The Pueblo Indians believed that bears had the power to heal; that they were healers of nature. According to legend, a sick bear experienced healing after eating leaves of a redwood sorrel plant. Upon being healed so quickly, she, out of joy, spread the news of this medicinal plant to her sisters in the Sioux nation. Hence, bears are also known as the communicators of nature.
A bear is perhaps amongst the most wonderful creature on this planet with some extraordinary significance in various tribes of various lands, the Native Americans in particular. These tribes conducted various rituals to avail the assistance of this spiritual animal who, according to them, possessed the power to link them with the spiritual world. The whole act of the bear being isolated from the world during hibernation, was to the Native Americans, a spiritual conquest to use silence to connect with the higher self.
Apart from being spiritual healers, bears were also feared and/or worshiped for their hunting skills, which were something that the tribes treasured the most as it is necessary for survival. Power and fierceness were other qualities that this animal had been admired for.
The wonderful thing about this tattoo theme is the fact that there isn't just one kind of bear. From the ferocious black bear, to the deadly saint in white―the polar bear, to the cute adorable Panda bear, to the super-cute teddy bear, all these different designs fall under this category. So, you all can very well imagine the diversity that lies in each one's meaning and symbolism. Here, we shall have a look at some amazingly meaningful tattoo designs along with the meaning and symbolism of these designs.
Great battles have been won and conquered with courage and bravery, be it a battle with the world outside, or the world within. Bears are considered to be great hunters, warriors of the wild. Capable enough to instill fear and doubt in the hearts of the most deadly enemy―that is what a bear does before attacking. It displaying signs of rage, anger, and roars loud enough for the sound to force its enemy to run away. That is what power does!
A grizzly or a black bear tattoo is specifically associated with these fiery traits. Interestingly, some sources also state that in Christianity, a bear also symbolizes resurrection. This is in relevance with this animal's nature to go into hibernation for a long time, a temporary phase of seclusion and loneliness, and then returning to the world to lead a normal life. In fact, tattoo designs of bear claws and paws are known to be symbolic of luck, mobility, and stability in the bearer's life.
As mentioned earlier, bears have been believed to have a deep connection with nature, especially amongst the ancient tribes. A tribal bear tattoo is the perfect way to exhibit this deep spiritual association with nature. You know what is the most interesting thing about nature? The fact that it is unpredictable. A bear also represents similar traits. In fact, a koala bear is considered to be the keeper of the memories of the earth, in aboriginal folklore. It is the one that crawled out from the depths of the earth with all its wisdom, and now has climbed the trees to protect the people from harm, to keep a watchful eye. Hence, a tattoo of a koala bear would symbolize earth, wisdom, protection, peacefulness, and at times, unpredictability.
Speaking of protection and motherhood, I can't help but think of the movie Brave. In fact, you would be surprised to know that the deadly bear of the Arctic, i.e., the Polar bear, is an inspirational example when it comes to love and dedication towards its cubs. There are endless tales in support of the same among the Eskimo and Inuit tribes. A bear depicts feminine powers of motherhood and creativity along with the masculine powers of protection, wisdom, and confidence. Such gentleness and affection can be seen among the panda bears, who hold a special significance in the Chinese culture due to their black and white coloration, depicting the yin and yang―the balance of nature. The panda bear also signifies balance and harmony.
From the aforementioned tattoo designs and their symbolic representation, you must have judged the ability of this animal to create a connection with one and all. Be it an animal lover, a teddy bear lover, an avid hunter, or a nature lover, this is one tattoo design that will hold great significance to your life. Or, if you love them as cartoons, be it Po or Winnie the Pooh, these designs will stay with you forever and remind you of these legendary cartoon characters all your life. With so many meanings associated with this one animal, how could anyone resist getting its tattoo done, isn't it?