Bat joins fire ritual and brings message of rebirth

This evening we had a small fire ritual, in preparation and in thanks for my top surgery, scheduled for this upcoming Tuesday. We burned cedar, sage and sweetgrass, and I asked for strength and guidance to help me navigate gracefully on my journey of self-discovery. We also tossed in my old dreadlocks that were cut off last December. With each dreadlock thrown into the flames, I freed my ties to the past, allowing myself to move forward unattached. Lastly, we did a good old fashioned bra burning, firing up some sport bras that I will no longer need from here on out. Some good natured hoopla and hollering ensued.

As we were sitting around the fire, we noticed that our cat was mesmerized by a low flying bat that was circling the car port. I’ve never seen a bat behave like this before: it circled the car port repeatedly for about 15 minutes, and flew quite low, almost within paws’ reach at times. We decided to get in on the action: we positioned ourselves in the bat’s path and experienced some close encounters with the little fella, getting spooked in that hilarious kind of way.

A few hours later, I decided to look bat up in the Medicine Cards book:

Akin to the ancient Buddhist belief in reincarnation, in Central America, Bat is the symbol of rebirth… Bat embraces the idea of shamanistic death… Shaman death is the symbolic death of the initiate to the old ways of life and personal identity… The basic idea of ancient initiations was to break down all the former notions of “self”… [Bat] symbolizes the need for a ritualistic death of some way of life that no longer suits your new growth pattern… Bat signals rebirth of some part of yourself or the death of old patterns. If you resist your destiny, it can be a long, drawn out, and painful death. The universe is always asking you to grow and become your future. To do so you must die the shaman’s death.

It seems that bat flew into my day for a reason: to deliver a message of rebirth, and to validate my chosen path.

I relate to the concept of rebirth, but I’m less comfortable with the idea of my transition being a death. It depends on how you look at it, and I know that some of my family and friends might feel like they are losing the person they knew, like a death. However, the person I have been is still here. She’s a part of me that won’t/can’t be denied. When feelings about loss and death enter my transition conversations, I try to lead my friends more toward the idea that I am becoming more than I am now, and that I am allowing a part of me that’s always been here to grow and express himself freely. This quote from Body Alchemy comes to mind again:

…Transformation is the art of allowing our essential nature, as body-mind-spirit, to manifest completely and freely without conflict and fixation. It is the art of freeing the whole person, body and all. It is not the willful attempt to change who and what we are, but the art of becoming who we are. –Jeffrey Maitland


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