Sun Beams Bear - Shelby Willis

Bear Spirit Animal

by Michele Keehn  ~

Bear, as a spirit animal, is a powerful teacher of self-mastery, rooted in its personal presence and embodying physical stamina.  The gifts of Bear medicine include maternal nurturing, strength, confidence, the ability to stand up to adversity and the healing power of solitude.

Bear’s characteristics include being focused, resourceful, accepting, responsible, independent, playful and social creatures. They exude healthy, clear boundaries of honor and respect for their social structures and for nature’s seasons, cycles and rhythms by honoring their instinctive nature to hibernate. Bears go within the womb cave of Mother Earth to reset, nurture and rest so they can become a mothering essence to birth new life.  Bear intuitively unplugs from the world for winter after feeding and nurturing herself for three seasons (spring, summer and fall) so she can heal and re-energize in solitude.

Mother bears are notorious for being extremely protective of their cubs.  This quality of Bear, as a spirit animal, can help us “re-parent” ourselves and is one of its greatest gifts.  Most of us weren’t parented perfectly and Bear medicine can help us to be the parent to our inner child that our own parents could not be.  This medicine offers many parenting skills to learn from like: nonattachment, indifference, introspection, discipline, protection, structure, connection, clear direct communication and healthy clear boundaries. 

Bear is perfect for teaching us how to become self-responsible, to take ownership for ourselves, our lives and the experiences we have had and are having. They support us in putting an end to long standing, repetitive, unhealthy stories that live inside of us. We all embody our stories and become our stories over time, which causes our physical body to house the unhealthy dis-ease of those stories. The repetitiveness of a trauma, tragedy, dogma or drama that ripples through our stories embeds emotional, mental, spiritual and physical toxins that eat away at us.

Bear is representative of the root chakra at the base of our spine and it includes our knees, ankles and feet as they connect us to Mother Earth and ground us for support. This chakra is red in color and connects us to the black earth. Energetically, we can consciously use these “roots” to release unhealthy toxic energy and emotions to Mother Earth and the womb cave of the mother.

Bear medicine is the essence of learning to trust one’s own abilities and that the surrounding environment and circumstances will provide for one’s needs.

How Bear helped me

I’ve lived on the same property for 33 years. My land has beckoned me and I gladly visit and do ceremony to commune with her and heal her. I was not always in love with her though.  In fact, in the beginning I really didn’t want to live here. I had the “grass is greener on the other side” story playing in my head for much of my life. My dysfunctional relationships, unhealed past, unhealed trauma, mistrust of others (and within myself too) amplified my wounds and caused the illusion of separation by taking me from one project and whim to the next without ever really finishing anything.

bear coloring sheet

I went through many years of alternating my forced focus into healing me, then healing my land, and at the start I was not aware of this tandem healing. Prior to my choosing my first shamanic 2½ year intensive self-healing and training program, I began to have a repetitive dream.  I would find myself climbing a forested mountain of stone steps all the way to the top. At the top of the mountain to my right (my past) and in front of me (my present) were barbwire pastures filled with bears of many different sizes, shapes and colors. There were bears fighting, sparring, lashing out at each other, toe to toe, tooth to tooth.  Some were standing, some rolling on the ground, some on all fours as they screamed, scratched and snarled with fierce aggression, pain and anger. Others were cowering, running and some were trying to just not be noticed as they grazed to the side.

For me this was all about my unhealed past and its raging unhealed stories. To my left (my future), at the edge of the forest where I came to the top of the stairs, I could see a serene, welcoming cabin with an open view on the other side.  At the cabin stood a tall, large presence of a man holding the door open, expectantly awaiting my arrival. He had a relaxed, calming energy and essence about him, exuding the wisdom of an elder or wise teacher. This dream stayed with me for more than a year. Then it morphed into another dream that was more calm, with added guidance but definitely still reflective of my healing journey.

As I delved into my own spiritual and shamanic healing journey, I learned to heal myself of my old issues and my affinities with other people in my life (the ones I believed where causing the issues in my life). As I started to use the shamanic ceremonies for my land as well as myself, I began clearing and decluttering the land, getting rid of unwanted, worn out, unused shrapnel and debris, old vehicles, farm equipment and years of many peoples hoarding, unfinished projects and junk.

Then I would switch my focus back to me again for a while, as my body would get my attention by screaming at me in pain or with ailments. Slowly I began to notice that I’d find myself in yet another family crisis of chaos, dogma or drama that would distract me and then I would find my body needed to be healed and focused on again.

What I discovered was my body was releasing the trapped toxins caused by my lifetime of unhealed and unaddressed wounds.  It was letting go of all my physical, emotional, verbal, mental, sexual and spiritual abuses that I had shoved in the freezer to be forgotten.  But they didn’t go away. The issues just got freezer burned and the pile continued to grow.  

After I would clean my land up from toxic spillage of old batteries, chemicals and other debris, I would allow the land a rest from an overuse of fertilizers from the years of farming (without rest like that, it was being used and abused). I had to do the same for me and my body. I had to learn to stop using my body as a dumping station for the verbal, mental and emotional spillage from myself and from others. I had to build boundaries for myself to stop me from allowing others to use me and instead to learn respect for me.  

I also needed to stop dumping my unhealed repetitive stories of wounded and unmet needs on others too. I learned to put a stick in the spokes of the unhealthy cycles of codependency and other addiction dynamics that I was born into and apprenticed in.

Bear taught me to stop projecting my unhealed drama and dogma onto others, stop the blame game, own my part in it and take responsibility for my life. Bear supported me in ending unhealthy patterns in my relationships and my family lineages. Bear medicine showed me how to re-parent myself in a way that meets my needs in healthy ways (that only I would know how to do, because really no one can really know truly how to meet all the needs of another, not even our parents). I learned to fill me up from the inside out by taking ownership for what I want and don’t want in my life, day to day, moment to moment.

Bear especially taught me to trust myself and the life/lifestyle I want for me. Bear helped me put an end to so many traumas and experiences that I didn’t want to pass on through my family lineages, onto my children and grandchildren. I was able to heal my family lineages (past, present and future) because when we own and heal our stuff, we heal seven generations back and seven generations forward. When we take responsibility for what is happening within, in our inner landscape, our inner environment, then we will attract to us the same experiences (those same healthy energies that now live inside of us as healthy new stories).  However, now they will come to us naturally from our outer environment and through healthy experiences. We are amazing and powerful manifesters; we just need to be conscious to what it is we are manifesting in our lives.

Bear medicine has also taught me to live in the seasons, cycles, rhythms and pulses of the natural flow of nature. Bear blessed me with showing me how to make my everyday life a sacred ceremony worth living and thriving in.  

Sun Beams © Shelby Willis

How can Bear help you?

If you would like support in re-parenting yourself and experiencing presence, acceptance, trust, higher frequencies, self worth, value, respect, honor and healthier boundaries for yourself and others, then invite Bear to journey and guide you…  Heal the past and prepare for the future by being in the now, the present.

Call on Bear medicine if you feel neglected, abandoned, rejected, betrayed, low self-worth, alone, misunderstood, ungrounded, disconnected or overwhelmed with emotions, playing mental mind games that keep you in the past, or distracted with repetitive stories or physical dis-ease.

Get into a quiet place, with a dim light and curl up in a blanket. Imagine going into a cave in the womb of the earth.  Imagine a mental image of the medicine wheel to circle around you, sending in its sacred medicines and colors of red/emotional, black/physical, white/spiritual, and yellow/mental. Connect to the colors you need and allow the medicine wheel to take you through a process of releasing and healing on many levels of your body (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual).

Using a breath pattern of four/four, breathe in to a count of four through the nose and breathe out to a count of four through the mouth.  Do this back to back, eight times.  You can breathe longer if needed until you feel a shift in you, like a relaxed feeling. Focus on your body and imagine how it would feel to be nestled in an inviting, nurturing space made just for you.

Then call on Kiji Manido, Great Creator and say:  “I open myself to receive the spirit of Bear, Great Makwa, to support me in shedding what no longer serves me.  I ask it to heal the story that has lived inside me.  I give it now to Mother Earth and Spirit of Bear to transform it and meet my needs in healthy ways by showing me how to show up for self. Teach me now to re-parent myself and fill these voids and needs that were not met long ago as a child. Meegwetch and it is so.”

Now focus on tuning inwards into your body and breathe, stay in the womb cave for as long as needed to feel the shift no matter how subtle. Then make an energetic offering to Spirit of whatever feels good to you.  This could be food like berries for Bear or cedar, sage or tobacco to Mother Earth. Journal, reflect and pay attention to your dream time for messages just for you.

If you would like support in your journey with Bear Medicine, I would be honored to hold sacred space for you and your lineages. It’s our responsibility, and gift to ourselves, to end the patterns, themes and cycles that do not serve the highest good of all life. It is a tremendous gift to our family when we heal because then we heal seven generations back and seven generations forward.

Megwetch Beloveds,


Michele Keehn is a Spiritual (Soul) Energy Healer and Shaman, specializing in holistic medicines and modalities, and in ceremonies and journeys. She has made it her life’s mission and legacy to teach the importance of self-love and how it impacts the healing of ancestral lineages. Contact her at 780-217-8146, or go to for more information.


Shelby Willis’ artwork is inspired by her love for nature and her background in Ecology. She has always been drawn to animals and through a combination of color, mark making and energetic brush strokes, she aims to capture and showcase their spiritual qualities. Contact her at, Instagram: @shelbzwillisart, Facebook: Shelby Willis Art or shelbshelbywillisart@gmail

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