The mere mention of a bat sends many people into a panic. Conservationists have been working for decades to dispel the terrifying myths about bats and to bring humans into a greater appreciation of these flying mammals. Bats work wonders for an ecosystem keeping pest insects in check and producing fertilizer in the form of guano. Still, despite the best public relations campaigns, many shy away from the medicine of bat.
Coming to Terms with Bat Symbolism
We often want our spirit animals to bring good tidings, but it’s hard to feel optimistic about bat spirit animal. When we draw a bat card from an animal totem deck, we tense up, brace for impact, and begin furiously trying to figure out how to spin this in a positive light.
At the core, bat symbolism carries an archetypal association with fear. Our gut reaction to seeing a picture of a bat speaks of this. There is really no good way to turn fear on its head so that we can feel better. Fear is unnerving, and bat spirit animal seats us firmly outside our comfort zone. If you find yourself already holding your breath, it is likely that bat is bringing to the surface the fear you’ve stored up inside.
Move into the fear and know that you have one of the best guides along for the journey in the form of a flying, furry mammal. You have an opportunity to inherit gratitude, which will be one comforting emotion during this very trying time.
Bat Spirit Animal’s Foreboding
When helping others interpret their encounters with spirit animals, I often find a nail-biting listener on the other end of the conversation. Many people fear that the message from the animal is bad news. I always want to bolster the listener’s faith in the universe by creating an uplifting reading about an animal encounter, but this can be tough to do when faced with bat symbolism. The truth is, it’s scary.
Bat spirit animal carries messages of fear, suffering, trial, initiation, and challenge. At the same time, this tenacious, outstandingly brave little creature could not be a stronger ally to have in times of uncertainty.
On the spiritual path we hope to find great rewards and even bigger favors, but coming into connection with the Divine is not a way to guarantee comfort, safety, peace, joy, or abundance. It is a way to gain fortitude and presence. To become a generous being that moves grace and love into the world.
Death & Initiation
To become clear channels for grace we have to release our egos, identity and attachments. Release is a poetic word for death. Shamanic teachers are much more candid about what this process of releasing looks and feels like. It feels like dying. Even though the physical body comes through the process, we are not the same person on the other side. Who we were has passed away.
Just like the seasons, our lives move in cycles. There are times when all the old must be sloughed off so that we can move our gifts into the world without distractions or obstacles.
Traditionally, shamans understood the necessity and periodicity of these “small” deaths in our lives. They created ritual and ceremony to facilitate and support this critical component of the spiritual path. Initiates were buried up to their necks, locked in caves, left in the woods, and abandoned in their own graves. We now affectionately call these ancient and painful rituals “vision quests” which can disguise the severity of the experiences.
Today, we don’t have such rituals for better or worse, but this does not mean that many people aren’t experiencing what is known as the shamanic death or initiation. These initiations are happening in the midst of life, cloaked in the mundane, but they are no less painful.
Bat spirit animal appears during these initiations when the world seems to be falling down around us. The loss of a job, a health crisis, death of loved ones, floods, fires, lawsuits, and so forth can be the outward manifestations of an inward crisis.
Upside Down and Clinging
Bat hangs upside down from the ceiling of the cave, clinging to the rough surface. This inverted posture could be seen as everything going wrong, but I see it as a defiance of gravity. Symbolically, gravity is the past. Gravity is what weighs us down and keeps us from moving forward into grace.
Bat spirit animal says, “I’m not going to let that bring me down. I’m climbing as high as I can and riding this one out.” There is an intense tenacity in bat symbolism, more so than you will find almost anywhere else. Even when things are at their very, very worst and it seems like we won’t be able to go on, bat is the voice deep inside us that tells us to keep hanging in there. Bat symbolism is about not giving up, not matter how hard it gets.
Is this Ever Going to End?
In the Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, they warn against stagnation and preventing the death-rebirth cycle from progressing, but there is an important component of bat biology that we must evaluate. Female bat has three ways to prolong her pregnancy. She can prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg, she can keep the fertilized egg floating free awaiting implantation, or she can keep the very young embryo in a sort of stasis where it is not allowed to grow. She forestalls the development and birth of her pup until environmental conditions are more favorable.
Forbearance is another key component of bat symbolism. When everyone else is saying to get on with it, let go of the past, and start a new life, we don’t have to listen. We know when the right time is and we know when there is still more that must die. When we deny these truths it is no use. The cosmos provides more obstacles to slow us down anyways. Trust your instincts about the timing of your emergence from the cave.
Rebirth & Resurrection
Bats give birth to their young while hanging upside down. The babies come out feet, rather than head, first. This again speaks of the enormous strength and effort that is at the heart of bat medicine. Born against the pull of gravity, the force of the universe that pulls everything down, your new self is coming. It is a tremendous, heroic effort not to be taken lightly and worth every ounce of power you put into it.
At dusk every day, bats are born anew into the darkness flying out from the cave. That is why so many cultures associate bat with resurrection. We think being reborn into our new selves means we will come out into the light and have everything revealed to us. The trick of bat spirit animal is to remember that we are being born into the mystery. So much will be uncertain, but with bat spirit animal as your faithful companion you’ll be able to fly to new heights, hear the voice of the cosmos with great precision and have more freedom that you ever could have imagined.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, works as a publicist and journalist for Mother Nature and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing. With over ten years of experience in the field of shamanism and thirteen years experience working with wildlife and rescue animals, Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the world of shamanism easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.
About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch
Stacey L. L. Couch is a Spiritual Director who teaches about archetypes and symbolism. Her speciality is working with soul pioneers - those of you who are making it up as you go along the spiritual path. She works with beginner and life-long spiritual seekers. Through working with Stacey, lost seekers find their way home and professional spiritual guides receive mentorship. Stacey empowers people with the ability to explore their purpose and calling. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.
You have very old and sincere eyes Ms Couch. One can not help but notice.
Anyway, thank you very much for your wisdom concerning “Bat Medicine.” This explanation is simplistic, realist layman’s talk at its best.
Time of the separation is upon humanity and this information fits exactly with a little project that I am currently engaged with.
Once again, Thank You and all the best for 2016.
You are most welcome C.J. I am glad to hear that this information will be of service for you. If you plan to include this in any public writing you are doing, please be sure to cite me as the author. Thank you, Stacey
Thank you for this. This is just what I was looking for… a deeper meaning, and love that your choice of words includes tenacity and heroic!
You are most welcome Ella!
EVERYTIN U HV OUTLINED ABOUT BAT WISDOM IS ABOUT ME, D RIDDLE OF MY LIFE & HOW I GOT ENTANGLED WITH NATURE,2 DECADES,I REMEMBER DOING BAT CONTROL,A FEW TIMES AS A PEST CONTROL OPERATOR EARLIER , REMEMBER LIVING IN A BAT INFESTED HOUSE TOO,AM SURE I GOT INITIATED ABOUT THIS TIME,THEN I MOVE INTO ANOTHER HOUSE,THERE MY LIFE TURNED UPSIDE DOWN 4 20 YRS,I FAILED IN ALL MY EFFORTS,BUINESS,FARMING,RELATIONSHIPS,MARRIAGE,JUST EVERYTIN,I WAS SICK & DYING,DOCTORS CLDNT FIGURE OUT MY HEALTH PROBLEMS,& THEN ONE NIGHT,I DREAMT ABOUT MY RECOVERY,I WAS GUIDED TO A TROPICAL PLANT TO USE AS TEA,I DID & GOT WELL, & A SOLE BAT FLEW TO MY DIRECTION ONE NIGHT MAKING REALISE ITS BEEN LIVING WITH ME EVERSINCE .& REMOVED MY FEARS.I BECAME ANEW & RECOGNISED D SHAMAN IN ME.I HV RECOVERED ALOT & I EXPECT ALOT MORE FROM D UNIVERSE,
Hello Alexander, It sounds like you and bat spirit animal are close allies! How fortunate that you’ve been able to embrace and benefit from the powerful medicine of these amazing creatures. Thank you for sharing your story. Many Blessings, Stacey
STACEY MANY THANKS TO D UNIVERSE 4 HAVING U AROUND,MY EVERYDAY & LIFE IS BETTER,WITH D BATS GUIDE,THIS DAY I LIVE ,BY HERBANATING,MEDITATING,& CALMLY,MY INNER SELF IS MORE ALIFE THAN EVER BEFORE & D BAT HAS TO ME HOW TO UNDERSTAND MY ENVIROMENT & HOW TO LIVE HEALTHY & OVERCOME ILLNESS,MANY THANKS TO U AGAIN FOR UR WISDOM
Hello. I’ve always had an appreciation for Bat. There were always Bats out at dusk in the summer growing up. They’ve been much more scarce these days, but I saw Bat not long ago while watching Venus and Jupiter light up the horizon, and I’m getting a chance to watch a many of Bat fly out from a cave this week. After reading your Bat symbolism and Mercury Retrograde posts I’m understanding my current Universe a little more. Im grateful to have Bat with me, but what do you think it means to have Bat and MR in our lives at the same time?? Looking forward to hearing your wisdom. Thank you.
Great question Rose! Bat spirit animal is a great ally when navigating the darkness of a Mercury retrograde cycle. When any planet goes backward, or retrograde, we are sent into our shadow and given the opportunity to re-evaluate and reflect. When we are able to allow the small ego deaths that bat fosters, we can really harness the energy of a retrograde and clean out our closets. A retrograde can feel heavy because it pulls us back into the past, but bat’s ability to defy gravity and hang upside down is a great tool for such times! So, when all is said and done, it does absolutely fit that you are working with bat symbolism at this time! Many Blessings, Stacey
Thank you Stacey! I’m traveling around for next two weeks and will end my travels in Durango. I saw you live in Pagosa Springs…if time permits it would be great to meet you. I’m not sure if this is something you feel comfortable doing, but figured I’d throw it out in to the Universe. Talk to you soon. Thanks again for your insight:)
This morning I found a helpless bat on the ground in our apartment block garden, I called animal rescue to help and a wonderful volunteer came within 20 minutes to rescue her ( In this time I’d already named named the bat ‘Bertie’. Bertie turned out to be an old girl who is now recovering with the help of a specialist. She was a really beautiful thing and really quite fluffy, I feel so positive from this encounter for many different reasons. It may sound a bit weird but I have an innate ‘6th sense’ and am wondering what this morning’s encounter might mean. It’s been a big and challenging few year however in the last few months the light is really shining through.
Hello Bec, This just goes to show that not all initiations are done alone. I’d suggest reflecting on who has come to your rescue over the past year as well as how you’ve rescued yourself. I love how you describe the bat as an “old girl”! How have you grown wiser as a result of the big challenges you’ve endured? Both of these things are worth pondering as you explore bat medicine. Many Blessings, Stacey
Hello. I would like to know the meaining of bats crashing into me while flying. I was out running the other. Ugly and a bat hit me on my hip the following night it hit me in my face. What does it mean? #freakedout
Hello Eddie, No kidding! That would freak me out too! I’d recommend taking a look through the main keynotes of this article on bat symbolism and seeing which themes stand out to you. Which phase do you feel like you’re at right now? Rebirth? Death? Initiation? Sometimes spirit animals come to acknowledge what we are going through and other times they come to wake us up so we pay closer attention to what is going on. Either way, these close encounters clearly warrant some quiet time to yourself reflecting on what change you are enduring. Many Blessings, Stacey
Hello… Please help me to understand the meaning of a bath hannging on our terrace eerynight while eating.every morning I find a pcs of small fruits on the floor. I keep reading an article about a bat flying or hanging in the house till I read ur article,I dont know if I will just let it stay there or what ?
Hello Lara, Fruit symbolizes the fruits of your labor, sweetness in life, and/or nourishment. How are you caring for yourself and finding refuge in the midst of a trial or challenge in your life? What ending and new beginning are you fueling? Really sitting with these questions in particular should help you decipher the meanings in this bat’s company. Many Blessings, Stacey
in the morning of one of these hot August nights I had a very disconcerting encounter with a bat…
Because of the heat I had slept with the windows opened. When I got up in the morning I felt there was something lying on the floor… in the dark it felt like one of my black socks, light and velvety soft. When I switched on the light I was frightened and shocked – the velvety thing in my hand was a dead bat. There was a mirror on the wall next to my bed, the unlucky bat must have collided with it, probably mirrors can disrupt a bat’s echolocation signals.
I really would like to understand the message of this omen… what exactly does it mean when a powerful creature (symbolizing rebirth, resurrection, perseverance…) is lying dead next to my bed under a mirror like a black sock?
I would be so grateful if you shared your intuitional insights of this scary bat medicine!
Nice article. You and the bat have motivated me.
Thank you. I have developed a lot of respect to them and God who created this creature.