The bat symbolizes shamanic initiation. The word shaman is a word coming from the Toungouse language, also called Evenk, a language of Eastern Siberia, which means “one who was twice born”. Indeed, most shamanic initiations reactivate the idea of dying and being reborn, and most of the spiritual traditions include this legend, this myth, the best known being that of the dead and resuscitated Christ.
In the shamanic traditions of Great Turtle Island (North America), the shaman has to undergo his initiation during several ritual nights: buried alive in a grave for several days and nights: or alone in wild nature during several days and nights without eating, sleeping or drinking, or any other reference to daily life. To give over to spirit one must abandon ones former ways and turn over to a new life. This is the opposite of what others do with their lives, opening to other realities, doing differently, like the bat who sleeps upside down.
Being reborn is a profound transformation. We learn to face our fears as going through death implies looking profoundly within oneself to find the courage to establish our real being, that part of us that is unchanging and immortal. This is the kingdom of the unseen world that most people don’t even believe in these days. That’s why the bat flies only at night. Being reborn to our spiritual self means connecting with our inner being that holds the sum of all energies and memories that evolve from one life to the next. We can only enter into this communion with our spiritual selves, our spirit or soul, if we know how to die to the aspects of our being that limit us, that are restrictive, those aspects that are conditioned by social norms and locked into fears and prejudices like racism or judging other. To reach our immortal reality, we need to abandon all this. Certain traditions call it the death of the ego, this part of us which is made up of our personality, the programming and conditioning that have us a prisoner of our social and cultural environment and negative or traumatic experiences.
The shamanic death and rebirth in the true power of our eternal being. The bat is symbolic of this mystery. People who have this medicine are rare but a lot more frequent in these days of necessary planetary transformation. This medicine has us ceaselessly needing to question the nature of reality and this is not an easy thing to do. Most people are afraid of bats: it always flies at night, yet is not a bird… If we think of the symbolism in popular media that of vampires, drinkers of blood, it has a rather negative image. This is not the case in First Nations lore.
I feel good when I see them starting to fly around at the beginning of the evening. They can in a single night eat hundreds of mosquitoes and other biting flies. Many farmers will build shelters nests for them for that very reason; and their manure is a very good fertilizer. Modern scientific studies showed that not only these animals don’t have the negative aspects that have been attributed to them for centuries in white culture, but that on the contrary they are essential in all ecosystems.
Bats fly at night thanks to their radar and their precision in flight is impressive. That’s why they have such big ears. By uttering special sounds and by listening to the way these sounds rebound on objects surrounding them, they manage to fly in the dark. That is why they live at night and shelter in caves or dark places in the daytime. To see them flying by, catching the flies one after the other with phenomenal speed, is a unique aerobatic spectacle. Thus bat medicine teaches the use of our sixth sense, the capacity to find information and spiritual resources with our internal vision, our intuition and the magic in rituals.
We can call on the medicine of the bat when it has become necessary to abandon former ways and come into new states of relating to the world. Calling on bat medicine will help us shed our social conditioning to reach the pure light of the being who we truly are, the divine being who slumbers in our souls. By giving less energy to the ego or personality, we reach for the best that we can be, for our greater well-being, that of our families and the world we live in. We can also call on the bat to transcend our difficulties. The medicine of the bat can help us to see the beneficial and positive sides of the hard knocks and tragedies that we experience. Also appeal to the bat to find that which is hidden in the dark, in the limbs of your unconscious and the meanderings of time.