The tattoo design of a bear has as many variations as it does meanings. Spanning across the continent, Native American bear tattoos symbolize everything from power, freedom, and solitude to resourcefulness, motherhood and protection. The bear embraces a polarity like no other, for Native American bear tattoos can be feminine or masculine and applicable to both men and women.
In many Native American cultures, and specifically the Lakota, the bear is associated with war and endowed with the ability to heal. Bear tattoos are suitable for the warrior and the healer, the lover as well as the fighter.
Native American Bear Tattoos and the Power of Symbolism
The bear is a magical creature, and Native American bear tattoos portray the magic in their design. For every attribute of the bear symbol, there is a visual interpretation in bear tattoos. The three species of bear in North America, the black bear, the grizzly bear, and the polar bear, each paint a different portrait in Native American bear tattoos. The black bear, for instance, might convey feelings of shyness, tenderness or curiosity more so than the ferocious grizzly or polar bear. There are also geological portraits and Native American bear tattoos of the polar bear will usually suggest icy images of the Arctic Circle. Yet, the grizzly symbol might imply rocky mountains or dry deserts of the Southwest.
Bear tattoos can be basic or intricate. The Zuni bear symbol, for example, is a silhouette. Other Native American bear tattoos include bear or cub tracks, tribal design or a mother bear with her cubs. Others may be represented as dream catchers or animal spirits. These bear tattoos can also have an overall mood that expresses emotion. The bear could look fierce and angry while another may look content and serene.
Sometimes only the face of the bear may be presented in Native American bear tattoos, or the entire body. The bear could be sleeping, sitting, walking or standing on its two hind legs. Every subtle expression means something different in Native American bear tattoos. The bear could be depicted as a predator or a warrior; a gatherer or a healer; a mother or a sovereign.
Every color, element, mood, position and expression has meaning to consider in bear tattoos; this is the power of symbolism in bear tattoos. This is what allows for the receivers to draw power from the Native American bear tattoos every day for the rest of their lives.