What does the Bat Spirit Animal Totem Mean? Rites of Passage
Could there be a more monster-like creature? Bats are often the very symbol of monsters in our story-telling traditions. But what is a monster, really? A monster is an unexamined power within us that chases after us until we turn around and face whatever it is about the reality we do not want to see. Bat Medicine nudges us to face the uncomfortable and transform the negative into usable power. It is time to shift from child energy to elder energy from the dependent to the independent. We are always shifting back and forth between learning and teaching, between knowing and discovering. Sometimes we are the child in a new situation and sometimes we are the adults answering questions from younger peers. When we resist shifting in and out of the process of learning and teaching, when we try to stay the student or stay the teacher when the natural flow of life is carrying us to the opposite pole, we are resisting our learning process. The Bat Spirit Animal Totem specifically indicates a need at this time to let go of young, or student-like perspectives and step into the adult, teacher position. Don’t worry, you will naturally be brought back around to the excitement and thrill of being a student again. No one ever permanently arrives at Elderhood.
It is time to stop pretending you need more instruction and stand in all your hard-earned wisdom. It is time to know you know what you know. Only you can take responsibility for the process of improving your life conditions. You do not need parental support at this time. You need to empower your own capacities to face what you need to face on your own.
The Bat Spirit Animal Totem is the shaman-maker medicine. It holds the ability to overcome fears of the overt, in-your-face scary things in life and to push past the gargoyles at the gates of clarity. Bat is the spirit guide who strips a person of an old, limiting personality and enables them to step into a larger, wiser self. It could portend a time of discomfort but the lesson here is, feel the fear and do it anyway.
The Bat Spirit Animal Totem knows that courage is fear walking.
Keep going, fear and all. Don’t stop and don’t hide. Face whatever this is and come through the other side. You may be tattered and bruised but from this experience, you will certainly travel through the next challenge with more grace than the last.
Bats see with sound. They echolocate by emitting sound waves into the air which travels out and bounces against solid objects. This makes them highly sensitive beings who are completely self-sufficient in total darkness. Their eyes provide minimal clarity.
This is a time to look past what you see and focus on what you sense. Along with his light-loving opposite Totem, the Hummingbird, Bat is a teacher of vibrations. While Hummingbird energy brings in a time of bright visual harmony with inner sensations of joy, Bat Medicine holds the darkness of the cave in her teachings and suggests there may be an obstacle in the way of hearing or seeing the truth at this time. Hold space for obstacles. Hold space for mistakes and conflict. Often the obstacle we are dealing with is our own fear or someone else’s unacknowledged fear. Darkness is not a negative state. Darkness is simply an unknown. It may be time to travel through a dark experience and learn how to use different senses. Push through the frightening and let the message in. Listen to the tone of messages more than the literal words said. Bat echo locates as a form of vision. He sees through sound and invites us to study messages that arrive outside of language. The energy of a message is rarely in the literal words and often in the tone used. When we focus only on the words of a situation rather than on how they were spoken, we cloak our deeper sense of knowing. If someone is saying something but you feel the opposite is true, listen to that perception and take action from that knowing.
As children we are passionately eager to grow up and obtain autonomy, to be able to cook our own food, drive our own car, and drink our own alcohol… Then when that mythical moment of adulthood does arrive, (often as a sort of foggy vaporous mist in the night) a large part of us often wants to return to being taken care of again. Many of our adult friendships become restricting contracts of taking care of aspects of each other which do not want to grow up and take responsibility for what is ours alone to do in life.
Relationships with other people are always a reflection of our relationship with ourselves. How well we get along with those close to us is a measure of how well we enjoy our own company. Other people are opportunities to experience ourselves in new ways. We attract to us what we expect and feel we deserve. How people are treating you is an indication of how you are treating yourself and how you feel you deserve to be treated. This statement might make you angry to hear because it points out an error in how we believe the world works. Blaming someone for causing your unhappiness is not stepping into your adult responsibility to provide yourself with the loyalty and support you need in life. Holding esentment towards others for not behaving how we would like them to only maintains a childhood dependence within ourselves that believes we need an outside authority to give us what we need. Adulthood is the ability to be emotionally realistic about what another person can physically and emotionally do for you. Childhood does end when the body is fully grown. But psychologically it can continue through your life well into old age if a conscious Adulthood Rite of some kind is not initiated by you. This rite could occur at any age- 16? 20? 30? 60? Power Animal Medicines are not at all concerned with age or time, only realization.
So, how do I perform an ‘adulthood rite?’ Make one for yourself. Make it up. What do you think the ‘official’ people did? They made it up. Step into your own authority to validate the power of your chosen actions. Invite people to assist, or perform it all alone as you feel is right for you. It is the asking that is the ritual and the rite, the reaching for a clearly defined change. Your ceremony and rite can be as elaborate or as simple as your imagination wishes. Arrange a sacred space (build a fire, a Medicine Wheel, a candle circle), travel to a sacred space, or simply declare this affirmation from where you are:
“I want to release my childhood fears and misperceptions and step into my powers and gifts as a unique, creative, joyful adult being.”
The Bat is a night creature who echo-locates as a way of seeing. This feature could mean that the issue at hand will not be understandable through your usual senses and you may need to develop new styles of listening skills.
If the Bat Spirit Animal Totem has appeared in your life, it is time to listen to your emotions on a vibratory level, scary as they may feel. Follow the monsters past the surface-level illusion as they teach you how to step into personal empowerment. Ultimately it is an unconscious emotional pattern (a legacy from childhood) that keeps us reactionary and unable to step into an adult calm.
And the most difficult emotion to take responsibility for is anger. It is a sudden, fast-rising, overwhelming event that seems to render us powerless to resist. Bat asks, why resist? Follow the anger, let it take you where it will take you. Feelings are like rivers. If you follow them in all their speed and power they clean away your confusion and carry you somewhere new. Do not sidestep the ugly monster feelings in an effort to stay ‘good’ or ‘safe.’
ALL anger is hiding a very specific personal fear that you are not facing.
This idea is worth repeating: Anger is an avoidance mechanism for feeling fear. Bat Medicine is asking you to turn anger into an alarm system. It is time to find out what is behind that firewall of anger? Sit with yourself until you get an answer. Hold the space to locate your fear. In solitude give space to whatever is true and follow that truth. When you sit down and listen to your thoughts and feelings you are telling yourself you are worth listening to. If you do not listen to yourself how can you expect anyone else to listen to you or feel listened to by you?
Journaling is the most effective way to become your own emotional guidance system. Speak to yourself at least once a week. Extricate your thoughts from the silence of your mind and ask yourself questions. Legalize all questions as worth hearing. If you have reached a desperate state of anger, of fear, of needing something from someone, take heart! Wisdom is rising. Bat Medicine says, put pen to paper. It is time to learn how to give yourself what you are asking someone else to give you. Don’t be afraid to hear from the monsters that may be lurking within. A monster is only a misunderstood fear we are trying to hide from.
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