Bats are powerful and tenacious little creatures. For many cultures, they represent death and rebirth, probably because they disappear into a cave every day and reappear every night. If the bat has crossed your path at important life events, or if the bat is your spirit animal, get ready for a rough f#cking ride. Years ago at Esalen
, I cheerfully told a shaman a bat visited me while I was signing my wedding license. I figured because a bat can "see" in the dark using echolocation, I possessed excellent instincts and would be able to navigate any difficult situation. WRONG. The bat instills fear in people for a good reason, and it's not about their teeth. They carry messages of fear, suffering, trial, initiation, and challenge. "You'll experience a spiritual death and rebirth", she said. I'd already been through a whole lot of stuff, I said to her, so I bet that part was over. WRONG! The next few years were a purification by fire, let me tell you. Health crisis, spectacularly dramatic divorce, and loss, loss, loss followed. Bats kept visiting me at insane times. They still do. I don't know if my trials are over, but I'm a different person now than I was, with fortitude and resilience I earned through repeated smackdowns. It doesn't really end, I don't think, but the bat has become my warrior symbol, so I made a jewel-encrusted one for myself. Here she is.