Tell me more about Bears
The bear was regarded as the king of the woods and game, a guardian of the forest spirit as well as the animals that lived in it. The bear did not hunt the game of the forest, he protected it. A bear’s spirit that originated from the heavens was incredibly potent, powerful, possibly dangerous and vengeful. The bear was the forest’s spirit as a whole. It is from this that a bear derives his sacredness.
Naming a bear by its original animal name was one of the greatest cultural taboos, globally in the subarctic and Northern regions. From North America, to Germania, Finnish and Saami, Baltic and Slavic regions, the people referred to bears with euphemistic titles or epithets, circumventing the use of the proper word for “bear” (whatever it is), and instead using a descriptive word or title.
The word Bear itself derives from a geranic word for Brown, Whilst Medved a word for Bears in in Slavic means honey eater, or in Baltic languages Lokys means hairy. The original word for Bear is something like Rktho or Rkto from which we get Ursus and Arktos (latin and greek) and from which the star signs are named (Ursus Minor and Major) and the northern world (Arctic)
Language may not be able to derive the reason for the taboo of the proper word for “bear”, only observe its existence. However, legends may help us derive the probable reason for it. In subarctic and Germanic myths bear characters can speak and understand human speech and either skinchange into men or are human characters.
The bear would be a man living by himself in the forest or wilderness in a house or a cave, who sits or sleeps on bear skins (‘brown’ skin), or bear steaks roasting on the fire, staying inside during winter, but leaving his home with spring in search for an absent wife.
Hunters say if you skin a bear, it actually looks like a man. Bears were believed to be a ‘skinchanged' man wearing bear skin outside of the den, but being a man inside the home, his den. Bears therefore could understand human speech. Hence, people would refer to a bear with euphemistic titles, such as “Lord of the forest/faeries” or “King of the forest”, in order not to provoke it or let it know the intention of hunters.
Any articles on Bears?
This article is well worth a read: http://www.armthebears.com/home/2016/9/28/a-gift-for-you-artio-bear-goddess