The meaning is yours and yours alone.Archetypes do have certain constant qualities that are universally recognizable– For example, a snake slithers on the ground. No one would associate slithering on the ground with bears. A bear is large, lumbers along, usually in the wild, stays with her and nurtures her young, has a dual personality that appears docile and “teddybear-like”, or ferocious and terrifying. etc.
The importance is what the dreamer associates with these enduring qualities of the dream animal (or symbol). For me, bears represent the power of Mother. I will protect my children ferociously, or play with them and snuggle gently. For a trader on Wall Street, the bear means something completely different– a “bearish market”.So, when you dream of a bear (or anything else that shows up provocatively in your dream), ask yourself, “What do I associate with bears?” And also, “What aspect of me is bear-like in my life right now?”
And it is wonderful for our “totem” animals to shift and change throughout our dreaming lives– it represents that we too are growing and changing. Every situation in life calls for a unique and adaptable response.