I decided to put this together for those, like me, who are drawn to bats but are a bit frustrated that not much information exists as far as their magickal or spiritual symbolism.
History of bats in magick or spiritualism
Bats are the only mammal that truly flies. There are other mammals that can glide, but bats actually can sustain flight. This alone renders them symbolic of existing in two worlds, or being able to cross barriers or divides.
In Chinese culture, bats were seen as symbols of longevity and blessings. In Asian cultures in general, the bat is revered as the maternal aspect of the goddess, or divine feminine.
In most Western cultures, they were associated with the underground, the underworld, and the nocturnal, which often characterized them as bad, evil, or dark omens.
They also have associations with the shadow self of the human psyche, as they reside and emerge from the dark caverns of the world, much like the dark and hidden recesses of the mind.
They are associated with both the new moon and full moon, and, therefore, were long ago associated with witchcraft and spirits.
In cultures where fruit bats, such as the flying fox, are prevalent, they are associated with fertility, due to their role in pollination of fruit trees and night-blooming vegetation.
The lore surrounding the tiny vampire bats of Central and South America has certainly also fed the fear factor of bats, even leading to the connection with the human vampire stories, despite no real records of vampire bats biting or feeding on humans.
Moreover, bats also consume insect pests like mosquitos, providing a critical element of ecological control in their food chain.
Symbolically, bats are the unconventional, the misunderstood, the mysterious, and the non-conformists. I think that is why I see the bat as an ally animal, as it resonates so deeply for me in many phases and transitional periods of my life.
Associations and Correspondences of the Bat
Planets: the Moon
Deities: the only strongly defined bat deity is Camazotz, the bat deity of the Mayans. He was associated with night and death. The only other deity I have been able to find information on said to be associated with bats is Hekate. There may be others, but not that I have been able to identify and confirm with a reliable source.
- intuition and enhanced perception
- in between, liminal
- inner journeys
- spirit guides