Symbolic Meaning of Rats
Oh rats! So misunderstood. So misjudged!
Now, for those of you who've been following my work for awhile - you know I'm always seeking the bright side in symbolic meanings. I steer clear of negative connotations. I explain why I keep it positive on my blog here.
It's no secret rats have a bad rap. The symbolic meaning of rats delve into some pretty harsh ideals. It's true, some types of rats can cause some damage. But rats aren't the exclusive culprit all the time. Take the plague. Folks commonly think rats were solely responsible for it. Not true. Fleas also played a part. So did crummy hygiene practices of the Middle Ages. Baths weren't a regular thing back then, and uncleanness of the human race played its part in both the Black Plague and Bubonic Plague.
This is just one fact and rationalization we can all be guilty of overlooking. It's a common belief that all rats are dirty, and carry disease. But saying 'all rats are dirty' is like saying 'all birds are brown'. It's simply not true. Country rats tend to be remarkably clean. Pet rats are practically squeaky clean!
Huh? Pet rats? Yeah. I had one! Once upon a very long time ago, I worked for a pet store. As a result, I was the owner of all kinds of critters. Once such critter was Templeton, my pet rat. Yep - he's named after the rat in the book Charlotte's Web. This is where highlighting positive symbolic meaning of rats gets easy.
The pet rats sold in the pet store, and my pet rat Templeton are a great PSA on behalf of rats. Did you know rats are very social? Quite loving, actually. They're incredibly helpful too. Countless observations have been made (by pet rat owners and workers of lab rat facilities) that rats commonly open cages for other rats. They also share their food with other rats. Food-sharing isn't just in tamed or lab rat circles...it happens with wild rats and city rats too.
That's a big deal folks, and big symbolism. Encounter a rat in your life? It's a good reminder of the virtue of giving and sharing. It's also a sign to consider helping out when you see a need. Know someone who is trapped in a situation? Give a hand, lend a shoulder to cry on, offer a kind gesture. Who knew symbolic meaning of rats would ever, EVER deal with kindness!?! Crazy, right? That's not where crazy ends...check out this list of keywords associated with symbolism of rats:
Pretty impressive list for a creature commonly held in disfavor, eh? After enjoying companionship with Templeton, all these character-qualities were very evident to me. For example, Templeton took to training like ducks take to water. This showed off his smarts. He seemed eager to learn new tricks (or maybe it was the rewarding treats he was eager about, lol). This deals with intelligence and shrewdness. Rats of all kinds have an innate intelligence. They know how to figure things out.
This is often born from a driving force to move into better position in life. If a rat senses an opportunity, it often expresses impressive intelligence in getting what it wants. That's symbolic for us humans. Rats ask us to think up paths to our solutions. Got a problem? Rather than act, sit a bit and chew on the problem. Contemplate it with rat-like motivation to gain opportunity.
Need a way out of a mess? Rats are the perfect energy to help guide you out. These critters are like Houdini's of the animal world. They are masters at finding a way in. They're equally masterful at finding a way out. Rat energy can help with both. Ask the rat to help you cipher the best way into an opportunity. Conversely, ask the rat to guide you out of a sticky, complicated maze of a problem.
Rats also carry a message of resources, expanse and excess. This is often a bittersweet message. How so? Well, rats are notorious hoarders. Therefore, when rats come into our consciousness, it might be a sign to take stock. Look around. Are you hoarding? I'm not just talking about piles of magazines and canned goods that expired in 1982. I'm talking about taking a look around the mind and heart too. Rat asks us to look at all forms of hoarding. Hanging onto old thoughts or beliefs that are way outdated, and totally not of any good use? Whether physical, mental or emotional - rats might be a sign to ditch the old stuff that isn't serving us.
On the flip side, there's an element of hoarding that might not call for pitch and ditch. I'm talking about preparation and resourcefulness. Rats hoard because they always want to be prepared. Likewise, the symbolic meaning of rats deals with gathering resources to be ready for whatever comes. Got a big meeting or interview? Rats can help us accumulate every fact and figure we could possibly need to be the best prepared for these events. That also means mentally gathering ourselves. Round up all the wonderful aspects of you. Recall all the awesome successes you've had in the past too. This is rat-action at its best. Gather what's good, all statistics, and information. This insures our preparation when we're up against a challenge.
Well folks, how'd I do at winning your hearts for the rat? I hope I at least assuaged that sense of discomfort or distaste many of us have towards rats. Some of us might never make peace with rats, and that's okay. But others, like me, love the symbolic meaning of rats. Maybe it's because their deeper meanings are such a surprise.
In my case, my pet rat Templeton was a great teacher. He shared a great deal of lessons so many years ago. I guess you could say I hoarded all those lessons (in a good way) so I could write this article. I think Templeton would be proud.
As always, thanks for indulging me these thoughts on symbolic meaning of rats. To be true, mass opinion can make it tough to embrace this little creature. So thanks to those of you who give the rat a chance, and listen to the messages it has. And a big "Rock ON!" to all you rat-lovers out there!
May all your rat encounters be filled with potential,
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!