Spiritual Direction

The Spiritual Meaning of A Bear in Your Path

On a trip to Tennessee with my family this summer I encountered a bear. I was leading my dad through some morning yoga poses on the front porch of our 200 year old cabin when my dog, Foxy, started barking and tearing at her leash. I turned around to see a large black bear walking down the gravel driveway toward us. I felt no fear, only curiosity as it approached. I guess Foxy’s barking was too annoying, because the bear turned and decided to head through the pasture back to the woods instead. The experience left me with a surge of excitement as I rushed to look up possible spiritual meanings for seeing a bear.

View from the front porch of the cabin

If you are like me and believe that God is in everything, then there are signs all around us to help guide us through life. It naturally follows then that animals and acts of nature serve as symbols and messages for us.

What I discovered about bears could fill a book, but here were some key learnings for me.

  • Bears represent your root chakra because they have dominant earth energy. They are grounded and are inviting you to become more grounded. “There may be issues that have come up in your life related to survival stress, such as financial issues, domestic insecurities, physical health concerns, or a sense of feeling “lost.” Bears can show up to help you balance the root/1st chakra and bring balance back to your survival energy center.”  (crystalclearintuition) My root chakra was feeling attacked at this time. I was worried about an upcoming annual physical, the future of my job and finances, and relationships in my family.
  • The mother bear nurtures her young. Perhaps you are being invited to nurture something in your self or you need some nurturing from others as you process grief or heal old wounds. Bears have been a symbol of healing in some Native American tribes. I most certainly had been undergoing some emotional healing of old wounds throughout the summer and I desired support from my family during this vulnerable time.
  • A bear in your path is about boundaries. They are protective and can be modeling how to protect your own energy with boundaries in intellectual, emotional, physical, or spiritual realms. It is time to stand in your power. What are you letting dominate your life? I had been struggling to stand in my power at work. A new perspective was needed as well as clear boundaries.
  • Bears are all about balance. They hibernate in winter, reminding us to take time for introspection and rest as well as time to be active out in the world. The hibernation could also represent meditation, and the awakening in spring can be about waking your state of consciousness. I had been neglecting meditation and rest as I felt both pressure and motivation to produce during my summer away from school. I realized my body and mind greatly desired rest and needed to honor these cycles.
  • Finally, bears represent playful energy, curiosity, and adventure. They are a reminder to take more risks and try something new. It is time to get out of your comfort zone and be courageous. This felt like a push to take a leap with my career.

What animals have you noticed lately? Maybe dragonflies keep landing on you or a bird has been pecking at your window. Take some time to reflect on what that animal’s message for you may be. (Oh, and dreaming about animals counts too!) I would love to hear about your experiences with animals in the comments below.

About the Author: Julie Glaser is a healer who creates sacred spaces for people to share, release, and grow. She’s in the habit of being in awe and wonder and writes to share her own experiences and learnings with other inquisitive souls in the process of transforming.

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