owl & crow

stephanie anderson ladd

The Bear Goddess

The Native American Bear Woman is protector of Mother Earth and the tribes and clans that walk upon her. Bear Woman is in her cycle of power during spring and summer. She has moved out of her cave with her cubs underfoot, and is foraging for food and water. She is a shapeshifter who moves through the forest with agility and strength, helping us awaken to our potential and reminding us to not let our creative energies lie dormant. Look for what feeds your soul and chow down!

Bears care for their cubs for a couple of years until they are old enough to go out on their own, and in this way, they are akin to human mothers whose task is to prepare their children to find their own way and learn their own strength. Bear Woman tends to the unity of the family of man and animals, ensuring their safety and protection.

The Greek moon goddess of the hunt, Artemis (Diana), was also a bear goddess who presided over all of Nature.  She was a protector of animals, and had attendants called arktoi, or “bear girls.” These maidens behaved like tomboys, wearing bearskins and masks, lived in the wild, untamed and unwashed, protected from men, until they reached puberty and had developed the strength and ability to chose whether to remain virgins in the temple of Artemis or to marry. For Artemis and her acolytes were virgins–whole unto themselves and not defined by the masculine. It was Artemis who transformed one of her nymphs, Callisto, into a bear, who then became the constellation, Ursa Major.

Artemis had strong principles about preserving Mother Earth, in keeping with the Native American Bear Woman. As fierce protectors of women and children and all wildlife, they believed that all sentient beings were deserving of respect and would not allow them to be killed wantonly. Artemis is responsible for the protection of great areas of pristine countryside in Greece even today because of the people’s veneration of her and all she stood for. In this way, Artemis and Bear Woman are protectors of the environment and patronesses of conservation.

The Bear Goddess is symbolic of the circle of life, death and rebirth. She reminds us to go within when it is time. The Mama Bear guides and protects us on the journey into the Underworld of the Unconscious, where we ponder our lessons and gather our creative energy until it is time to emerge into our cycle of power once again.

Learn more about the goddesses that represent these cycles: Persephone, Queen of the Underworld, Demeter, the Mother, who like Artemis, ruled over the land, and Hecate, the One Who Knows, by ordering my new SoulWork book, In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine, available as a download or in printed form to be mailed to your door.

Comment here about your favorite goddess between May 25 – 31 for a chance to win one of four e-book format copies of: The Triple Goddess (3 chapters in one); Kali, the Destroyer; Yemaya, the Creator; and the entire 58-page book, In the Lap of the Goddess. Winners will be randomly selected on June 1.

“I finished reading your book and am working on Kali. I love it!!! It is a wonderful tool and I love the guided meditations. I want to try the audio versions on your website. I really like it! You put a lot into it. The layout and graphics are really perfect. I love so many of the images.” – Diane J.

About The Author

I am in a stage of new beginnings, of starting over on the other side of the continent from California, where I spent 38 years of my life. Moving to North Carolina was a bit of a shock to my system. Not so much culture shock but the shock of transplanting myself and starting over as a therapist, artist, and wild woman. I had to figure out how I was going to do it differently than I had been doing it. Because I knew I needed to change the way I worked outwardly to match the way I was feeling and moving inwardly and make it more playful, and at the same time, deep and meaningful. I knew I wanted to work with women primarily, to help them find their way on the heroine's journey to wholeness. I knew I wanted to bring more creative expression to my work because that was what was working for me--a way to bypass all the analytical thinking, perfectionism, and psychological paradigms largely created by men, and find more more intuitive ways of Being, Creating and Flowing with Life, in keeping with the Divine Feminine. I like working with the triple goddess: maiden, mother and crone, which describes the three stages of life as well as inner states of being--the innocent/adventurer; the nurturer and active doer; and the wise being who has the advantage of overview and doesn't care as much what others think of her as long as she is being true to herself. The triple goddess is found in most all cultures and traditions and helps us move out of dualistic thinking patterns and find our way to a more integrated and balanced way of life. As I forge a new path, I want to connect with women all over the world, to help women own their power, and to both explore and offer tools for self-discovery and self-care. Creating my interactive e-book, "In the Lap of the Goddess: Connecting With the Divine Feminine," and my Goddess Temple e-courses based on the workbook are my offerings, a way to share with women the knowledge and wisdom we all hold within us, reflected in the goddess throughout history, across time, and in every corner of the world.


9 Responses to “The Bear Goddess”

  1. wendy says:

    oooooh i love the bear goddess. i am having trouble with kali though…i don’t know why but she scares me. i enjoy these posts immensely and look forward to receiving them in my inbox.

  2. Erin~Nikki says:

    I love love love these posts Stephanie, and Artemis is my “current” favored Goddess, I have been digging deep with her and loving everything I’ve found!

  3. Karen says:

    Hecate comes and visits me in my dreams. She has helped me let go of some things that I had trouble with and step into my power. I’m always surprised when someone says that she scares them. She has always seemed loving and kind to me. I suppose it’s her association with death and the crone aspect that frightens some. Lately I’ve been working out a painting of her in my mind. I feel she wants me to do a portrait of her.

  4. I have just the barest knowledge about the various goddesses and archetypes, not enough to declare a favorite. for some reason i’ve resisted delving into this before, but now find i am keenly interested and am delighted to find that i’ve landed in what sure seems like The Right Spot for such delving. saw you over at the delightful land called rootsofshe.com) and look forward to more.

  5. Tiffany says:

    Oh how I love your website! So full of myth, legend, lore, and inspiration! Joseph Campbell’s works changed my life when I was in college, and you are continuing the tradition. 🙂

    If I were to choose a Goddess … I would choose Isis. Or Sophie. Protector. Healer. Magi. Courageous. Loyal. Two amazing myths to live by. xo

  6. Druid Lady - Pat says:

    I know it is past May 31 but I still want to comment on the Bear Goddess & the triple Goddess. I am a shamanic practitioner and over the past few months – since February, I have been visited by the spirit of grizzly bear in my journeys. And in real life! I live in a more remote area of northwestern British Columbia, where bears also reside. The spirit bear is a female – large and quite ferocious. In my last shamanic journey session, I was surprised to find myself shapeshifting into this female grizzly. Quite interesting, as I had a physical sensation of tingling all over my body when the shapeshifting was taking place. Have never had that happen before! The physical grizzly manifestation has been in my front yard. Though the word yard is deceptive, since we live on a forested and boggy piece of land that is 150+ acres. The past month, a grizzly bear has wandered out of the woods and hung out down by our lower garden, which is about 100 yards or so down the driveway. Got a really good look both times. Though, you can be sure, I stayed safely inside my house. Very interesting to have this energy coming into my life at this time.

    On the triple goddess, I have arrived, where I am in this life, through the help and guidance from the goddess Brighid. About 11 years ago, she appeared to me in a dream and sent me on a quest to find 3 items. Today, I live here on 150+ acres of wooded and bog land, surrounded by mountains and visited daily by wildlife because of that quest. My property is dedicated to Brighid and is a spiritual sanctuary for all forms of life.

    So, I’d have to say my favourite goddess is Brighid, though she is not the only goddess in my life. Thanks for this website. I’ll be ordering your book, for sure!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for responding, Pat. Your place sounds lovely. Wow, the mama grizzly is such a powerful creature. I would be in awe, too. Are you familiar with the white spirit bear, the kermode bear, which is actually a black bear that lives on the coast of British Columbia? I recently read an article about this unusual ghost-like bear (there are only about 400 of them). Have you looked up the meaning of grizzly bears in Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak? It sounds like you are truly awakening the power of the unconscious as she is appearing to you in your dreams, perhaps to remind you of your own power and awakening hidden potential? I love Brighid, too. Sounds like she sent you on a quest much like Aphrodite sent Psyche on a quest to find three things.

  8. Druid Lady - Pat says:

    Thank you Stephanie. Yes, I do know about the Kermode bear. In fact, their territory actually extends inland to within 100 miles or closer to where I live. The question would be how far they range within their territory. Very, very recently I’ve started working with a group known as SWCC (Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition). I’ve taken on the job of volunteer coordinator. The Skeena Watershed area encompasses the Great Bear Rainforest and the Kermode bear’s natural habitat. Yes, I have looked up grizzly bear in Animal Speak. Enough information to think on for awhile. But, I hadn’t really zeroed in on the idea of hit reminding me of my “power”. Thank you for this soul nudge! Had a lot of anxiety and stress over the past several months, so that would make complete sense.
    And I did not know about Aphrodite sending Psche on a quest to find three things. Hmmmm. Now I have to go learn everything I can about that myth. I do enjoy Greek mythology, also. In fact, my oldest daughter is named Persephone and my middle daughter is Aurora. But haven’t studied it much for a long time. Off I go to dig out my books. Thanks again.

  9. Mira says:

    I love this post Stephanie. I tend to forget this aspect of the goddess. Although I feel her vibrating in me, I suppose I don’t know what to do with her. Reading this post has given her confirmation and I am enthusiastically waiting for her to voice herself.


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