The mercurial and the caring

In reality the bat is shy and gentle, fastidiously groomed and a tidy housekeeper (Ackerman, 4ff). Particularly in Asia, the bat represents the maternal aspect of the great goddess. The attunement of a mother bat and her baby is such that they can instantly recognize each other’s high-pitched squeak in a nursery cave of millions and be reunited. […]

Alchemy sometimes depicted the mercurial spirit of the unconscious with bat wings. It is a way of conveying not only psyche’s darkness, mystery and ambivalence, but also its provision and unforeseen agency, the way it can lead consciousness into spheres requiring a different kind of orientation and in which can be found the fructifying unconventionality of nature.

“The Bat”, in: The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images, ed. A. Ronnberg, K. Martin

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