Greed, selfishness, ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, materialism, artifice, and industrialism have dominated our world culture for centuries. We’ve been out of balance. This is evident in the climate crisis, cancer rates, the massive number of people struggling with mood disorders and suicidality, the opioid crisis, and other tragedies. Humanity has repeatedly ignored the warnings. We choose to press onward and avoid the shadows, which only get bigger when we don’t give them any of our attention. Most people refuse to examine the inner working of their emotions, let alone seek therapy or other professional support. We operate from a place of scarcity and competition. Hatred and fear dominate over love and hope… but maybe that’s about to change.
This way of being is unsustainable. When you operate from scarcity things run out. It’s inevitable. COVID-19 is a blaring alarm bell, warning humanity to change before its too late. We like to think we’re in control, but this is proof that we’re not. When we’ve destroyed ourselves, the Earth will go on without us. Doesn’t it make more sense, therefore, to operate in harmony with one another and with nature?
There was a time when human beings were attuned and aligned to the rhythms of nature. We had to be in order to survive. Great wisdom comes from that attunement and we can draw from those old ways now as we figure out how to move forward.
Indigenous cultures across the globe have observed animal behavior for spiritual development. Animals function simply, without the noise and complications constructed by the human mind. They teach us how to be in harmony with nature and how to live in direct communion with spirit. Since each species is different, they offer different perspectives. The specific wisdom that is most beneficial depends on circumstances.
Which brings me back to current events. Research has found that COVID-19 is very similar to a bat coronavirus, suggesting that it has its origins in that species. When we tap into animal wisdom, we hear what is being communicated to us through this virus.
Bat is a creature that has significance in numerous cultures, including Native American, European, African and Chinese. Studying folklore as well as their behavior reveals the wisdom (or “medicine”) they offer
- Darkness/shadow work
- Communication (listening)
- Overcoming illusion
- Transformation/new ideas
Bats are widely misunderstood creatures. They are often feared, but they have a sweet, nurturing temperament. They avoid humans but most are very social with their own kind. Through echolocation, they are attuned to vibrational frequencies. They are swift and agile.
Bats teach us not to fear the darkness, to lean into fear in order to move past it. Their keen senses teach us to pay attention and to truly listen—to others as well as to our own intuition. They emphasize the importance of community and show us how to support one another. Bats teach us to be flexible and to embrace new ways of being. They indicate that it is time for powerful transformation and healing.
If you can get past the weird, robotic narration in this video, it offers some good information about bat medicine.
Though the coronavirus is a call to all of humanity, the work must begin on an individual level. The best way to heal the collective is to heal the self. So examine your life circumstances and draw from bat wisdom.
What are you afraid of? What lies in your shadow that you’ve been ignoring or afraid to confront? How are you clinging to old, unhealthy patterns or behaviors? What needs to change or transform in your life? Sit with these questions and listen to your intuition. Let it guide you. Furthermore, lean into the support of friends and family. Enjoy their company and build interpersonal connections. Practice active listening and healthy communication.
You can dive into bat energy in various ways. You could read the beloved book, Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (or watch this sweet video of it being read by Pamela Reed). You could learn Some Fun Facts about Bats or listen to The Black Bat Licorice by Jack White.
The following poem by Theodore Roethke seems to speak of fear and the notion that the most threatening thing to humankind is actually ourselves…
By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.
His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.
He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.
But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:
For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.
The point is to cue into the wisdom of bat medicine and to listen to what it’s telling you about your own life and about society as a whole. I hope we learn from our mistakes and embrace new ways that bring us closer to the earth and to each other.
With Love & Compassion,
Adina Arden Cooper
I'm a lover, a guide, a supportive companion. A storyteller, an artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals thrive and communities come together through counseling, coaching, and community building. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.