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Resh

Spirit Animal

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Posted (edited)

Hey forum members.

I have been studying spirituality for a couple of years now, I study mostly Western Occultism and Taoism, but lately Ive been feeling creative and had a meditation where I asked for a spirit animal. (turned out to be the Bat).

But this was just yesterday and I really dont know much about this tradition. Could anyone share any insight on spirit animals, totems please.

I only know what the Bat symbolises and it does fit in with the reality I have been experiencing for the last couple of years.

Any kind of Info is appreciated. Thanks.

bat-country-fly-animated.gif

Edited by Spiritus Spacium
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I think the value of totem animals is that they can give us some insights into ourselves, or at least cause some introspection that might lead to a better understanding of ourselves. For instance, bats as a species are probably found all over the world, so they are not location specific because of a food source, like Pandas & and a particular kind of bamboo, or Monarch butterflys that feed mostly on milkweed thistle. So I'd say they are adaptive, which is a good trait, not just with food sources, but also habitat. They are quiet, mostly go unnoticed, don't draw attention to themselves, and are night creatures, relying on sonar instead of vision for navigation and hunting, and their coloration allows them to be nearly invisible when they feed at night.

So maybe you want to think about whether you have some of those traits: stealth, adaptive, relying on inner knowing/intuition to navigate the world, whether what sustains you is limited, are you more solitary than social, and can you move easily between the clarity of what can be seen during the day and the cloaked possibilities of night? You can probably think of a lot more, but maybe thinking about yourself in these terms will bring some clarity or changes in how you define yourself. Best wishes.

PS I love bats, never been afraid of them, their physical form is so interesting and unique, and they are nicely soft & furry. And one of my favorite children's books is Stella Luna.

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Cool, thank you! Very insightful

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Posted (edited)

Here's something I found on Wikia about bats. It says they are a symbol of death & rebirth, because they leave their caves (womb of mother earth) at night, and return in the morning. Seems to me you could also think about bats & cycles of life: i.e. the moon, tides, 4 seasons, growth cycles of crops & other plants, the medicine wheel turning, etc. So maybe think about where you are at in a cycle. A time of rest, like bats sleeping during the day, a time of activity like bats at night, a time of nourishment, and what actions, if any, would be appropriate to your place in the cycle. Are you starting a new endeavor, or finishing one? Or are you in the middle? And what actions would be appropriate to the place in the cycle you're at? I associate bats with lunar cycles and the moon, so it might be helpful to think along those lines, as well, i.e. developing/using your intuition, accessing your inner knowing, trusting your instincts, strengthening your connections to the natural world, and recognizing how it's all interwoven. I probably went on far too long, I apologize if I did. I draw far more inspiration from our Mother Earth than any religious or spiritual traditions, she sustains and nurtures me.

http://symbolism.wikia.com/wiki/Bat

Edited by Beany

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Are you looking to learn about specific bat-related traits, or rather about various traditions involving spirit animals/totems/etc?

As far as "traditions" go, a lot of what you'll hear about spirit animals is a recent invention. That is to say, it's a combination and loose reinterpretation of surviving ideas -- something that can often be classified as "New Age." This is not to put it down in any way, but it's important to know what you read on the internet is most likely personal gnosis: someone's own exploration and opinion. Therefore, part of your experiences with spirit animals will also probably have to rely on personal gnosis and your own meditations.

I am not at all versed enough nor do I feel it at all appropriate to comment too much on "totem" animals. This is because there are often distorted, skewed ideas gleamed from various Native American tribes that are righteously thrown around as fact. I would caution you when researching the phrase totem because there is a lot of misunderstanding.

What I can tell you comes from more of a Germanic/Anglo-Saxon tradition, something that is appropriate for my ethnicity and that I've done extensive studies in. The idea of the spirit animal is often called (translated) a "fetch" -- though there are several variations on it. Unlike what you may commonly hear about spirit animals, a fetch is a separate being from yourself with its own free will, though it can be used to your advantage and can be given tasks. Think more along the lines of a "familiar." One can also use the fetch as a second set of eyes, per se. I would have to look at my reference material, but I don't believe you choose your fetch. Thus, your meditation seems to be an intelligent way of going about finding which animal has identified with you.

I hope that clears a little bit of stuff up. I'd be glad to contribute more later on if you have questions, but some of this is drawing from my own personal gnosis as well (though such is often the nature of spiritual matters).

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Your totem and what it means will be personal to you. True we have a collective experience with traits associated with specific animals, but its only a guideline. Ultimately the bat came to you for reasons buried in your psyche. It's up to you to discover why.

;)

Edited by White Crane Feather

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(Im not american) but i always thought it came from a native american heritage.

There is alot of syncronicity with everything thats happened so far.

Ive heard of familiars too, anything you guys want to add about them? I think its interesting too. but ive read so many different POVs

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Everybody should understand that traditional peoples are apart of all of our heritage. The native Americans are simply one of the last traditional cultures to succumb. They were highly enriched with a balance between humans and nature.,. Because they were the pioneers of humans. That dosnt mean they were perfect. Plonesians were equally enriched.

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Every form of spirituality comes from the same source.

But what do you mean about them being apart from all our heritage?

Everybody should understand that traditional peoples are apart of all of our heritage. The native Americans are simply one of the last traditional cultures to succumb. They were highly enriched with a balance between humans and nature.,. Because they were the pioneers of humans. That dosnt mean they were perfect. Plonesians were equally enriched.

or why do you say this? I dont understand

Edited by Spiritus Spacium

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Are you looking to learn about specific bat-related traits, or rather about various traditions involving spirit animals/totems/etc?

As far as "traditions" go, a lot of what you'll hear about spirit animals is a recent invention. That is to say, it's a combination and loose reinterpretation of surviving ideas -- something that can often be classified as "New Age." This is not to put it down in any way, but it's important to know what you read on the internet is most likely personal gnosis: someone's own exploration and opinion. Therefore, part of your experiences with spirit animals will also probably have to rely on personal gnosis and your own meditations.

I am not at all versed enough nor do I feel it at all appropriate to comment too much on "totem" animals. This is because there are often distorted, skewed ideas gleamed from various Native American tribes that are righteously thrown around as fact. I would caution you when researching the phrase totem because there is a lot of misunderstanding.

What I can tell you comes from more of a Germanic/Anglo-Saxon tradition, something that is appropriate for my ethnicity and that I've done extensive studies in. The idea of the spirit animal is often called (translated) a "fetch" -- though there are several variations on it. Unlike what you may commonly hear about spirit animals, a fetch is a separate being from yourself with its own free will, though it can be used to your advantage and can be given tasks. Think more along the lines of a "familiar." One can also use the fetch as a second set of eyes, per se. I would have to look at my reference material, but I don't believe you choose your fetch. Thus, your meditation seems to be an intelligent way of going about finding which animal has identified with you.

I hope that clears a little bit of stuff up. I'd be glad to contribute more later on if you have questions, but some of this is drawing from my own personal gnosis as well (though such is often the nature of spiritual matters).

Thanks man. This is what I asked for

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Totem animals aren't limited to Native Americans. Look at the animals on European coats of arms: stags, lions, boars, the Egyptians had a whole pantheon of them, The Tang dynasty horses, the Chinese zodiac. In animals we can find qualities both good and bad that we as humans share with them, and like most things in nature, they all have something to teach us.

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Humans anthropomorphise animals. I've never yet encountered an animal who had a spirit human.

All of this springs from two things. Human's ability to perceive and relate to animals as others than ourselves yet constructed around what we know of ourselves; and our abilty to imagine, extrapolate, and construct concepts. The latter is an integral part of how we think, and connects to seeing/making patterns, and our need to create reasons or agents for everything we see and perceive.

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I agree totally.

Several years ago when I was superficially researching Wicca, I too got caught up a bit in this whole "animal spirit guide/totems" thing.

Whatever we inundate ourselves with is reflected in our dreams, it is a basic aspect of the human psyche so I would not waste time getting wrapped up in this issue.

There are so many books out there and each says something different as if seeing a bat or some other animal could only have one meaning.

It is true that your perception, reaction and relation to a particular animal is a very personal one but it doesn't need to have a mystical meaning either.

I'm scared of spiders so because of that if I have a dream with spiders then there is always a feeling of apprehension.

Some of our perception is cultural and some is picked up on from others but it is not spiritual at all.

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Research is always good, but ultimately one must reach one's own conclusions. Whether an animal is mystical depends on the individual, I suppose. I can't legitimately insist that what is true for me must be true for others. We can learn things by observing nature, though, and perhaps find ourselves a little more aware of this great circle of life of which we are a small part of. What we learn from our observations, though, will vary from person to person. For me the value in totem animals, lies not in their mysticism, but that they can often provide us with a new perspective, a way of looking at ourselves, our lives, society, etc. in ways that might not otherwise occur to us and might be of value. The most popular totem animals? Dogs & cats. Anyone who's had the privilege of having these animals in their lives knows that they have something to teach us.

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Every form of spirituality comes from the same source.

But what do you mean about them being apart from all our heritage?

or why do you say this? I dont understand

Everyone has ancestors that were traditional shamanic people's. everyone.

The NA and polynesians probably the Australian aborigines as well were the farthest flung people from our origins in Africa as such they were the pioneers of humanity. It makes sense that they are the last ones to succumb to "progress".

To make it as far as they did, they had to understand the rhythms of nature and ancestrally are closer to true hunter gatherer life style where as the rest of the world has relied on agriculture for quite a few generations.

Edited by White Crane Feather

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One of my first spirit animals I received was a bat too. During the meditation that I received it I was given my own personal meaning for that particular time. I had two spirits trying to penetrate me with ill intentions I could feel both of them on me at the time, they were both promising comfort but were really trying to get something from me and only had their interests at heart. In the meditation I suddenly was in a cave filled with bats, I was cold and alone. It really was as if i was the cave and the bats represented an airyness inside of me, like they swooped through sort of cleaning it out and pushing out the other sources. It was as if the bats seperated me from these other sources that wanted to connect with me. After being seperated from them I was clearer about their intentions and felt to have more power and be uneffected by what would have harmed or angered me. Bats have come to me at other times as well and seem to be connected to rats and cats. For me bats seem to represent being alone, or having power on my own. I read some other stuff about them but thats the impression I got from them so far.

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Excuse me while I copy and paste a post I just made in another thread:

A couple of years ago, I was in the midst of a massive bout of insomnia and depression. One night at about 1am, I was sitting around seriously contemplating suicide, so I decided I had to call the support line. When I went to pick up my phone I saw a shape moving around the backyard, and I noticed it was a soccer ball. I then noticed a Staffordshire Terrier had casually invited himself into my backyard, and had been playing with his ball right in front of my window. I think Staffies are absolutely adorable dogs, so I went outside to play with it. And I did until dawn, giving him a bowl of water, patting him, throwing the ball around. My suicide ideation evaporated the moment I started playing with that dog. It could easily be used as an example of a Spirit Animal protecting me from myself. Or maybe it was just a wild coincidence.

So according to a quick glance at the wiki page, the traits I share with my spirit animal are Intelligence, Loyalty, Fearlessness, affection for friends, quietness and stability. Well some of those apply to me, some don't. I agree with Beany that it's an interesting thing to think about, but it seems akin to reading a horoscope - the relevant parts are remembered and the irrelevant parts are forgotten.

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Excuse me while I copy and paste a post I just made in another thread:

So according to a quick glance at the wiki page, the traits I share with my spirit animal are Intelligence, Loyalty, Fearlessness, affection for friends, quietness and stability. Well some of those apply to me, some don't. I agree with Beany that it's an interesting thing to think about, but it seems akin to reading a horoscope - the relevant parts are remembered and the irrelevant parts are forgotten.

Well, you know what they say: Take what you want & leave the rest.

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Every form of spirituality comes from the same source.

But what do you mean about them being apart from all our heritage?

or why do you say this? I dont understand

I suspect "apart" should have been "a part", as it makes better contextual sense. I don't think the cultures succumbed, as much as went underground, and some of them are recovering their spiritual traditions & ceremonies. There are even a couple of organizations of aboriginal people who travel around the world helping some of these cultures recover their traditions through ceremony and ritual. They do wonderful work, wish I could remember the name of the organization I briefly worked with.

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So, my perspective is obviously way outside looking in. just, setting that up

To me it seems like Spirit Animal is just taking your favorite animal, and projecting your personality traits onto it.

How is it different than that in ya'lls eyes?

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It's pretty much that, SkepticalB. :P I know a Staffy couldn't really be my spirit animal because they are solid chunks of muscle and I don't think I've ever had anything on me that could be described as muscle, let alone a chunk of muscle.

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So, my perspective is obviously way outside looking in. just, setting that up

To me it seems like Spirit Animal is just taking your favorite animal, and projecting your personality traits onto it.

How is it different than that in ya'lls eyes?

I guess sometimes it might be like that but not always. For me my main spirit animals are the ones I've shape shifted into while dreaming. And they haven't really been my favorites until after that. I'm not sure I would even call them favorites, just that I feel I know them more.

For example I once dreamt I was a crocodile swimming in a river. I didn't try to be the crocodile because I liked it, I just found myself as it and I went lucid afterwards. I wont bother typing the experience but I had never given much thought to the crocodile. After that though I felt I knew more about the crocodile than I had before.

I'm not sure what my favourite animal is either. I would probably say a simple house cat. I have never really been a dog person, I've always like cats over dogs but I spent many years running around as a wolf and it wasn't until maybe 10-15 years afterwards that I shifted into a lion. I shifted into a tiger this year but I still shift into the dog/wolf/jackal/canine. So you would think me being a cat person, I would've shifted into a feline well before shifting into canine. So I don't think its always about picking your favorite animals. Sometimes they become a 'favorite' because they came to you and you feel closer to them afterwards.

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I once dreamt of a bat too. I joined a gaming clan when I was younger(2004ish) and I felt they didn't treat me very well. They spread gossip/rumours about me basically but at the time I was trying to make friends so I accepted it. After quite awhile I didn't know what to do because I wanted to be a part of a group but at the same time I didn't want to be treated badly.

So I went to bed with the question on my mind of should I leave the group. I basically wanted some guidance and I asked for it to come into my dream. That night I dreamt of a bat which was clinging to me. It was a simple dream and just me with a small bat clinging on me(I very rarely dream of bats, I think I've had two that I can remember my whole life). So I read afterwards about bats and what people think they mean and I took it as a symbol to leave. So I left and I never joined another group after that.

And I felt so much better when I left, I felt powerful. So I was glad I met that little bat.

Edited by Kazahel
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I once dreamt of a bat too. I joined a gaming clan when I was younger(2004ish) and I felt they didn't treat me very well. They spread gossip/rumours about me basically but at the time I was trying to make friends so I accepted it. After quite awhile I didn't know what to do because I wanted to be a part of a group but at the same time I didn't want to be treated badly.

So I went to bed with the question on my mind of should I leave the group. I basically wanted some guidance and I asked for it to come into my dream. That night I dreamt of a bat which was clinging to me. It was a simple dream and just me with a small bat clinging on me(I very rarely dream of bats, I think I've had two that I can remember my whole life). So I read afterwards about bats and what people think they mean and I took it as a symbol to leave. So I left and I never joined another group after that.

And I felt so much better when I left, I felt powerful. So I was glad I met that little bat.

I love how simple messages like that are what we need. Cool little bat.

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