Long-term readers will know that I acknowledge animals’ behaviour and predation in readings. In 2010, the second article I published concerned the Mice and rodents’ behaviour as vermin and as foodstuffs for reptiles. I returned to this topic, here. Most recently, we have considered avian communication and the Birds’ card.

Over time, some have questioned such considerations ‘orthodoxy.’ Indeed, one will not find mention of Serpent’s penchant for rodents in the Philippe Lenormand sheet. Neither will one find a reference to work-cards… In contrast, one needs only to observe the natural law to discover that Ciconiiformes eat Serpentes, who in turn feast on rodents, et cetera.

Nature is the oldest oracle.

Such observations are, in fact, no different from the considerations that we use to progress cards’ “meanings.” We all know that letters facilitate private communication between two people who are not face-to-face. A telephone also facilitates such communication.

During a recent assignment, one of my students asked if we could discuss the Bear card. For some reason, the Bear card seems to confound readers (alongside the Lilies and the High Tower). It need not.

The Bear is no different from the other animal cards. We start on an essential level (“essence”), and then we consider the function or behaviour in context (“progressed meaning”).

Eurasian Bears: Sow and Cub.

A bear is a large, wild and predatory animal noted for their strength and muscle. Contrary to fiction, bears are not territorial; areas are shared, but with respect to personal space and hierarchies. Bears are intelligent, curious but also habituates. Cubs are reared by their mothers, with no involvement of the father.

None of the common associations is sin qua non with a bear. Consequently, the Bear does not ‘mean’ one’s salary, lifestyle, or petty bureaucracy.

Like the other animal cards, the Bear often expresses an action or manner. Paired with social cards, it can thus be read a person. Otherwise, the Bear’s essence is determined by the appropriate context.

If one enquires about finances, we can turn our attention to savings and insurances. During winter, bears metabolise fat to protect muscle by converting it to proteins. Such behaviour can be interpreted, functionally, as analogous to your savings’ account, work pensions, or life/health-insurances – there is little connection to incomings-and-outgoings.

Health-wise, as bears are hairy, we can see connections to hirsutism, alopecia, and the stomach itself. Lipoedema, which causes column-like legs, and “megaly” (cardiomegaly, hepatomegaly, splenomegaly) can also be applied.

The student in question was concerned with gender. Is the Bear male or female?

On Facebook, one remembers someone stating that she thought of men not women when she thought of bears. Fair enough; we all have different ideas. Personally, if I thinks of bears, I think of bears – neither men nor women come to mind. However, what such statements emphasise is the solipsism which permeates the present relativism of divination and interpretive arts.

The Bear card itself has no gender. If we use it as a significator we determine it based on function.

Again, we must consider context. Does the question centre on parents, and if so, does it determine that the Bear be read as a person? If it does, which parental role mirrors a bear’s behaviour?

Sow and Cub.

Cubs are raised by their mothers; remaining with the sow for around two years. Fathers are not involved. Within the hierarchy, adult males are dominant; other bears respect their space, increasing separation and isolation.

Consequently, for hands-on parenting, the Bear is more closely aligned to mothers. If we associate it with father, then it must be with absent/weekend fathers. Otherwise we are ignoring the bear. Times have changed; fathers are more involved; we have same-sex parents. However, mothers remain the primary caregiver in most situations.

Let us turn our attention to the reading that prompted this discussion. The draw is a traditional five card cross:

0 – The significator.
1 – The first card represents the consultant in relation to the question.
2 – The second card describes the influences that can help or hinder matters.
3 – The third card indicates the direction taken that initiates the outcome.
4 – The fourth card provides the answer and outcome.
5 – The fifth card is the synthesis and determines the quality of the answer.

The question concerned the student’s friend. Would the friend be able to secure financial assistance (in the form of a loan) from her mother?

The cards as they fell:

Straight away, I advised the student to review the question. It is both the context and draw that determines whether a card acts as a significator or not. In terms of question, it is unnecessary. Unlike the Opening of the Key, the Cross does not require the Bear to be read as a significator of the mother.

Positionally, the Bear comments on what will help or hinder. In this context, the mother’s position to provide such help. The Bear is not the mother.

On further questioning, the student wondered if the Bear could be a third-party. Again, such a perspective is not supported.

Let us consider the draw.

We can see that the friend is looking for a strategy to best approach her mother (Renard). The Bear, here, tells us that the mother is a strong financial position but will desire some security that the revenue will be returned. Bears are not altruistic. If we turn to the central column, careful consideration and examination of the books will be required (Book), before any agreement is made (Flowers) with certain conditions set (Lilies).

Our answer is yes, if the mother is sure she will get the money back.

As you can see, the cards responded clearly and directly. Imposing a gender (and identity) on the Bear card would have removed its directness. It is the Bear’s nature, not gender, which tells us whether it will help or hinder.

When we refer to the Bear as a person – be it mother or ex-husband – it is as a significator. It is a role the Bear performs in a specific predetermined context. It is a function, not a meaning. In the Grand Tableau, it would be a person only if paired with a social card and context agreed. From time to time, it can be describe a court card as senior or elder (e.g. Flowers + Bear can indicate a senior figure in the distaff line).

Significators are cards that embody the essence of note in the reading. We select these based on a recognised congruity between the topic or person and the card. If you use the Bear as a significator, there should be a strong affinity, not just what you think of on a sociocultural level.

The Petit Lenormand © abCartomancy 2010 – 2020


Featured Image: Dinkum [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D;
Bear and Sow: Public Domain.

Cards: Reading, Le Jeu Lenormand © Carta Mundi.


Some claim that Germans see the card as female, whereas the French favour a masculine interpretation. Such generalisations are nonsense. If we look at Uta Dittrich, Malkiel Dietrich, Harald Jösten, Mario dos Ventos and Iris Treppner we find no mention of women and the Bear. German sources seem to see the Bear more as an older person, boss or as man in love-readings. From the French-sources, there is no consistency, and most remain silent.

4 Comments on “The Bear: Mummy or Daddy Bear?

  1. Yes. Treppner’s main keyword for Bear is “official person” and she lists it as gender neutral.
    German readers IME lean towards a male interpretation, but it’s not absolute!


    • Thank you, Stella. Yes; there does seem to be a more masculine perspective. Uta does give a random list that includes grandmother but it’s alongside grandfather, uncle, et cetera. Quite a few also advocated using it as a man in relationship readings.

      Elvira lists the Bear as male. However , she also has the Lys as sex and not la verge. Otherwise, she follows Marco-Goffinet – but we do find this cross-associations in Switzerland. Silvestre and Delclos says nothing.

      Ultimately, it just reinforces that despite there being common schools of thought, in certain regions, there is no absolute French or German schools.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Exactly. Saying “German school” is like saying “American potato salad.” What you get depends on who you’re talking to.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Lenormand Oracle: Russian Cross – abCartomancy

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