature also portrays your high level of confidence in your abilities.
  • You always strive to be truthful and honest to others, which leads others to respect you. Bears command a lot of respect, also partly because they always try to be honest and keep playing by the rules. That’s why you always try to be as truthful as possible to other people in your life.
  • Even if you’re a leader, you always seek to have as much time as possible for yourself. You want a peaceful environment without foreign intrusions. You also like to live a simple life without too many disturbances.
  • You’re able to help others in need when they face personal problems, whether they are physical, mental, or spiritual difficulties. Bears have been revered as powerful healing animals throughout history. Native American tribes held them in very high esteem due to their ability to heal wounds of physical, emotional, and spiritual nature.
  • You take great care of your family. Just as female bears, you’re always mindful of your children, but you always have a high level of care for your other family members. When your children or offspring are hungry or demand something, you’re happy to provide. And when they stray off the path, you’re always there to protect and guide them.

The Symbolism of Bears in Dreams

So we’ve seen what bears represent as symbols, but what does it mean if you encountered a bear in your dreams? Let’s take at various possible scenarios and possible interpretations of what they could mean for you.

8. A Bear is Attacking You

One of the most common dreams people have is when bears attack them and maul them. Interestingly enough, this has a meaning for you. It means you’re angry about something, and that your anger is hard to keep in check. However, if the bear is going after your head and is trying to bite it off, it means your life might be in danger in some way or another.

9. Running Away from a Bear

Running away from a bear is also very common in dreams. This means you’re running away from something in your life, whether it’s another person, your past, or an unfortunate event you’re trying to forget. It also symbolizes you should face this problem as soon as possible.

10. Killing a Bear

Killing a bear in a dream signifies you have great courage to face obstacles and adversities in your life. It might also represent your pride in handling an adverse moment in recent history. To kill a bear takes a lot of courage, which you have in abundance after your recent triumph(s).

11. Riding a Bear

When you’re riding on a bear in your dreams, it represents your inability to fulfill your ambitions in your real life. Only when you’re able to dismount and face the bear you’ll be able to achieve what you’re after. To do that, you’ll need a lot of courage and mental strength, too, but what you can achieve by doing that is completely worth your effort.

12. Talking to a Bear in Dreams

If you’re talking to a bear in dreams, it means you’ve gathered enough courage to talk to someone special or someone you hold in high esteem in real life. It also tells you not to judge everyone by their appearance. The bear might seem intimidating, but it’s very friendly and nice to talk to.

13. Turning Into a Bear in Dreams

If you imagine yourself as a bear in dreams, then you’re wishing to have some traits that a bear has in real life. It also tells you that you might need to employ some positive traits of the bear if you want to get over an event in your life.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a strong person with a lot of confidence and are optimistic about your life, then the bear might be your spirit animal. But it also means you’re able to help others and will always take great care of your family.

The bear is a mighty and feared animal that’s not to be taken lightly. If you encountered a bear in your dreams, there might be different scenarios that provide some context to what’s happening in your life.