Animal Totems: Mine Seems to be Black Bear
My friends and family know I love black bears, I think they’re majestic and beautiful. When I was decorating The Little House after it was built, I knew I wanted black bears to be the theme. In decorating, they also represent the embodiment of nature, the mountains and woods in which we live.
Our woods are alive with black bear. Although I’ve never actually seen one, we have seen the tracks. A friend of my aunt’s also saw a cub doing his business as she was driving down our road one night (answering that age old question about a bear doing it in the woods!)
Native Americans and those who embrace Native American spirituality believe there is more to being drawn to certain animals. Because they believe that God is everything that lives, they believe we are drawn to these animals because they represent our “totem,” the animal in nature that connects us to the Higher Power and acts as our spirit guide.
I’ve heard more than once, “Bear, now that’s a good symbol.” Although my name reflects Native American heritage, I wasn’t raised in the culture and have only read books on it, so I decided to take a look and see what the bear means to Native Americans. Of course, in this day and age, the research begins on the Internet.
This website on Native American art defines a bear as a totem animal as, “The protector and symbolizes physical strength and leadership as well as the wild, untamable side of humanity.”
This website goes into a little more detail about black bears and what they can teach us:
- To turn inwards for guidance
- That a period of reflection and time to digest is necessary to grow and be reborn in the spring.
- How to accomplish our goals through introspection
- How to bring our dreams into concrete reality
- That we all have the answers within us (inner knowing)
- That there is a time for playfulness and a time to be assertive
What struck me when doing the research is the section on “How to Apply a Bear’s Teaching to Your Life.” I won’t write out the whole page here, but let’s just say some of the things I have been doing to put me out of sync with my totem relays directly back to my recent test of faith.
I haven’t been allowing myself the “time of hibernation,” or of nothingness, which I read as meditation. Most important, I need to own my dreams and goals, define my boundaries and take time to connect with nature. I have felt especially out of sync since giving up our at least once daily walks to sub-zero temperatures these past few weeks.
An interesting introspection based on my décor.
Do you think you have an animal totem? If so, what is it?