Gifts: Introspection. Hibernation. Camouflage. Appropriate aggression. Conservation of energy. Sensitivity to magnetism. Dreamtime. Finding nourishment where there appears to be none. Perseverance. Adaptability.
Challenges: Drowning in emotion. Starving for nourishment—passion, pleasure, power, whatever feeds your soul. Inappropriate aggression. Stubbornness.
With the speeding up of the melting of Arctic ice, the messages I receive from Polar Bear have a different quality to them—a sense of sorrow and of desperation. Polar bears are dying from starvation and exhaustion. Females are forcing their cubs to live on their own at a younger age, before they are truly ready. And the competition for food is fierce—even for the already fierce polar bear.
In spite of the dire situation for physical polar bears, spirit animal Polar Bear wanted to be included in this book and the animal card deck—unlike Rhinoceros, who said no. Polar Bear is still offering us its gifts. It still wants to guide us. And it hopes that its presence will inspire us to change, before we arrive at a Phoenix-type of “burn it to the ground and start over” point of no return.
Polar Bear offers the gifts of perseverance and conservation of energy in an extreme environment. As a human being who lives in a relatively mild environment with the luxuries of air conditioning and central heating, I have always been in awe of Polar Bear’s adaptations and resourcefulness that allow it to live in the Arctic. One amazing adaptation is the fact that Polar Bear’s skin is black while its seemingly white fur is actually hollow and translucent. This allows sunlight to travel down the shafts of fur to warm up Polar Bear’s skin. This mirrors for you your own light and dark aspects, illustrating how both are necessary, how they work together, how they integrate to make you whole.
Polar Bear is a powerful and strategic hunter and relies on the ice for hunting. As the ice melts, polar bears are having to swim greater and greater distances to find food. Seals are their primary food, as polar bears need large amounts of fat to survive. It is difficult for polar bears to catch seals that are resting on the beach or swimming in the open water. Polar bears most commonly catch seals by waiting for them near a breathing hole. With no ice to stand on, Polar Bear’s usual way of hunting is not possible.
Will Polar Bear continue to offer the gift of perseverance even as it is dying? Yes. Polar Bear is a strong symbol of determination, even if our actions end up making Polar Bear’s persistence futile. What a huge loss for us if the Star Trek line about resistance gets turned on its head for Polar Bear and becomes “persistence is futile.”
The lesson for you—for all of us really—is to stick with it. No matter what. Polar Bear will literally “die trying.” What are you willing to die for? What cause or goal is worth your one precious life?