Bats! Most people find them at least a little scary. If nothing else, it can be a bit disconcerting when one swoops close to your head from above.
But unless you go out of your way to bother them, bats are typically completely harmless. Not only that, but they bless us with amazing gifts. Nectar-eating species are wonderful pollinators. Other species eat huge numbers of flying insects and are awesome natural mosquito control.
As a Spirit Animal, Bat carries numerous and profound messages. In fact, too many to list them all here! So I’m just going to mention a few today, but if you find Bat calling to you, know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. (You might want to try to find out about the specific Bat that has come into your life, because different ones may have different messages for you.)
Sensitivity & Intuition
You probably know about the Bat’s ability to navigate by echolocation. It’s so good at this that it can actually fly through the blades of a slow-moving fan. But don’t worry – it’s also astute enough to avoid doing so when the fan is going to fast for safety. (And don’t worry about bats getting caught in your hair – they’re smart enough to avoid that, too.)
This incredible ability to find their way in the dark makes Bat a powerful totem for Intuition. Bat teaches us to trust that still, small voice within to lead us safely through, even when the way seems treacherous.
Night, Rebirth, & the Sacred Feminine
Bats are, of course, nocturnal. As a general rule, you can count on animals of the night having a strong connection to feminine energy. Bats in particular are a great symbol for this, since they tend to roost in caves and emerge en masse into the dusk. This makes them a wonderful symbol for rebirth and regeneration. Bat is an especially appropriate ally for women coming into their power in the second half of life. This is why they are traditionally associated with witchcraft. (It is no coincidence that both bats and women have been sadly misunderstood over the ages, leading to the terrible persecution of both.)
By the way, Bats are almost always highly social, and mother bats often help raise each other’s offspring. A symbol for how important and nurturing the deep connections women have with other women really are!
Rising above Fear
There is a great deal of fear surrounding Bats. But if we listen close, Bat can help us to face and rise above our fear. And when we do, we enter a higher dimension where we can truly soar!
The Bat is the only mammal that has truly learned to fly. That in itself is an expression of faith. Bat teaches us to trust in our ability to soar above the dark obstacles in our path.
Wings, Hands, Flight of Spirit
Take a look at the wings of a bat. You will see that they are made up of thin, membranous skin stretched across fingerlike bones. Yes, the wings of the Bat are really hands, adapted to flight!
Spiritually, this is super significant. Wings indicate a connection to higher self, to Spirit. Hands as wings show us that we can connect with Spirit through our daily actions. Think of everything you do as prayer, and you will be heeding the message of Bat.
Power Animal of the Arts
Bats are an excellent power animal for artists of all kinds, who intuitively translate impulses from Spirit into the physical world through their hands and bodies.
My cousin Julia Lowther, a Seattle artist who raised 2 orphan flying foxes while in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa, made this observation, which I love:
“Bats, like art, are often considered useless and expendable. Though we finally understand that the survival of South Pacific island forests depend heavily on the fruit bats, we are still trying to get a similar grip on the value of art.”
Has Bat flown into your life? Post your experiences and observations below!
Upside down bat photo credit: IMG_3718 via photopin (license)
Bat in Flight photo credit: Short-tailed Fruit Bat via photopin (license)