Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bear Family: Speaking Truth to Power

The most recently evolved of the Carnivores, Bears appeared on earth about 20 million years ago. They now contain the largest meat eaters on land. Despite their heavy bones and massive skulls, Bears are fast sprinters, able to keep pace with Horse. In addition, many Bears are good tree climbers, foraging for fruit and nuts. Lifting large boulders, They eat Insects, that live under the rocks. Swimming for long distances in the cold Arctic Seas, Polar Bears hunt Seals. In their pursuit of food, Bears are quite resourceful.

Throughout history, people’s lives have intertwined with Bears’ lives. These Predators stand up, eat the same foods, and protect their children, much like people do. Because of these similarities, people feel a kinship with Bears. Humans and Bears have been wary, respectful, and tolerant of each other. However, contact with the other usually ended in disaster for both people and Bears.

Bears are one of the oldest recorded totemic beings. For many peoples, Bears offer their nurturing, protection, and wisdom. Ancient legends tell of people sharing caves with Bears. (People were contemporaries of Cave bears (Ursus speleus) in Eurasia.) Early people often sought permission from the elders and from the Bears, before hunting a Bear. In addition, special ceremonies were often held to ensure the Bear’s Spirit were at peace, after the killing.

Various peoples have traditions of Bears as intimate members of their cultures. Among Native Americans, Bear, “the animal that walks like a man”, would care for lost children and raise them. Among the Basque and Siberian peoples, if a person was killed by Bear then they came back as a Bear. Arcadians of the Mediterranean Basin claim that they are descended from Bears, as well.

Bears urge people to speak truth to power. In the face of power, truth is their best ally and weapon. Knowledge of Bears has helped people to avoid being killed. In addition, this powerful Animal appears in people’s dreams offering individual truths. Bears go into the dark regions where people fear to go, and speak truth to power for them.

 Bear Family’s Teachings Include:
“This innate visceral fear of bears lives somewhere inside all of us. Stone Age man still hunkers in the cave of our emotions and his survival is still threatened by predators. This Stone Age fear will always exist but we can control it with understanding. To make it easier to coexist with bears, because without them our lives will be greatly diminished.” Copyright: “Bears of the World”, Lance Craighead.

“Bear has two sides to his personality. On one hand he is curious, cheerful, good-natured, and deliberate. On the other hand, he is quick to anger, because he is sure of his own power, and will defend his family to the death. Bear’s only enemies are man and forest fires.” Copyright, “Alaska Bear Tales”, Larry Kanuit.
Note: Because of DNA evidence, Giant Pandas are grouped with Bears, while Red Pandas are classified with Raccoons.

Conservation Note: Bears are endangered, and are protected by laws worldwide.

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