Sunday, March 4, 2012
Bear Tattoo Symbolism
Bear symbolism meanings: Resurrection, power, fertility, dominion, fortitude, motherhood, protection, initiation, confidence
Native North American Indians held the bear as a symbol of freedom and a ritual rites of passage. Certain tribes understood the cycles of time and life. The bear is a marker for such passage because of the females unique process of birthing. To the native American the bear is symbolic of the potential power found in the concept of peace because this large, ferocious looking animal is actually quite peace-loving. In ancient hieroglyphs and cave markings, the bear is thought to be the liaison, or Great Communicator between earth and sky.
In Japanese lore the bears and therefore bear tattoo symbolism represents wisdom, stoicism, patience, strength and benevolence.
In Celtic symbolism the bear is considered for her lunar power. To the ancient Celtics the bear is associated with the moon, and thus carries a feminine theme with concepts such as: childbearing, mothering, and fiercely protective of family and young. The bear is associated with the Celtic Goddess Artio. In spite of it's nurturing connotations the bear is also a symbol for warriors and military to the Celts.
In Chinese symbolism the bear is associated with yang energy - masculinity, power, force, domination, authority. Chinese legend states that if a woman dreams of a bear whilst pregnant, she will give birth to a boy (a very big deal in China). She-bears are symbolic of maternal wisdom in Chinese symbolism.
Alchemically, bear can mean the foundation, the first building block in alchemical symbolism. In alchemy, the bear symbolism depends upon whether the bear is hibernating, or active. If hibernating, the bear is symbolic of the female, passive, dormant nature of potential (moon/quicksilver). If active, the bear represents assertive, male, confident domain (sun/gold).
In Greco-Roman mythology the bear is represented by Diana/Artemis, goddess of the hunt and shares more affiliations with lunar symbolism. Ursa major and Ursa Minor are the constellations of the Great and Little bears in the heavens. These constellations also mark the seasons
Shamanistically, the bear is a protective, warrior representative. It is invoked for the purpose of shielding the tribe from negative influences. It's energy is also called upon to calm and settle anxious tribes (hibernation).