What is a butterfly? Is it just a caterpillar with wings and if that’s the case why don’t we call butterflies ‘
Within the chrysalis the caterpillar is literally digesting itself, then specific ‘sleeping cells’ begin to transform. So, to become a butterfly the caterpillar ‘dies’ in a sense, but at the same time it’s birthing itself into a butterfly. The interesting thing is that their DNA remains the same but there are dormant butterfly genes in the caterpillar that are switched on when it becomes a butterfly and the caterpillar genes are switched off…awesome stuff.
There’s a lot of symbolism relating to butterflies, transformation, change, purification, rebirthing, liberation, reincarnation. Caterpillar symbolism isn’t often used in oracle cards and books, I guess because they’re not as pretty, although there are many that would rival the butterfly when it comes to flamboyance. Caterpillars are often associated with patience, determination, potentiality, surrender, metamorphosis and I’d like to add mindfulness.
So where is all this leading? If you understand that the cycle can relate to us on many levels you can then begin to ask yourself “where am I in my butterfly cycle?” but to do that we need to identify how the various parts of the cycle manifest in us, and also to understand that we may be exhibiting different parts of the cycle all at once but in different areas of our lives. I believe that there are longer cycles that last for years, or even a lifetime, and equally there are shorter cycles lasting only a month or even days. Of course, I could relate these to many Astrological cycles (as there are many such cycles that are very much in alignment with this), but it’s more about looking within and ‘feeling’ in what phase you find yourself so that you can be at peace with the internal process. I will use only the Lunar cycle as a reference as it relates to all of us on a monthly basis however, if you want to know which other Astrological cycle aligns with your experience, feel free to make an appointment with me or another Astrologer to help you delve deeper into this.
Where does the cycle begin? That’s a bit like the ‘chicken and egg’ scenario, I’ll just dive in and suggest we begin at the egg. You could liken this stage to the New Moon, a time of potential, seeding the intent for what is to come. It might be a time when you’ve seen the potential vision of your future and you’re feeling the stirrings of excitement for what is on the way. It’s a time to ‘feel’ and imagine your reality, set intent and then let it go to manifest in it’s own time and space. Trust would be a good word for this part of the cycle, the butterfly has laid its egg and must trust that it will remain safe and develop as it should. We are placed in a life and situation that is best able to teach us what we came here to learn, to be at peace with this (as hard as that maybe) we must trust this process. This is a time to meditate on what it is you want to manifest, you must ‘feel’ as if it’s already happening, believe it into existence, feel the gratitude for it now. Be still, feel the stillness within. During the New Moon there is no light so you must rely on your imagination to envision your dream, let it flow into you and be open to receiving. It’s all about trusting the process. A meditation at this time may be to imagine yourself as a ‘seed’ or indeed an ‘egg’ and see the ‘tree’ or ‘butterfly’ you hold inside of yourself, see yourself becoming and transforming so that you really ‘feel’ in your heart that you are there.
The caterpillar emerges from the egg in the next part of the cycle, it’s the larval stage of the process. This could be likened to the Crescent Moon, a time with a strong sense of what you must do to achieve the intent planned at the New Moon, there is a sudden activity and a gathering of resources to enable the manifestation. The caterpillar is an eating machine, there is an intense energy and movement in this phase, it’s about survival of yourself or the plan you’ve put in place. You may have a sense of urgency about the ‘doing’ of things, perhaps a feeling that there is a limited amount of time in which to do them and time may feel as though it is moving faster for you. This is a time to nourish yourself, eat well and often – foods that feed and sustain the body –do some vigorous exercise to burn off the excess energy, and mindful while being productive – the caterpillar is focused, not distracted. Caterpillars vary greatly in appearance, many blend in with their surroundings using camouflage to avoid detection, others are gaudy and flamboyant, using colour and adornments to ward off any predators. They use what they have at their disposal to allow them the freedom to focus on feeding and growing. If you gave a caterpillar wings, I doubt it would use them because it only has the one intention – to eat and survive. Just be who you are, use what you have. You don’t have to wear purple or patchouli to be spiritual – but if you do, then wear it well!
During the next phase the caterpillar slows down, it’s focus shifts and it finds a suitable place to rest and begins to ‘build’ its Chrysalis, this may be likened to the First Quarter Moon, a time for building, creating the structure around which your vision will form. There is a lot of activity now, your creative juices are flowing, and you find yourself being very busy but there may be some hesitation, you may feel like you’ve lost something or you may be afraid of what you’re leaving behind. These fears are enough to stop you in your tracks and the cycle will cease. At these moments you should remember the ‘egg’ stage, remember the ‘trust’ you had then that all would work out according to plan? Now you must trust again, but this time you can see things beginning to happen, the light is brighter now. As the Moon you are now in the ‘half-light’, it would be easy to slip back into that comfortable shadow you had grown used tobut the Light beckons and it holds so much promise. This is a time when your subconscious will be pulling you back to where its comfortable and the old habits you’re leaving behind. Go towards the Light…
Now you become the Chrysalis, the building is over and it dangles from the branch, seemingly delicate and fragile but a strong shell surrounds you and nothing harmful can reach you – as long as you continue to trust. This is like the Gibbous Moon, a time to reassess how far you’ve come; slow down now and consider your current position. It may feel as though things have stopped but far from it, you are about to enter the most magical stage yet, this is the time to prepare for that… Start to listen to your ‘self-talk’ and if you find yourself being critical and putting yourself down, just pause and reset – reframe your self-talk around a positive axis. You are looking at yourself through new eyes, you can feel an internal change beginning and you are about to transform yourself into something new and bright, you feel trepidation, hesitation, but an excitement is building too. The chrysalis represents death for the caterpillar and birth for the butterfly, on some level you know that going forward means you must release and let go of what no longer serves you so that space is created for what will. Its that ‘space’ that makes you cautious, the unknown…the abyss.
Now is the moment to begin the transformation within the chrysalis, you must allow parts of your old self to be left behind to make room for the new. This is the Full Moon. The caterpillar is no more, and the butterfly is yet to be. It is a mysterious, magical and sometimes painful time. Its easy to feel nothing here, to feel asadness, a darkness even though you are fully in the Light. Its hard to hide when there’s no shadow left. Now you are the reflection of what could be and will be, you are shining, you can’t move away from the Light of realisation, you can’t unknow what you have learned, now you must take the next step, but it may take a little time. You’re in the ‘liquefied’ state, a place of nothing and everything, a place where the laws of the physical world may not necessarily apply – in many ways it is similar to the egg stage but instead of bringing a vision towards you and within you, now you are releasing that vision to a greater power. A sense of ‘giving’ rather than ‘receiving’. Now you have the gift of an inner Knowing and while you may not fully understand the implications of the cycle you are able to be at peace with it. Now is the time to release and let go, feel the Light as it imbues you with the larger reality at play, the bigger picture of what is, let it ‘seed’ you with Truth and absorb the Light before it begins to wane. The liquefied state is the place between, it’s a space that cannot be described with words and can only truly be ‘felt’ with the heart. There is a great awareness now, it’s not a time for building, creating or doing, it’s a time to be still, be with the awareness – be content with your choices.
The butterfly genes are activated now, legs and wings begin to form, you are preparing for emergence. You carry with you a new awareness and perhaps a grander perception of how things really are. You have a great urge to tell others of your experience, but your new self is not fully formed and to explain in mere words what you have experienced may be difficult. It may be helpful to journal your experiences and to try ‘teaching’ what you have learned to a select few so you can begin to pull together the information into a coherent whole and in the process, you will find many connections a few ‘aha’ moments and new lines of thought you hadn’t found before. This is like the Disseminating Moon phase.
Now you’re at the Last Quarter phase, you are at the emergence –the butterfly is fully formed. The wings are slowly expanded and made flight ready, it’s time to socialise and play with what you have manifested. It’s here – you’ve created it and now it’s time to enjoy it. What was envisioned at the egg stage is now a reality, you feel the physicality of it, your wings only work because of the air around them and the gravity of the earth holds you and supports you in your physical form. You ‘feel’ alive and free and your physical senses are heightened. Things like massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture and Reiki may be helpful at this time, anything that will help you to get back in touch with your physical self and enable the clearing of blocked energy patterns that may have been created during the transformation process.
The butterfly begins to feel the stirrings of the new cycle beginning, you feel new ideas swirling around you and there is a great satisfaction for how far you’ve come and a respect for the cycle you are intrinsically apart of, you can look back and really see the whole, the inner workings of the cycle. This is akin to the Balsamic Moon phase. There is a distillation of your new knowledge, its as if you were able to find the essence of the experience and now you can incorporate it into your Being. It has become a part of you and you are a part of it. Now the desire to bring that quintessence into a new paradigm, a new design for the future. The butterfly is ready to let go, it releases and dissolves itself into the ether as it lays its egg for a new and greater cycle. You are again releasing and letting go but this time it is with full awareness and great anticipation for the new cycle that will be enriched with the essence of this one…
This beautiful cycle aligns so beautifully with the Lunar cycle but it may not feel as intense as your own personal cycles you were born into. As I said at the beginning, you may be experiencing this on many levels, and be at varying parts of the cycle over varying times. Trust where you are, even if it isn’t aligning to the current Lunar phases as it will most certainly be in alignment with one or more of your personal cycles within your chart. Move with the harmonious flow of nature, trust.
Be the butterfly but embrace the caterpillar, and if you’re in the chrysalis stage don’t try to fly…yet.