Animals as metaphors: The way
of the Bear (strength)
most common bear is the black bear (which can be colored brown, cinnamon,
and various combinations). The largest bear is the Alaska brown bear.
The bear is the largest of carnivores, though it will eat almost anything.
It eats less meat than many smaller carnivores, such as the fox. Its
sense of smell is better than a dog's and their hearing is just as
sharp. Contrary to popular belief, bears do not truly hibernate. They
live to some extent on their stored-up fat. The body temperature will
drop about 13 degrees and the breathing rate can be cut in half. The
depth of their sleep depends greatly on the amount of fat stored.
During the winter sleep the black bear's kidneys shut down completely.
All bears are astonishingly swift. The black bear and grizzly can
reach running speeds of 35-40 mph for short distances. All bears can
climb. They are playful both as adults and as young cubs. The grizzly
has long been known for its strength and ferocity. Although it can
be quite fierce, it is not naturally aggressive. The polar bear attains
a length of about nine feet, often weights more than 1,000 pounds,
and is the most carnivorous and aggressive of all the bears.
|The name Arthur derives from
the Celtic word "Art" for bear. King Arthur is the "bear-man"--as
strong and powerful as a bear. Of all the animals sacred to the Druids
and Celts, the bear seems to be the very first of animals to be honored
and revered. It was an emblem or symbol of the warrior caste. A constellation
was named for it--Ursus Major, The Great Bear. The bear has lunar
symbology, giving it ties to the subconscious and even unconscious
mind. It was an animal associated with the goddess Diana, a goddess
of the moon. To the Eskimos, the polar bear is "Nanook"
and is believed to have great supernatural powers. To the Inuit people,
polar bears embody the spirit of the North at the top of the world.
These fearsome and independent animals were hunted for food and skins,
and for generations were considered relatives, embodying and reflecting
the great spirit of the people. All bears can swim and walk like humans
(heel to toe).
The bear is associated with elemental forces, primal power, sovereignty,
intuition married with instinct. There is no better image for the
power necessary to face and manage fear.
The bear serves as the icon for strength,
the fourth element of heroism.
June 15, 2005
Copyright © 1996-2005
Charles A. Smith. All rights