Greek, Bats, and Cosmology

Remember how much I love bats? Well, the scientific name for their order comes from cheir + pteron. Or in Greek χείρ + πτερόν. It means “hand wing.” (Well, technically it means “feathers” or “wings” according to my lovely Greek-English Lexicon and can refer to bird wings, bats, any creature with wings, a feathered arrow, and anything that refers to lifting, e.g. lifted by the wings of victory)

I’m not sure what my point is, other than I like Greek and I like bats. And I think it’s cool that they’re named after their hand-wings because that is what makes bats so unique, whether they’re macrocbats or mircobats .

Writing that reminds me that there’s macrocosmic and microcosmic myths. The first are personal, while the second are universal.

Consider the Cosmic Tree. In Norse mythology, the myth of Yggdrasil is macrocosmic because it addresses the wider cosmological make-up of the world. It is about the cosmos on a larger scale and informs how the world is composed.

In contrast, the axis mundi idea on a microcosmic scale is how one is defined inside. It’s taking the broader cosmology and applying it to the personalized individual.

Now think about macrobats and microbats like that mythologically. The (usually) larger, diurnal, frugivore bats create the broader cosmology, and the (usually) smaller, nocturnal, insectivore bats shelter human spirituality. Think of them as eating the insects of negativity. Everyone has one, kind of like a Greek daimon (τό δαιμόνιον)

Wow. I think I just came up with a really awesome mythology for some (human) culture.


for later reference

ἡ χείρ pg. 884

τό πτερόν pg. 707

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