Through a Jungian Lens

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Fruit Bats in Siem Reap

with 4 comments

Yes, these are bats hanging in a tree, large fruit bats.  The photo was taken in a park called Royal Independence Gardens, across the street from the Royal Residence in the middle of Siem Reap.  I really don’t know much about bats in general and fruit bats in particular.  I do know that I don’t have a fear of bats nor believe in vampires.  What I do know is the fact of their being predominantly active in early evening and during the night, and that they are flying animals.

As I did a bit of basic research for this post, I wasn’t surprised to find that the bat has a dark as well as a light symbolic meaning.  Since it is a creature of the night, for me, there is a sense of the bat being a go between between consciousness and the unconscious, a dream-world totem.  At one cyberspace site, the bat is described:

She is the Guardian of the Night and represents longevity, double nature, peace and wisdom. Bat is the totem of the shaman, teaching people to go into the night of inner darkness and emerge reborn while reminding them that eyes are only one way of seeing clearly.”  (http://www.suite101.com/content/bat-a-powerful-pagan-symbol-a50822)

Wiki has a similar message to tell about the bat:

Bats symbolize death and rebirth. Sometimes, they are known as the “Guardian of the Night.” It is largely misunderstood and so therefore many of its symbolic meanings are inappropriately fear-based. The bat is a symbol of rebirth and death because it is a creature that lives in the belly of the Mother (Earth). From the womb-like caves it emerges every evening at dusk. And so – from the womb it is reborn every evening.” (http://symbolism.wikia.com/wiki/Bat)

Transformation, rebirth, wisdom – these are ideas that seem to fit.  I spent quite a bit of time under the trees watching and capturing images of these bats.  There were literally thousands of these bats.  I have to admit that I was entranced, wandering, listening, watching and recording.  Then, I was returned to earth, to my body because of the bats.  As I wandered under the trees, I was showered with bat urine.  Returned to daytime reality in Siem Reap, I was reminded that I must be present in both worlds, the world of day and the world of night.

 

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

March 4, 2011 at 9:33 am

4 Responses

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  1. Great picture and great post on bats as emissaries of the world of night and twilight. As inhabitants of this strange world, they do remind us of what it is for us to journey into the realm of the unconscious. With their uncanny navigation by sound, they remind us that our orientation and making our way in the shadowy realms will require that we orient ourselves in ways that feel unfamiliar to consciousness.

    Thanks for this post!

    Brian Collinson

    March 4, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    • Thanks Brian for you taking the time to read and comment here. I look forward to your posts and sharing ideas.

      rgl

      March 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

  2. Thanks for sharing the symbolic meaning of bats. I have had little personal experience with them except for the ones I encountered when crouch-walking through one of the Cu Chi tunnels this past Dec. I suspect that having no fear of bats is related to the extent of one’s explorations into the depths of the psychological underworld: i.e., as we come to terms with our inner denizens, we lose our fear of the outer ones. “As above; so below.”

    With admiration for your wonderful work,
    Jeanie

    Jean Raffa

    March 5, 2011 at 12:44 am

    • Thanks Jeanie. I am enjoying your blog posts as well. To here echoes of the soul and the psyche in others is affirming as I do my own wandering. The view from here and the view from there.

      In appreciation, Robert

      rgl

      March 13, 2011 at 9:05 am


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