Are you where you want to be?

Musings: Butterflies


On the medicine cards that accompany the book Medicine Cards: The Discovery Of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson, the writing under the illustration of the butterfly says: “You are changing – Emerge into your new state of being -  Honor your transformation”.

The opening lines in the chapter of the book dedicated to the butterfly read: “The power that the Butterfly brings to us is akin to the air.  It is the mind, and the ability to know the mind or to change it.  It is the art of transformation.”

There are four stages to the butterfly’s complete evolution.  The first is the egg stage, followed by the second which is the larva stage.  After that comes the third stage which is the cocoon or chrysalis from which the butterfly emerges or births which is the fourth and last stage.

So, I woke up this morning and butterflies were on my mind.  I don’t know whether I dreamt of them last night.  I rarely remember the details of my dreams.  But there they were in the forefront of my mind.  And as I stepped into my writer’s den, my screened in patio, the first thing I saw were the ceramic and the bronze butterflies on the shelves and another living butterfly fluttering out in the garden.

When I opened the fourth of the meditation books that I read every morning, the illustration was of a butterfly resting on a white daisy.  It was the same large yellow and black patterned butterfly that I had just seen in the garden.  Then, just to top everything off, I went to my indoor computer and realized for the first time that the log-in illustration on the screen was of a butterfly.  Which all brings me to the butterfly connection with my mother that I mentioned in a previous posting.

I have no idea where my mother’s love of butterflies came from.  It certainly didn’t exist in the earlier part of her life that I can remember.  I became aware of the “butterfly thing” on a visit back to UK when we were living in Italy, which meant it was probably somewhere in the late eighties. 

On the wall beside her favourite armchair, which was actually a piece of wood paneling that masked the inner workings of the heating system, I noticed some butterfly stickers.  There was also a small picture frame not far from her chair that contained three or four real butterflies, wings spread out in full display, encased in glass.

I never asked her what the sudden interest in butterflies was about. I do know that it was only in her later years, after her retirement at about age sixty three, that she began to be truly aware of the many opportunities that she had missed in life simply because that’s the way it was.  And yet there is nothing “simple” about her history, part of which is masked in mystery.

So perhaps she was in a “butterfly stage” at that point in her life, wondering what she was meant to do and how she was meant to go about it – being a larva and just feeding the possibilities.  I do know that just as she was free (from work) to be able to “do things and go places”, she was plagued by health issues.  This was cause for a period of anger at God on my part after her death.

Perhaps I need to talk with my sisters about the butterfly thing.  (My writing has suddenly placed many question marks before me about different aspects of family history.) They were obviously closer to my mother physically, actually living in the same country while I was across a continent.  Suffice it to say that every piece of correspondence that I received from her from that period until she died was always adorned with butterfly stickers.

Even while she was still alive, the sighting of a butterfly was always synonymous with a thought of my mother. Today, as I spend my “therapy” and pleasure time in the garden, I see many butterflies and therefore am blessed with happy memories of Mum.  There are moments too when the sight of a butterfly is just at a moment when I need a hug or touch of reassurance, and I smile and say “hello Mum” or “thanks Mum”  And just to help keep those memories very vivid, the correspondence that I receive from my sisters almost always carries butterfly stickers.