Bear:Magickal Correspondences

Bear: Animal Symbol of Imbolc, Magickal Correspondences


Imbolc is the Sabbat of the Maiden, marking the season to prepare for growth and renewal.   Many indigenous cultures acknowledged and revered the dual nature of the bear, both in hibernation through winter and awakening in spring.  The hibernating bear is associated with winter, introspection, lunar influences, the feminine, the subconscious and darkness.  The awakening bear is conversely associated with spring, the sun, action and activity, light, the masculine, and consciousness.  This dual aspect of the bear continues in alchemy, where the bear is considered a symbol of transformation.   Bears are also a powerful balancing element in many magickal practices.  

Imbolc is synonymous with the first signs of spring:  resurrection, new growth (especially early spring flowers) new plantings, and newborn animals.  The bear’s association with Imbolc reflects this reawakening and re-emergence into the world.  The bear is a consummate mother, caring for her young with observable devotion.  The bear is a symbol of motherhood and devotion to offspring. Because of a bear’s ferocity in defending it’s young and it’s territory, the bear is also a warrior emblem, conveying aggression, strength, victory in battle and ferociousness.  In Scandinavian legend the bear was an aspect of the God Odin, and Berserkers were known to wear bearskins to enhance their ferocity in battle. Also in Scandinavian mythology, Thor is often portrayed with a bear.  Warriors believed wearing a bear skin in battle assured them of victory and dominance over rivals.  Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, is often portrayed wearing a bear skin, signifying her ferocity and skill as a warrior and huntress.   In Celtic tradition, the bear is plays a dual role, associated with both warriors and the Celtic Goddess Berne.


The primary meaning of the bear as a spirit animal is strength and confidence: standing against adversity; taking action and assuming leadership.   Bear medicine emphasizes the importance of solitude, quiet time and rest.   Bear energy provides a strong grounding force and source of support in times of difficulty. Bear energy provides courage and a stable foundation to face challenges.   The bear is also a symbol of taking leadership in your own life or in the lives of others.   This animal is feared and admired for its strength, and its presence inspires respect. Since the bear is often associated with shamans in many traditions, this spirit animal can symbolize healing abilities. The bear is an animal that lives a solitary life. Having a bear as a spirit animal can mean that you find balance and comfort in solitude. The bear spirit can also be a great helper to dedicate time and energy to more introspective practices, such as self-inquiry or meditation. Call on the spirit of the bear to help you find your center and ground yourself in a strong foundation that will support you in more busy and noisy times.


Bears figure prominently in the mythology of nearly every Native American tribe. In most Native cultures, Bear is considered a medicine being with impressive magical powers, and plays a major role in many religious ceremonies. Bears are symbols of strength and wisdom to many Native Americans, and are often associated with healing and medicine (since bears continue fighting after being seriously injured, Native Americans often believed they were capable of healing their own wounds.)  Among the Pueblo tribes, bears are considered one of the six directional guardians, associated with the west and the color blue.  The Zunis ascribe healing powers to bears and carve stone bear fetishes to protect them and bring them luck. 

About the Author

When not writing for Ravenhawks, Kamberlyn works with clients to bring about the life, relationship, finances and career that their soul desires for them.  She can be found on KEEN at Kamberlyndivinelove or through her website,