Bear Symbolism

by vbright

I recently had occasion to go through all of my belongings, among them, many Native American art pieces. The many "Bear" pieces I came across caused me to research the meaning...

My Quest for the Spiritual Meaning of Bear Symbol

Your spirit guide cannot be chosen

I've always admired people who knew so much about spirit guides, and even knew what their own spirit guide was. Knowing many Native American people, that happens a lot. I also know some Pagans who are aware of their spirit guide. Me? Not so much, or maybe I'm now discovering it.

Recently, while going through all of my belongings, I kept out my vast collection of Native American Art. It became very apparent that I had more items which were of bears than any other animal. I knew a little about bear symbols and symbolism, but now I wanted to know more!

Some of my Bear collection

Could it mean that is my spirit guide?
Beaded Bear Claw
Beaded Bear Claw
Veronica Bright
Alabaster Bear Carving
Alabaster Bear Carving
Veronica Bright
Bear Carving
Bear Carving
Veronica Bright
Bear Claw
Bear Claw
Veronica Bright

Bear Symbol

What it means

Most people may think of fierceness when they think of bears, but in Lakota spirituality, they often symbolize gentleness. It is believed that bear hibernation is associated with human dreaming. Both are considered introspective and "in touch" with the cycles of the earth. There is a strong feminine aspect associated with the bear symbol because of this return to earch each winter. The bear symbol also denotes protection and nurturing.


The Lakota call the bear "Tob Tob", which means 4 by 4. It is related to the correlation of humans and 4 legged animals brought by the 4 winds. In fact, it is one of the 16 mysteries of the Lakota. The bear symbol deals with the human in relation to creation. The bear symbolises truth; to the family, the clan, the nation, the world and the universe.

Note: The number "4" is also very important in Lakota Culture and symbolism. It represents the four winds, four directions, and the four elements of earth, water, fire and air.

Through the wisdom of Tob Tob, (The Bear), we learn to recognize what is right for us as individuals. The wise bear knows what plants and herbs to dig for sustenance, when to fight and when to hibernate.

The bear symbol became very important to represent wisdom, and protection, as well as a means to become one with nature, which the Lakota believe is necessary for peace and happiness.

The Bear Symbol Items

Artix Mama Bear Native Indian Pattern Unisex Hoodie Sweatshirt X-Large Black

Exclusively from Artix¨ official Artix¨ brand. Designed and printed in the United States. Our products are manufactured using state of the art in-front heat pressed graphics. Ho...

$26.99  $17.99
Dan's Jewelers Bear Claw Feather Necklace Pendant Native American Indian Inspired, Fine Pewter Je...

This pendant makes a great necklace for men or women and is made of fine pewter. Your jewelry piece arrives ready to wear with our signature adjustable rope necklace.

Only $12.93
Dream Catcher 13 Inch/ Bear

This 13" double dream catcher features a brown bear. A smaller 5" dream catcher hangs below the main one. Painted canvas picture measures 10". Authentic looking dream catcher is...

$17.95  $14.52

Native American made Bear Symbol items

Vintage Native American Sterling Silver Turquoise Bear Claw Pe...

Time left: 1 week, 2 days
Current bid: $29.99  Place bid

Native American Jewelry Handmade Sterling Silver Turquoise Bea...

Time left: 3 weeks, 2 days
Fixed price: $14.99  Buy It Now


Time left: 23 hours, 55 minutes
Current bid: $9.95  Place bid

Native American Indian Jewelry Handmade Sterling Silver Coral ...

Time left: 3 weeks, 2 days
Fixed price: $9.99  Buy It Now

Bear Symbol and Spirit Guides

Now, I'm not yet convinced that the Bear is my spirit guide, but I would more than welcome it! I've been told that we can't pick our guides, rather they are sent to us. I suppose, if I were asked to choose without realizing the meaning of the bear symbol, and others, I may have chosen, oh, maybe a dolphin, or horse.

Now, however, having learned so much over the years about Native American spirituality, and culture, I think I would be more apt to choose differently. I would welcome any spirit guide that came to guide me, and if that happens to be a bear, I'm sooo ok with that.

Updated: 08/15/2011, vbright
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


Raintree on 10/14/2013

Very interesting to learn about the bear. I would love to know my spirit guide.

Darcie on 08/22/2011

Lovely relationship between the bear and spirituality

kajohu on 08/15/2011

I enjoyed reading about the symbolism of the bear, or "Tob Tob", as a spirit guide. I wish I knew what my animal guide was too!

Cathy Rogers on 08/15/2011

I wish I could find my 'spirit guide' as well... love this!

You might also like


Silence is sometimes a terror, but it is also a source of spiritual inspiration

The Wisdom of Near Death Experiences: a review

Penny Sartori's book is well researched, informativeand challenging to conven...

Disclosure: This page generates income for authors based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google and others.
Loading ...