* This essay largely refers to feral rats in Australia, though some of the lessons here can apply to rats globally.

Rat illustrated by Ravenari


Resourcefulness. Strength in a crisis. Supporting yourself and others. Remaining unnoticed. Invisibility. Defending yourself. Squabble and quarrel. Foresight. Divination. Spiritual wealth. Watch out for vindictive behaviour.

General Description:

The feral rat is distinguishable from native rodents and marsupial mice from its distinctive odour – which natives lack. The rat is aggressive when trapped and difficult to control. It is not considered as serious a threat as other feral animals, though they still eat native animals and also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Most Australians aren’t aware of how many rats there are because of their ability to remain largely unseen even in suburban environments.

The rat is omnivorous, intelligent and adaptable able to live in both natural and urbanised environments. Rats socialise quite well, though they also squabble and fight each other easily. They tend to enjoy an unsavoury reputation in western culture, despite being kept as affectionate pets.

Lessons and Challenges:

The rat is the epitome of the resourceful worker. Rats adapt to life just about anywhere, exploit a multitude of food sources, and use their intelligence to gain access to physical nourishment and nesting sites. Rat teaches us how to be resourceful.

Being resourceful doesn’t involve just using intelligence to find new ways to sustain ourselves and our lifestyles, but also involves ways of learning how to nourish ourselves efficiently. In addition, rat asks you to use your intelligence and efficiency to find solutions to a difficult situation. The answers are with you and your ability to exploit your resources to the best of your ability, rat reminds you that no one else at this time will be able to help you as well as you can.

Any creature that can find solutions during difficult times, is also a creature that can teach us how to be strong in a crisis. When rat is in your life, you may find that you handle times of crisis better than others, or that it would be beneficial of you to learn how to handle crises more efficiently.

Many people can freeze during a crisis, but rat encourages you to remain calm and composed. There is plenty of time to react badly to something when you and your loved ones are safe, but during an actual crisis, it’s time to find rationality and clarity.

When rat comes into your life, it is time to look at how you support yourself and others. Is it financially? Is it through your ability to provide a shoulder to lean on, or do you support others through providing food, clothing, or simply a space for someone to be themselves? Could you improve on the support you offer to others? We enrich our own lives when we learn to give some of our resources away to those we would consider ‘family’ (whether family by blood, or friends by choice).

The rat teaches invisibility. Rat is everywhere, but unlike animals that are highly visible, rat prefers to move about unseen and usually at night-time. Remaining unnoticed except among those who care about you has its benefits. One, is that you avoid attention from those who may feel badly or negatively towards you for reasons beyond your control. Two, remaining hidden (whether literally or metaphorically) also helps you to keep a better eye on your immediate environment and monitor your connections with others; in order to remain hidden, you must understand what people may not accept you, and those people who will.

If remaining invisible is impossible, rat teaches lessons regarding self-defense. Rat doesn’t just teach physical self-defense (though it might be worth asking yourself just how skilled or able you are to physically defend yourself); but all forms of defense connected to dialogue and conversation. Rat energy teaches you how to defend yourself through wit, humour, knowledge and redirecting conversations away from unwelcome scrutiny.

The reason that rat brings up lessons relating to self-defense, verbal sparring and needing to remain hidden is because the rat warns you to watch out for vindictive behaviour from others at this time. Squabbles and quarrels may be occurring amongst loved ones around you, or you may be participating

Rat helps with all abilities relating to foresight, and also to divination. Ability with modalities like the tarot, runes, clairvoyance, and many others are all suggested with the presence of rat energy. Rat as a guide also helps to teach those who want to hone their abilities in divinatory practices, and is a fantastic mentor helping people to develop their astuteness and intuition at the same time.

Rat reminds you that you are spiritually wealthy at this time. No matter what is going on in your life, the resources to succeed are at your fingertips. Recognising this is one of rat’s gifts to you, and it can be very empowering. Despite any hardships that face you, the presence of rat indicates that you will receive the success you are currently seeking.

The Shadow Aspects:

If you fear or dislike rat, you may find that you have difficulty being resourceful during a crisis (or opportunity). You may spend your money too quickly, neglect to acquire healthful foods, you may be unable to look after yourselves or others adequately when the times are tough. However, when opportunity presents itself, you may also be unable to take advantage of it effectively. The reasons for this are varied, but it may be related to a problem with your connection to your own personal strength and intuition. Rat challenges such a disconnection and encourages you to find strength, understanding and knowing. It is important to live life fully, but we cannot do this if we are unable to read our current circumstances adequately.


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. Rat can be a reticent teacher, and will not always present itself in visualisation or journeying. Once you have gotten audience with rat as a guide, the reticence disappears and rat becomes chatty, evocative, friendly and gregarious. Rat can be short-tempered, but rat’s anger burns out quickly and s/he doesn’t tend to hold a grudge.

I offer grains and fruit to rat personally, but you may offer whatever rat wants you to (and rat will usually tell you!) Consider contacting rat through visualisation at night-time, and imagery involving caves, sewers, networks of tunnels and other underground places can help greatly when it comes to meeting rat and getting the best out your encounters.