Here at the New Moon, and with so many going through ordeals of varying degree, I've had the bat on my mind, and in the cards. Bat is the symbol of initiation and rebirth.
On bat, Ted Andrews notes in his classic Animal Speak, "Its medicine is strong and can even be traumatic. It is a nocturnal animal, and the night was often considered the home of fears."
This lunation in Cancer seems to me a time to face personal nightmares, and waking hour anxieties with roots in past trauma. Andrews sees the bat as a powerful ally for facing fears, so they don't run amok, taking on a life of their own. He writes, "Fears that are allowed to spread, uninhibited will eventually permeate our system and can create a kind of madness within our lives."
I'll never forget creaking open the door of a great-great-grandmother's cobwebby cabin and seeing a bat sleeping there. It merely opened one eye, and then went back to sleep. The upside-down sleeping bat relates to The Hanged Man card in the Tarot. The Hanged Man seems to say hang in there, in situations that are harrowing and beyond your control. That something is playing itself out, and has its own timing. And to let go, and prepare for rebirth.
In an ordeal, fear can reach paralyzing heights. I like Andrews' reminder to tune in to your own instincts, and trust that any death, leads to rebirth. To let go is to "follow the flow within." New Moons are so often about surrender, but this one feels especially so. Andrews' writes, "Remember that each time you trust your own inner promptings, you chase the fears within the dark corners of your mind away."
It's a curious thing, too, how fears are passed on through the family line. Cancer is the sign of emotional wellsprings and wombs, and the primordial ocean, out of which we emerge. The New Moon is intense in effect until the crescent Moon comes into view. Now is the time to be gentle and forgiving with all any night terrors, and receive them as a message from the soul. Fears, like bat guano (fertilizer), writes Andrews, have value to us "now matter how messy it may seem to be. It holds the promise of empowerment."
Finally, I didn't realize that bat is the only flying mammal. This comes from the Latin plural of breasts mammalis and the singular is mamma. Cancer is the sign of nurturing the young and breasts. We could see the bat as the dark face of the feminine -- the one that encourages us to die to who we've been, and transform. Its ability to fly, is a message, writes Andrews, of rise above even the most dire situations. "It becomes a symbol of promise amidst the sometimes chaotic energies of change. It reflect the ability to move with new heights with the transitions. Yes, our own flights may seem fluttery and jerky, but we will be able to fly."Pal Hermenson/Getty Images