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Lammas 2002, Vol 1-4
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hi -- i was reading the matrifocus ezine and came across your article on bats [The Bats are Coming! The Bats are Coming!]...which i LOVE! i've always known bats were our friends and not blood suckin fiends from hel! talk about needing a new PR rep!

anywhoooooo.... i am a student of shamanism as well as being on a druidic path....during a coupla my hearth's meditations as well as during my solitary meditations i sometimes get images of bats. i've also seen bats during our rituals, usually flying around our cauldron or around our circle (funnily enuff i am the ONLY one to have seen them...not surprised are you???) soooo what i'm asking you know of any mythos from any pantheon or geographical area that features the BAT? are there any gods or goddesses that are associated with our dear friend the bat?

thank you for ANY assistance -- ebby

Greetings Ebby -- Glad to hear from you. The first thing I think of when looking for animal/deity associations is the "Deities and Their Familiars" appendix in D.J. Conway's book, Animal Magick: The Art of Recognizing and Working with Familiars.

In Conway's appendix, we find Greek Persephone (goddess) and Chinese Shou-Hsing (god) associated with bats, and in the "bat" entry In her book, we learn that bats are considered to be lucky and beneficent in some cultures, unlucky and harmful in others. For example, the Chinese name for bat means happiness, and a drawing of five bats "...signifies the five blessings of health, wealth, long life, happiness, and peace." In Japan, however, the bat symbolizes unhappiness, unrest and chaos.

For cultures and pantheons, Conway points to Central and South America: "The bat was treasured medicine power to the Aztec, Toltec, Tolucan, and Mayan people." Ted Andrews' Animal Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small, refers to Meso-American culture and talks about the initiation rituals involving bats in a labyrinth overseen by Camazotz, the god of bats. Andrews also says that bats represented the souls of the dead in Babylonia

Andrews indicates that bats are about transition and initiation. Jamie Sams and David Carson (Medicine Cards) tell us that the bat is "steeped in the mystery of meso-American tribal ritual" and symbolizes rebirth and the "shamanic death" of those initiating into the mysteries of the old ways.

When I think bats, deities and pantheons, I think of Persephone. Just as bats fly daily to and from their cave-homes, so does Persephone make the annual journey from her underworld cave to the fertile fields of earth. For the ancient Greeks, bats were the sacred animal of Persephone and her symbol, along with the poppy, pomegranate and daffodil. The association of Persephone and caves is so strong in western culture that many cave-dwelling creatures are named for her, like the endangered Tooth Cave ground beetle, Rhadine persephone.

Bat Blessings -- Sage for MatriFocus

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