Celtic tradition honors the bear as the incarnation of the Primal Mother, to whom we are all children and therefore under her eternal protection and guidance.
The Celts followed a faith that was tied to the earth and seasons; just as the bear takes to hibernation in winter so too did the Celtic people pass the cold, barren months in rest and reflection.
For this reason the Celtic bear has come to represent one who is deeply in touch with their own inner cycles and powers of transformation, who is not afraid to retreat within and replenish their sources.
The Celtic druids closely associated the Pole Star with the bear, looking to it as a guide through the dark winter solstice, as well as a figure of promise during throughout the harsh scarcity. Similarly, the legendary King Arthur’s very name translates to “bear.”
Traditional Celtic bear tattoos are worn by men who fear neither the darkness of winter nor the death of selves that no longer serve a fruitful purpose. Like modern-day Arthurs, they courageously endure periods of hardship and uncertainty, delving deep into their inner resources to bring about eventual abundance.