For most of my life, I have been attracted to Animal Totems and the beautiful energy that they offer. The theory is that every animal (usually wild) has a powerful spirit defined through certain characteristics, talents, and habits. When we look at these unique attributes, we can understand the medicine or message being brought forth.
Many people have one or two animals as Totems which they carry with them throughout their lives. These animals bring messages and themes that help guide them spiritually and practically. We do not choose our spirit animal. They choose us and come into our lives in a variety of ways if we are open.
I have had several animal totems throughout my life. Most recently, I have developed a relationship with the spirit of the hawk. It appeared in my life several years ago as I began contemplating some major life changes. I would see it flying overhead as I drove down the road or perched on a mailbox nearby as I waited at a stop sign. It seemed to be following me and would come to my consciousness at opportune times as if to tell me where I needed to shift my focus.
According to Ted Andrews in his book, Animal Speak, the hawk will appear as a totem “at that point in your life where you begin to move toward your soul purpose more dynamically.” “It awakens our vision and inspires us to a creative life purpose.” These were themes I had been contemplating for years and it felt like the hawk appeared in my life to reinforce that the time to take action was nearing.
The hawk led me through a difficult divorce and reassured me whenever I began to question my motives. On the day our family house sold and I removed my final belongings, I stumbled over a hawk’s feather, standing upright in my path as if to say, “Congratulations, you made it.”
In addition to a life or situation themed totem, I also like to receive the messages offered with each animal encounter. Whenever a fox crosses my path or I come face to face with an owl, I look to the possible meaning and message that it may have for my life at the time. It always speaks to something current.
As the Covid-19 pandemic began to spread, along with the rumors of its origin in bats, I was naturally drawn to the bat spirit and the possible messages that were coming forth. I pulled out my reference books and this is what I discovered.
The bat is symbolic of rebirth and transition. According to Jamie Sams and David Carson in their book, Medicine Cards, the bat “symbolizes a new truth being awakened” and “promise amidst the sometimes chaotic energies of change.” The book also states that bat medicine suggests, “We will not only be able to fly as a result of the change, but we will be able to see the world from an entirely new perspective.” I believe, through this pandemic, we will be faced with shedding old habits that no longer serve us and emerging with a new, healthier and more loving approach to life on earth.
The healing energy of the bat also addresses facing our fears and the need to make peace within ourselves. Andrews points out that many cultures, including the Shamans, performed initiation rituals around bat energy which mentally and physically challenged a person to face their fears by spending a night alone, partially buried in the earth, until they were ready to re-emerge with a new perspective. Like the Shaman initiates, the pandemic is offering us a chance to come to terms with our fears (which like a virus can “spread, uninhibited, eventually permeating our system and creating a kind of madness within our lives”) and re-emerge with new insight and perspective.
Bat energy is powerful, and if we choose to embrace its message, it will help us understand and accept the magnitude of change occurring around us. It will assure us that facing our fears will lead to freedom and the opportunity for rebirth, and it will offer us a better tomorrow, one that focuses on humanity, care and respect for the earth, conservation, and love.