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In the season of Imbolc, change can be scary. Especially since it's Women in Horror Month!

As we move past the Sabbat of Imbolc, we feel its energy of new beginnings. As we have learned from the recent events on the American political and social landscape, change can be both a wondrous and a terrifying thing. In either case, it galvanizes our sense of purpose and moves us down the path of our chosen desires. Whether we are promoting a change or resisting it, the energy of Imbolc calls us to action.

The bat is a wonderful totem for initiation and transformation. When these little Goth mascots come flitting out of their night time sanctuaries, they symbolize rebirth. Again, they symbolize both the beautiful and the frightening within the archetype of transformation. They tend to be stigmatized due to their habitat and their nocturnal ways. Since we associate them with creepy haunted houses and dreary caves, we see them as symbols of death. In reality, bats are important pollinators. Their control of insects like mosquitoes also protects us from disease. I will go into the bat in more detail in an upcoming issue (probably issue 92) of SageWoman. For now, let's suffice it to say that the bat is a really good representation of the scary side of change.

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Pagan News Beagle: Earthy Thursday, February 2 2017

Researchers take a look at bat communication. Zoologists map the lives of animals. And environmentalists grow concerned that the new U.S. administration will leave global warming unchecked. It's Earthy Thursday, our segment about science and Earth-related news. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

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Indian Flying Fox: Fearless Exploring

One of the largest of Bats, Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) has a wingspan of more than a child's height. During her flight, She extends her legs outward to expand the span of her wings. A strong swimmer, Indian Flying Fox crosses rivers using her wings as flippers.

Less feared than other types of Bats, Indian Flying Fox eats only fruit. Her favorite is very soft bananas which She swallows whole.  However, with mangoes, She extracts the juice and spits out the seeds. Indian Flying Fox is an important pollinator in the tropics, and a major dispenser of seeds. In certain parts of India, She is regarded as sacred.

Unfortunately for Her, her desire for fruit has led Indian Flying Fox in conflict with people. Because She causes extensive damage to fruit orchards, many farmers consider Indian Flying Fox to be a pest. Governments in South Asia have instituted kill programs to stop Her, since they consider Indian Flying Fox to be “vermin.”

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Big Brown Bat: Unintended Consequences

Originally a forest dweller, Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) now roosts in attics. Moreover, He makes his home in the eaves of people’s houses. Seen around city traffic lights, Big Brown Bat hunts for Insects along the tree-lined streets. He has maternity roosts in bridges, and eats the bugs attracted there by the headlights of cars.

Found in the Americas, Big Brown Bat tolerates the cold by hibernating during the winter. He can be found sleeping in tunnels and abandoned mine shafts. Unlike other Bats, Big Brown Bat lives for as long as 18 years. Biologists believe that his hibernation is the major reason for his long life. Also, his relatively large size allows Him to remain active in cooler weather.

Beneficial to people, Big Brown Bat eats as many as 1,200 Insects in one hour. Flying in a stately, unwavering manner, He is an agile hunter, trapping Moths by throwing his wings around Them like a net. Although, He is still abundant, his numbers are decreasing yearly.

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Fruit Bats (Flying Foxes): Know What is Important

Flying Foxes (Pteropdidae) have large eyes, oval ears, and excellent memories. These large Bats differ greatly from their smaller insect-eating Cousins. Instead of using echolocation, Flying Foxes use their excellent sight and hearing to find fruit. They roost outside in the sun instead of in caves.

Once a suitable roosting area is found, Flying Foxes mass in the tens of thousands. These semi-permanent spots or camps may hold as many as one million Bats. At night, they leave their camps to search for flowers and tasty fruit.

What people notice the most about Flying Foxes is their screeching. Their mixture of screeches and cackles is their bat language. Flying Foxes “squabble” to establish roosting sites, ward off rivals, talk to their Pups, and warn others. (They, also, watch the body language of each other as well.)

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bat Family: Facing The Shadows

This month I will be featuring various members of the Bat Family.

The Bat Family (The Order Chiroptera) accounts for one fifth of the mammal species on earth. The only Mammals on earth to fly, Bat Family is divided into two groups – Megachiroptera, the large Fruit Bats of the Old World, and Microchiroptera, the smaller Bats that people know worldwide.

 Known as “Flying Foxes”, Megachiroptera have foxlike faces with large eyes. Flying with steady wing beats, Flying Foxes rely on their sense of smell and sight to navigate. With wide spans the size of a small adult, These Bats, also, use their wings as flippers for swimming. Flying Foxes feed on fruit, pollen, and nectar. 
Vital to the forests they live in, They promote the growth of new plants.

Microchiroptera hunt at night, using echolocation to locate Insects. In addition, these Bats eat fruit and pollen. They roost in caves, under bridges, any place where the temperature of the air remains stable.

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Urban Witching: Full Moon (with Frogs)

About half an hour before moonrise, we meet up at the coven bench in the park, big enough to hold a whole coven. Well, almost.

We catch up, laugh, dish a little. It's August, almost September, so zucchini bread, curds and apples circulate along with the wine.

When bats begin to wheel, it's time to make our magic: down the hill and around the lake, still high with summer rain, we go. We stride purposively, silent with intent. Cowans clear the way without realizing it. Frog after frog hops along our path as we walk: tens of them, scores of them. Clearly the frogs have magic of their own to make tonight.

We circle, right shoulders to night water. We meet up again where we started, where the three paths join. By Bat, by Moon, by Frog: So mote it be.

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