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What Do Bats Symbolize? Lore, Magick, and the Bat Spirit Guide

An ever-present creature that often gets overlooked or forgotten. Yet so prevalent in our lives through literature, movies, TV series and truly ingrained in our psyche. The bat. I’m talking about that fuzzy denizen of the night. That hangs upside down to sleep during the day. You know the one that vampires supposedly shapeshift into? What happens if you start seeing bats everywhere? In this article, we take a journey into the proverbial cave, into the night, to answer the question what do bats symbolize? Plus talk about the bat spirit guide and the magick it brings into one’s life.

First, Let’s Meet Our Friend the Bat.

I always thought of bats as the creepier, nocturnal cousin of the bird. However, the bat isn’t a bird at all. Bats are actually mammals, which means the bat is closer in species to human beings than a bird is! They are vertebrates and feed their young via mother’s milk. They are nocturnal, meaning they sleep during the day and are active at night. The bat roosts upside down in a tree, cave, barn, or anywhere they feel comfortable to perch. What’s amazing to me is that the female bat can bend upward and outward before taking off to fly from an upside down position. Bat yoga, anyone?

Bats are found literally all over the world. There’s tiny bats and extremely large bats. Bats can fly up to sixty miles per hour and use echolocation to communicate and find their food in the dark. They live a long life for a flying mammal – up to thirty years. Bats are also important to the production of certain fruits like avocadoes and bananas. Why? They help pollinate many plants and spread the seeds so that more can grow. I bet you never thought bats were pollinators!

But I could sit here and give you fact upon fact about bats and it still wouldn’t change the way some people feel about them. Depending on the culture and country, bats are either revered or extremely feared. And if you ask me, sometimes they’re downright adorable. Have you ever heard of the flying fox bat? Large but cute AF. Let’s dive in and figure out exactly what do bats symbolize?

Flying fox bats roosting

What Do Bats Symbolize?

On the Eastern side of the world, bats are considered good luck to many cultures. They ward off disease naturally by being a major predator of the mosquito (an insect that carries disease). To that note – the bat can eat up to twelve-hundred mosquitos per hour! This is why you’ll see folks putting bat houses in their backyards. So number one, bats are GOOD LUCK despite what Western society may have you believe.

Bats Represent Our Shadows Coming to Light

But here’s the thing with bats. The message from these guys takes us deep. Deep into the caves of the human psyche, if you will. The bat’s message goes beyond simply “good luck”. It takes us within ourselves, brings to light our shadows. The bat aids in exploration of the hidden self, and also a potential spiritual side you’ve been hiding. They are most definitely a symbol of the occult, frequently associated with vampires, demons and dark entities (which we will explore further later).

Bats Symbolize Transition and Initiation

Transition is a big part of the bat spirit guide’s message. Bats are a symbol of death to the old, a bringer of the new. From the dark to the light. When we let go of the old self, when we explore and shine a light on our shadows, we are harnessing the essence of this nocturnal animal.

Bats are liminal creatures, which means they exist somewhere between here and there. Straddling the line between the spiritual and physical. They’re earthly creatures (being mammals) yet are the only mammals with the ability to fly. They move between the earth and the air with ease. If you’re seeing bats frequently, it might be a time of transition and initiation for you. Only you can determine what that means to you personally.

What Do Bats Symbolize? They Represent Using Primal Instincts

Don’t forget that bats use their keen senses to move around in the dark, to navigate, communicate and locate prey. So when wondering what do bats symbolize, we can add that they represent tuning into and using one’s primal instincts. Maybe you’re going through a period of sorrow or darkness or you’re in need of protection. A way to the light. The bat is telling you to use your instincts to navigate the darkness. To find your way home.

Bat Folklore and Superstitions

Bats roost in caves, trees, and other places close to the heart of Mother Earth. For this reason, and because they’re indeed special creatures, I believe they were sacred to ancient priestesses, seers and healers. But when Christianity rose to power, bats were demonized along with many other once-holy creatures. Artists began painting pictures of bats with Satan, demons, and witches. In Medieval Europe, people thought bats were demons or witches in shapeshifted form. According to Judika Illes, “in 1322, Lady Jacaume of Bayonne, France was publicly burned at the stake as a witch. The evidence? Swarms of bats had been observed flying about her house and garden.”

Interestingly, bats were also thought to be miniature dragons at one point. They lived in caves and their wings were similarly shaped (though they didn’t breathe fire). I find this particularly intriguing, because I see dragons as being representative of all elements. And, we see in China, bats are representative of their elements and the five blessings: longevity, prosperity, health, righteousness, and a natural death.

The major bat superstitions known in the Western world are that bats drink blood and they become entangled in women’s long hair. We have to dispel these myths: even vampire bats don’t go after humans they feed on sleeping animals AND NO bats don’t get tangled in your hair. This was an old wives’ tale told to girls to keep them from going out at night. Bats have keen senses they use to fly…so they may get close to your head but won’t hit you.

Gods, Goddesses and Vampires Linked to the Bat

Lilith is the first bat goddess that comes to mind. As a primal earth goddess, this isn’t surprising bats are often associated to her. She too has been demonized over the centuries, along with her sacred animal the bat. Later legends write her off as a “vampire spirit” or “succubus”, and because we associate bats with vampires, there’s a connection there as well. Truly any Underworld or chthonic deity will likely have a tie to the bat. Deities like Persephone, Hades, and Hel have a connection to the bat.

The bat-vampire connection gained popularity in the Western world because of Bram Stoker’s book Dracula in the eighteen-hundreds. Stoker was fascinated with the vampire bat species and used it as inspiration for his character Count Dracula – giving Dracula the ability to transform into a bat. However, centuries before Bram Stoker was born, bats had a reputation of death and blood sacrifice in ancient Central America. In addition, in some Eastern European countries, the word vampire is synonymous with witch. They’re all nocturnal creatures close to Mother Earth!

Bat Spirit Guide

How do you know if the bat spirit guide has flown into your life? Easy. You’re seeing them frequently. A few months ago, my daughter and I decided to get up early in the morning and go running. It was still dark outside. We encountered a swarm of bats in one area of the neighborhood. They flew so close to us, we thought they were going to touch us! After that experience, I was seeing bats everywhere – on TV, online, on signs and vehicles, in books. Basically I couldn’t escape the bat spirit guide. He had a message to bring me – one of transition and exploring my shadows.

If you’re pagan, a witch, or just a spiritual person looking for answers, the bat spirit guide is definitely a good thing. It brings good luck BUT be prepared to take a hard look at your life. To identify things that need to be eradicated and allow for good things to take their place. You’re going through a period of transition and initiation. The bat spirit guide calls you to the path of the Earth Goddess. Sometimes specific earth goddesses use the bat as a messenger.

What do bats symbolize? Folklore, superstitions, vampires and more!

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