The bat as the key to wealth in Slavic tradition

Due to the ability of the bat to cling to surfaces as to “stick” to something, Slavs believed that it had the ability to “attract” various things: wealth, visitors, prey, lover, etc. The Bulgarians called the bat “cleave” (‘прилеп’) and believed that prosperity would cleave to the person who carried it with him. People also would place its head or full body into the barn or inside the money chest to attract more wealth.

Polish nailed a bat to the tavern wall to attract visitors. Russian bear hunters took it with them to hunt, believing that in this case the bear would certainly come out to them.

As a bewitching agent, the bat was used in love magic. Belarusians, Ukrainians and Poles extracted two bones from the skeleton of a bat eaten by ants. One of them was to attract a lover, and the other was used to magically push away one person from another. Bulgarian girls and boys wishing to get married, carried a bat with them so that the one with whom they were in love would “stick” to them.

More interesting facts can be found in: “Slavic Antiquities” – encyclopedic dictionary in 5 volumes by Institute for Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Bat in the Slavic tradition

The bat among the ancient Slavs was closely associated with evil spirits. Lusatian Sorbs believed it was a vampire, and the Poles – a flying evil spirit or the soul of a sleeping witch. Poles also believed that witches could take tree leaves under their armpits and turn them into bats. The Belarusians thought that a walking dead sorcerer appeared in the form of a bat. In Russia, the bat was often called Kikimora, and it was a bad omen if it flew inside a house.

However, due to blindness, the bat sometimes served as a talisman against the evil eye. For this, Bulgarians and Macedonians sewed the wing, head or skin of an animal into their clothes. The Poles hung bat up in the stable to guard their horses from the evil eye or nailed it to the door as protection from witches. The same way, Lusatian Sorbs protected themselves from illness and misfortune.

But before making a talisman out of a bat, how, I wonder, was it caught? 😉

To be continued…