There's something about the polar bear that gets me all verklempt. At the thought, vision or mention of this extraordinary mammal, tears start to roll from my eyes and I just seize up (in a good way).
Perhaps it has something to do with a book I read in my childhood about a polar bear named Gunilla. The story is based on real-life events of an Arctic hunter-trapper who adopted a polar bear cub. As I recall, the fate of Gunilla ended badly. It was a good book, but I wouldn't recommend it for the faint of heart (unless you're okay with bawling your brains out).
I'm certain the polar bear has a similarly powerful effect on many more humans than just me. The Inuit (Native Americans of the Arctic region) confirm this. They were deeply moved and influenced by the grand white bear.
Like most Native Americans, the Inuit knew all things possessed spirit - everything's got a soul. To these indigenous people, the polar bear had super-soul. The Inuit have an intimate affinity with the polar bear. One neat symbolic polar bear fact the Inuit's observed is that the bear's physical behavior mimics human motion (or vice versa). The polar bear ambulates (walks), sits and moves very much the way humans do. Observing this, the Inuit came to the conclusion the polar bear might be a human in white-bear clothing. They have some legends that deal with polar bears ferrying Inuit souls to the other side of life upon death. Afterwhich, the deceased human walks the earth, temporarily, in the form of the polar bear.
The Inuit even have a polar bear god. His name is Tornaurssuk and presents himself in human form. Tornaurssuk is an initiate god. Meaning, when a Native is embarking upon a time of tremendous transition, the polar bear god Tornaurssuk is invoked in ceremony. The polar bear god eats the initiate and poops him or her out (sorry folks - I couldn't think of a better way to say it). At the end of this soulful digestive process (which is quite spiritually arduous, from what I understand), the initiate is transformed - renewed. He or she comes away from the devouring/recycling process strong, and imbued with the qualities of the polar bear.
I have no problem believing this Inuit legend. The polar bear spirit is tremendously powerful, and replete with themes of transformation. Indeed, when we find ourselves in the midst of transition, the polar bear is the perfect totem upon which to rely. I highly encourage humbly requesting the presence of polar bear spirit in times of change. This regal creature (when approached respectfully in the energetic realms) is monumentally helpful for the initiate looking to advance to the next soul-level of life.
There's more cool symbolic polar bear facts. Here's a quick-list of symbolic polar bear attributes you might find helpful:
Another neat aspect among symbolic polar bear facts is: Camouflage. That white coat isn't just for pretty show. It's meant to melt into the Arctic landscape, so the white bear can go undetected. Detected by whom? Seals, mostly. As polar bears have no real predators (except humans, of course), the bear relies on stealthy tactics to snag a seal snack for survival. Inuit observed the polar bear to seemingly appear out of thin air. Imagine an Arctic "white out" (blizzard) and suddenly seeing the outline of a lumbering 1,000 pound, 10 foot long polar bear mystically emerging out of a frenzy of snowflakes. Yep, that's big magic to the Inuit ...heck...that's big magic to anyone who has a proper admiration for Nature.
Furthermore, polar bear camouflage is symbolic of blending in with our environment. It's quite alright to be unique, and express ourselves in individual ways. However, sometimes we could take a cue from the polar bear...stand back, observe, blend in...then...suddenly...come out of the veils of snow and show our most powerful selves when least expected. Magic! Sometimes our best strategy is to cloak ourselves in shadow, only to emerge with power we have stored while we were robed in the silence of hibernation.
As if camouflage wasn't enough, the polar bear crouches low on ice floats so as to reduce its shadow. This way, the bear is less detectable by seals (who are quite astute, and cautious not to get nabbed by the Great White bear).
Patience is another key symbolic polar bear fact. These bears know all about waiting for the right moment. They'll walk 15+ miles, swim up to 200 miles, and wait for hours to snatch their prey.
These qualities of camouflage, patience, and strategy are key symbolic lessons for us humans. The polar bear encourages patience in all areas. They don't jump the gun - they wait for the most opportune moment to obtain their needs. Can you imagine waiting days, weeks, hours...even when your prize is right in sight...but waiting nevertheless...for that perfect moment - then, whammo! You got it! Polar bears know the wait is worthwhile. They don't rush things - they know timing is everything. This is a huge lesson for us humans - it certainly is for me. Admittedly, I'm an "instant gratification" girl...waiting isn't my forte. The polar bear has helped me with my impulsive nature - perhaps she can help you too.
Regarding hibernation, symbolic polar bear facts of dormancy are no secret. But their hibernation is different from regular bears. They don't hibernate through the winter. Not unless they are a mamma-to-be. Only mamma polar bears den up - otherwise polar bears continue to actively roam their frigid terrain through the most brutal winters. This is symbolic.
Pregnancy of any kind is a big transformation (there's that theme again! If transitioning from woman to mother isn't an initiation - I don't know what is!). Being gravid with child is a contemplative time. It's a phase of life in which we go within. We get in tune with what grows within us. What better way to have that contemplative experience that burrowing within the womb of Mother Nature (an ice den in polar bear's case). Double-profound, that is. Polar bears get this, and they encourage us to be still, slow ourselves to the pace of Nature, roll into a soul-ball, and take stock of the life that grows within us.
This doesn't necessarily mean connecting with a human child growing within the womb. This can mean getting in-touch with any "baby"...like a project, a creative endeavor, a home improvement, a job, an existing family that's going through transition. Anything that is precious, that requires a span of time for growth and development stands-in for "pregnant with promise".
Another cool observation concerning polar bear facts on a symbolic level is their propensity for extremes and solitude. I mean...consider it...living in their uber-severe environment...sub-below temperatures, desolation, isolation - can you imagine!? Talk about extreme living! The polar bear takes it all in stride though. To be sure, the polar bear is a tough cookie, not easily crumbled by radically harsh conditions. This is a symbolic lesson for us too. The polar bear conveys a message that, no matter how cruel our conditions - we have the heart and might to move through the worst of it. When you find yourself in extreme situations, call upon polar bear power. When asked with proper respect, the Great White Bear will lend you her knack for easily maneuvering through brutal conditions.
Moreover, the polar bear ambles through tough times and conditions all on her own! No partner or pal around to help the polar bear out of an ice jam. Nope. The polar bear presses on dauntlessly without relying on outside help. A loner and fiercely independent - the polar bear only rubs elbows with other bears during mating season. I don't know about you - but I don't think I'd have the guts to endure conditions like that all by my lonesome. Luckily, I'm not a polar bear...but there's symbolic gold to be mined in this polar bear propensity. When the Great White pays us a visit (either in rumination, dreams or even via a Coca-Cola advertisement), it might be a cue for us to stand on our own two feet. Self-reliance and independence are key messages the polar bear has for us.
This is just the 'tip of the iceberg' regarding symbolic polar bear facts. As always, there's a slew of other symbolic connections and parallels we can draw. There's so much more to learn from this majestic mammal. I've just scratched the surface. That's why I'm always encouraging you to do further research on this and any other creature that comes into your consciousness. The more we learn of Nature's ways, the more our soul is equipped to live a life of harmony and wonder.
If you liked this article on symbolic polar bear facts, check out the links at the end of this page, where you'll find related posts of interest.
Bright polar bear blessings to you,
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!