Could there be a more monster-like creature? Bats are the very symbol of monster in all of our story-telling traditions. But what is a monster? A monster is an unexamined power within our selves that chases us and riddles us with fear until we face whatever it is about reality we do not want to face.
Could there be a more monster-like creature? Bats are the very symbol of monster in all of our story-telling traditions. But what is a monster?
A monster is an unexamined power within our selves that chases us and riddles us with fear until we face whatever it is about reality we do not want to face. Bat Medicine teaches us to shift from the child to the adult, from the dependent to the independent, and to take responsibility for the process of learning and improving our life conditions. No one out in the world can provide us with a sense of confidence or certainty. These are states of knowing that we obtain for ourselves by shifting our focus away from ‘appearances’ and more towards the quality of every experience.
This 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. Bats see with sound. They echo locate 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, the Hummingbird, Bat is a teacher of vibrations. Where Hummingbird is a time of visual harmony with inner sensations, (what you see is exactly as it seems) 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. And often that obstacle is our own fear. Darkness is simply an unknown. It may be time to travel through a darkness and learn how to use different senses. Listen past appearances, push through the frightening and speak tone to tone with yourself and others, not words to words. 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 people are treating you is an indication of how you are treating yourself and how you deserve to be treated. Blaming someone for your unhappiness is not stepping into your adult ability to provide yourself with the things you need in life. It is maintaining a childhood dependence on an outside authority to give you what you 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.”
If Bat Medicine 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) which 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 the fear is that you are hiding from with your firewall of anger? Sit with yourself until you get an answer. Fidget if you like, but 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 self 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.
The energetic teaching of this scary adorable creature is in finding a way to let go of needing things from others and locating your own ability to provide for yourself. This enables you to fully enjoy other peoples company. If your thoughts are overwhelmed with negativity it may be time to listen to a spiritual teacher for guidance, someone who has traveled the personal journey you are learning how to travel. (See reading list for suggestions)
And just to honor the value of footnotes- Here is the ever eloquent Joseph Campbell on the power and function of Adulthood Rites:
Do you have thoughts or questions about this post? I’d love to hear from you!