Tuesday, May 19, 2009

dreaming of Bear*

in response to my last post, a friend of mine mentioned a recurring dream she's had of being attacked by a Bear. Bear is a very powerful symbol in native american spiritual beliefs. i first encountered Bear when i delved into shamanic work a few years ago, and realized that not only was Bear one of my "power animals," it was the first power animal to have come to me, and it came as a gift of my great-grandmother. to be "attacked" by a Bear in a dream feels very significant to me.

a few years ago, i had a dream that i was standing in my living room overlooking the ponds. it was early morning, and the television was on, as always, but the channel wasn't tuned to the financial channel - it was a show about a tree, a huge tree with an extremely thick trunk and many thick branches.

i was looking outside and looking at the television and trying to pay attention to both, when i noticed a young, native american woman in a beautiful white leather dress with beads and fringe standing by the side of the pond. "look," i said to Beloved, who was in the background somewhere, "that's White Buffalo Maiden - let's go join her."

but before either of us could move, the woman jumped into the pond and swam across to the point where there's a large rock on the opposite side. she got out, apparently not wet at all. she raised her arms and bowed once to each of the four directions, and then a fifth time directly at me. then she unzipped her white dress, and stepping out of it, turned into a bear. she placed the white dress on the rock, then bounded away into the woods.

and on the television, doors opened up in this gigantic tree and out stepped men in black suits and white shirts.

this dream has remained with me ever since, providing fodder for meditations and journies and all sorts of introspections. but among other meanings, native americans teach that the appearance of Bear in any dream is a powerful symbol with a powerful message. i would venture to guess that the fact my friend is being attacked by Bear in her dream represents on some level the degree to which Bear is trying to get its message through, as well as the defensiveness my friend feels toward this OtherWorldly messenger.

Bear is a symbol of the Sacred Feminine, spending much of its time sleeping deep in the womb of the Earth. thus, it suggests a way to seek wisdom through stillness and meditation. Bear also appears when we need to take time to nurture ourselves.

But Bear is a powerful animal, and will not be denied. When the Bear comes in dreams, it indicates a need to connect to our most inner depths, where our true Selves reside. Bear can stand on her hind legs, Bear has large claws and big teeth and isn't afraid to use them. Thus, when Bear appears, it's also as a reminder of our own innate power - we have the resources we need to help ourselves and to stand on our own two feet. it resides within us, a gift of the Great Spirit - no rule or law or scripture can possibly bestow upon us what is already ours to use.

Bear is particularly associated with dreaming because of their long deep sleep. When Bear sleeps, she is connecting with the Great Spirit and so too, do we connect in our deepest sleep. Bear reminds us not to ignore our dreams.

and furthermore, the war wil end. blessed be.

*i love little synchronicities... just as i was finishing this post, i got a notice that Ted Andrews' Animal Speak Pocket Guide is now available on amazon.com!

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