Butterflies breathe through tiny pores called spiracles. Most insects breathe through such openings in the body. This can really teach us about deep cellular breathing to connect us to the world around us, allowing us to truly live an embodied life. As international breath work teacher, Dan Brule said in a workshop in Cape Town a few years ago “We are all breathing the same breath… called life”.
Butterflies are associated with the process of transformation, metamorphosis and shape shifting. We know that change is inevitable in life. Change ensures growth and maturation. Everything in life must go through stages of development. Butterflies begin as eggs. The fertilized eggs hatch into caterpillars which eventually spin cocoons around themselves, setting the stage for the chrysalis process. A mummy-like pupa forms inside the cocoon and dissolves into a liquid mush. This intense change can be equated to the alchemical stage of Solutio, - or in humans, the dark night of the Soul. In this a reorganization of the caterpillar’s cells occurs even though everything seems lifeless. Then from the cocoon the final expression of life emerges. Even as the butterfly appears we are reminded that everything has a purpose. In the process of struggling to leave its cocoon, the butterfly’s wings are strengthened. A butterfly would not be able to fly - and will die - if it were prematurely pulled from its cocoon. Give yourself time. Be patient. Even as the butterfly whispers of your hidden potentials, the old have to be shed before we can embrace the new.
Butterflies have long been associated with a deep and powerful representation of the soul and spiritual transformation. Their blue color is often thought to symbolize healing.
The inspiration from this post came from a hypnogogic moment between sleep and wakefulness, one night a few months ago during Covid19 lockdown. The amazingly clear image of a luminous blue butterfly appeared in my mind’s eye and I literally gasped in awe and admiration at its beauty. I have since identified it as a Morpho butterfly. ‘Morpho’ means change, modification, transformation… talk about hitting you over the head with the symbolism of TRANSFORMATION!
(from Wikipedia) “Morpho butterflies are colored in metallic, shimmering shades of blues and greens. These colors are not a result of pigmentation, but are an example of iridescence through structural coloration. Specifically, the microscopic scales covering the morpho's wings reflect incident light repeatedly at successive layers, leading to interference effects that depend on both wavelength and angle of incidence/observance.”
“There’s an old saying that there is nothing in a caterpillar that knows it’s going to be a Butterfly. Nonetheless, the transformation from caterpillar to winged wonder happens quite naturally.” – Read more https://whatismyspiritanimal.com/spirit-totem-power-animal-meanings/insects/butterfly-symbolism-meaning/
Source: Animal Speak, Ted Andrews, 1993, p.331-332, 39-340
Image Credit: https://webcomicms.net/
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