The bear is a creature of contrasts, as it possesses enormous strenth and yet generally thrives on fruit and honey. Because of their habit of hibernation during winter months, bears can stand for ressurection. It was the emblem for the kingdoms of Persia and Russia. For the Celts, it is a symbol of the warrior, and in Christian symbolism we encounter the fable of the she-bear who gives birth to shapeless offspring and must lick them to give them form. Similarly, we are ignorant creatures who find our way only through spiritual knowledge.

In Jungian psychology, the bear represents danger caused by the uncontrollable contents of the unconscious, and with this is often associated as an attribute of the man who is cruel and crude. The word 'berserk' most likely means 'bear-coat' and refers to a Norse warrior who morphs into a furious bear.

Up one level 
Back to document index