Bat – Spirituality
* This article focuses specifically on microbats in Australia, but many of the lessons apply elsewhere as well.
Spirituality. Psychic gifts and abilities. Clairvoyance and clairaudience. A connection to all worlds. Dreamwork. Finding others of like-mind. Cave magic. Working with liminal worlds and times such as mist, twilight and other thresholds.
Australia has many bats, including the ghost bat, the world’s largest microbat. Australian bats are generally insectivorous, and can consume 50% of their own body weight in one night. They are mostly social, roosting at night in large caves, trees, buildings etc. sometimes in numbers up to the millions. Bats are well-known as the only genuinely flying mammal. They fly by employing a unique adaptation that has allowed skin membranes to form between elongated fingers, creating wings.
Bats use echolocation in locating their food, each other and obstacles and many only have vestigial eyesight. Bats can live for over 20 years, but a slow birth rate (generally only one pup a year) means that bat populations do not expand too quickly.
Lessons and Challenges:
Bat challenges people to bring a greater spirituality into their lives. Spirituality is not the same as religion, and it is possible to find a meaningful relationship with any energy without the framework of dogma or religious law. Take the time to connect with energies and people you care for, and invent or develop rituals that are meaningful to you.
The presence of bat indicates a presence of psychic gifts and abilities. These may express themselves through dreams, or other channels. Psychic abilities, such as the ability to utilise extra-sensory perception, clairaudience and clairvoyance can be present in order to help you out. Divination methods like tarot, runes and the pendulum can also be helpful for guidance at this time. They may manifest within yourself, or they may manifest within people around you, in order to help you out or guide you on your path. Developing psychic abilities through diligent practices of meditation and visualisation can also be a method to further increase your connection to the spiritual and even to the divine.
When bat is around, there is the potential to connect strongly to all worlds, not just our mundane world, but also the Otherworlds and other realms around us. Utilising acts such as trance-work, spirit journeying, or even through monitoring out dreams can help to maintain or even reinforce this connection. Bat suggests that wisdom is not only found in the tangible every day that we can verify with our own eyes our touch with our hands. Wisdom is also found in the elusive whispers in dreams, the communion with gods; whether archetypal or real, or with the flight of the spirit to other places in order to adventure and grow away from the body.
Dreamwork will be productive at this time. Consider maintaining a dream diary, and cultivating abilities that everyone can learn; like lucid dreaming. Even the use of daydreaming, or practicing casual visualisation throughout the day can be beneficial. Through dreams, we are able to unlock the symbols, metaphors and means through which we can understand the motivations and limitations of our spirit; and seek to grow from these points. Through dreams we can also understand where our hopes and desires lay, and even connect with the divine, or experience moments of spiritual communion. Bat asks us to exploit our dreams as a tool of spiritual and personal growth, and to not just dismiss them as random night-time events.
Bat is a social animal with its own kind, and through its unique abilities to communicate, easily finds its own niche in communal caves. The presence of bat indicates that at this time you will be concerned finding others of like-mind. This may be finding others who have the same niche interests as you, the same career in mind, or even the same sorts of spirituality or religion. With bat around, you are in a great position to be able to locate such people, and even form long-lasting, meaningful relationships with them.
Caves have long been used as places to worship and propitiate the gods, spirits and ancestors. They have also been used, in many cultures, as places for initiations; both those that involve coming of age, and others that involve initiation into other spiritual mysteries. Caves are places of power, and bat as an animal guide is aware of this. Bat energy helps you to learn how to experience caves as places of initiation, power, ritual and mystery.
Consider literally investigating caves local to your region, or – if this is not possible – create cave-like situations in your own living space, or even within your own mind. Sometimes taking time to sit beneath the earth, within the dark, is also taking the time to give your spirit and the spirits around you permission to speak and impart wisdom.
In addition to caves, bat suggests working with liminal worlds such as places within the Otherworld of threshold and transition, times of day such as twilight and dawn, and within liminal natural events like fog and mist. Liminal states are those which are ambiguous or undefined. Times that are neither cloudy nor clear, where you are neither dead nor alive, where it is neither night or day. In these states great growth can occur because the fixed sense of self-identity, or even a fixed sense of perception of the outside world tends to dissolve a little, giving you the chance to break exterior ideas of the world and the spirit world, or a chance to work constructively with internal ideas of the self.
Bat also reminds us that liminality, while an important state necessary for growth, can be damaging or become a site for stagnancy if we have too much of it residing within us. The bat uses twilight and dawn as times to emerge from and return to its resting place, but it does the majority of its growth, feeding and interaction with others either during the day, or during the night.
The Shadow Aspects:
Those who dislike bat, may find that they resent their inability to have certain skills and abilities. Chances are you’re already very talented, but the shadow aspect of bat suggests that this might not be ‘enough’ for us. We may want to play sport like our friends, we may want to be psychic or clairvoyant, we may want to good at art or music. When we spend our time focusing on all the abilities we want, we never end up celebrating the abilities we have. When we don’t honour our innate abilities, we pay them less attention and they fall by the wayside.
Those who dislike bat may be so heavily entrenched in ‘religion’ that they lose sight of the spirituality that fuels that religion. They may be so dogmatic about following rules, laws, rituals and the ‘right’ way of doing things, that they actually lose their more profound connection to the energies that are worshipped by that religion in the first place. You may have also reached a time in your life where atheism or inherent skepticism has stopped nourishing you. Free your bindings to fixed beliefs and find your way to a more spiritual existence.
Like all animal helpers, this animal will only appear when right and appropriate, and cannot be forced to visit you, commune with you, or share messages with you. Bat is a cryptic helper, and hard to approach if it hasn’t already contacted you. For this reason, I don’t tend to recommend that bat be approached by beginners to animal guide work and animal magic. However, once bat has established itself as a guide in your life, it is a very strong, overwhelming, and sometimes even overpowering energy.
Those people who work with bat sometimes find that bat will swamp their dreams with images of bat wings, will attack them in visions, or will appear in Otherworld trances at significant times often at initiatory points, to either signal an initiatory phase is beginning, occurring, or ending. Bat is also a particularly prominent guide for practical animists and those who are concerned with life/death mysteries.