Native American Totems

Discovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things.

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I was recently reminded of my bat totem when I visited the local zoo. I was drawn to the bat exhibit almost like a bee to the hive. I know many of you probably think that bats are just down right creepy, but actually they are a very important part of our eco-system. But, that isn’t why you are here reading this post. You are searching for the meaning of the bat totem. So, let’s talk about that.

Brother Bat is the symbol of rebirth. The Mayans, Aztecs, and Toltecs had a special secret ritual for the initiate Shaman, who would be put through a symbolic death. The old ways of life and personal identity would be buried away so that the new Shaman could be reborn into his new life. Any former ego was dead to the world.

The symbolism of a bat hanging upside down gives the message of one learning to transpose our former self into a newborn being. It is much like an unborn child that assumes the position of being upside down as it enters the world from its mother’s womb.

Bats in the Belfry Greeting Card
Bats in the Belfry Greeting Card by strangeling at Zazzle

Even as a child I have had this interest and respect for Brother Bat. Some might have thought that I had “bats in my belfry” or was just a little crazy in the head. It didn’t really bother me because there was this inner knowing that I had a connection with the bat. I didn’t understand then that Brother Bat is one of my personal power totems. When I first discovered which totems walk with me on this journey, seeing Brother Bat there did not surprise me at all.

When Bat Totem works with us there is a symbolic need for a ritualistic death of some kind. I know that when Bat surfaces from the dark in my life that it is time for me to look at what is in my life that no longer suits a new growth pattern that I am entering. It might mean that I need to let go of some old habit that is hindering that growth. Bat comes almost like a beacon signalling a time for rebirth. We need to let the old ways of doing things or thinking die away so that the new can be born into us.

If we resist this part of our destined journey, we find that the way is long and drawn out. It can make the necessary death of old ways and thoughts much more painful. When bat totem shows itself we must have the courage to “die the Shaman’s” ceremonial death and move forward into a new way of thinking or start new life patterns. The old ego must be buried away symbolically to allow the “new” us to surface.

That may sound a little creepy and certainly a little scary but Brother Bat reminds us that this renewal of ourselves is important and has to happen for us to grow into our destined path.

~Mitakuye Oyasin~ We are all related