Numbat – Details

Numbat illustrated by Ravenari


Details. The unconscious undergrowth. Energy from daylight. Scrutiny. The social introvert. Beauty in the arid. Caring and being cared for. Threat. Scrub wisdom.

General Description:

The numbat is a small, insectivorous marsupial, it is the mammalian emblem of Western Australia and only live in small pockets in South-Western Australia. Its primary diet is termites, of which they can consume around 20,000 a day. They have characteristic black and white banding down their backs, and a ‘bottlebrush’ tail. Its tongue which is long and sticky is half as long as its head and body combined. Numbats are often solitary during the day and will not share their territories with members of the same sex. Numbats nest in hollow logs, tree hollows and burrows. It was nearing extinction some years ago, but due to intensive rehabilitation efforts has now been downgraded to Vulnerable, there are only about 2000 left in the wild. Numbats are threatened by habitat destruction and foxes.

Lessons and Challenges:

Numbat comes into our lives to teach us to pay attention to the finer details of our lives. It is time to look closely, at our homes, our relationships, our workplace, our finances and any other aspect of our life that nourishes us. Are there small flaws in the house that could be fixed, like grouting or painting? Do them! Are there small details in a relationship that could be added to make it more enriching, like telling your partner what you value about them, or giving a friend some flowers? Numbat encourages you to nurture the details so that the bigger picture will be even more rewarding.

Numbat’s focus on detail leads to an inevitable scrutiny focusing on whether we are being satisfied by life at this current time. Ask yourself if there are things you can change in your life, and things that you want to change. Numbat gives you the power to focus, and dissect the things that are no longer helping you from the things that are.

We each have an unconscious undergrowth, it consists of the thoughts, feelings and ideas that rarely get uncovered and see the light of day. Numbat helps us to go within ourselves and dig out the old ideas and thoughts that we’d abandoned. You may find you start having unusual dreams when numbat visits you, or unusual ideas and thoughts. Pay attention to them, because chances are if you follow or listen to them, they will help to nourish you.

Numbat helps you to enjoy the sun more. It is time to spend some time out in the sunlight (though not too long, and remember to be sun-smart). Numbat shows us how to get energy from the sun by simply spending time under its light. This energy can be stored and used later, or it can help us to get through the day.

It is time to become more socially introverted, if numbat has come into your life. Sometimes we need to take a break from socialising, sometimes because we don’t enjoy it, or because we just need ‘us’ time. Take time to celebrate yourself, and do not punish or guilt-trip yourself for not feeling up to seeing friends, family members, or even your partner.

The dry and hot lands of Australia possess great strength and energy. Numbat encourages you to visit the warm and dry regions of your land, if you have any. Look at the plants, listen to any birds, and feel the heat on your skin. There is a scrub wisdom to be found with the presence of numbat, and simply visiting bushland – or visualising the bushland – will help you to discover more of numbat’s wisdom.

There is an element of ‘threat’ to numbat’s teachings. Numbat can often warn you that something you care about (people or projects) is being threatened by external forces. It might be time to look hard at everything you care for, if it doesn’t seem stable or secure, see how you can better look after it.

Numbat also teaches us the value of caring and being cared for. It is healthy to nurture our relationships with others by caring for them, but it is also healthy to let ourselves be cared for. Do you feel you have a balanced relationship of care with your friends, family and partner? If not, it might be time to become more caring of others, and to let those who do not care for you gently out of your life.

The Shadow Aspects:

Those being challenged by numbat may find that they resist applying the skill of scrutiny to their life. This might be for many reasons, but usually it is because the querent is frightened or challenged by the prospect of changing many details in their lives in order to live a healthier or more nourishing existence. Stop and take stock of your habits and routines, can you save more time for yourself? Can you better manage your day? Are you paying enough attention to your home and the people you love? Scrutinise your life, you will find many things that need changing. Numbat lends you the energy to be able to restructure your life from the small details up.


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. Numbat can be a secretive guide, and may sometimes only come into your life subtly. However, you can better connect with numbat energy during the day, in drier habitats. If you live in a wet environment, or its Winter, consider visualising deserts and dry bushland filled with tree hollows and dens to better encourage numbat energy to come through to you. Numbat energy also responds to techniques that involve enveloping yourself in dark places, this might be going into literal caves, or shutting the lights off in enclosed spaces like your room, and it might simply involve closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a dry, warm, log, gently resting. Gentle and quieter techniques are more useful in contacting numbat, who is often a calm speaker and sometimes shows us more through its actions than what it says to us.