Butterflies have long held a fascination for most people. They represent joy, freedom, creativity and change. Most importantly their seemingly magical metamorphosis symbolizes a necessary transformation and soul evolution for us as individuals and as a collective.
The complete metamorphic cycle (which 88% of all Insects, and most amphibians undergo) has often been used as a metaphor for change. Change that we as humans tend to resist, yet if we learn to embrace it rather than fight it, we get to discover what the caterpillar discovered… her true self and infinite potential which was always there waiting to be uncovered.
Can you relate to the butterfly’s journey?
The Monarch egg is usually laid on the Milkweed plant, which remains the larva’s staple diet during her juvenile years. She goes through her life consuming the same bitter food in her familiar environment… it’s predictable, it’s comfortable. Her sight is limited, and she can only in see black and white. She blends into her environment, plays it safe and goes about her job of consumption and survival.
Interestingly the word larva, comes from the latin word larva, meaning ghost or mask. Whilst trying to fit in and wear various masks that are socially acceptable, the caterpillar creates more layers of disconnection from her innate truth. She goes through 5 layers of molting and grows up to 30 000 times her size in just two weeks.
Yet within this oblivious caterpillar are what are scientifically called Imaginal discs. These cells contain the entire blueprint of the butterfly, the full potential of this unawakened juvenile lies dormant, waiting for activation.
Tired of her life on the milkweed plant she feels a deep yearning for more meaning and a restlessness growing inside, her imaginal discs are awakening. She’s bored of her mundane life and is forced to go within and find her gold. (Interestingly the word Chrysalis comes from the Latin word Khrysos meaning Gold.)
She spins some silk and attaches herself to the underside of a leaf hanging upside down and prepares for the sixth and final shedding. Yet letting go of that last layer isn’t easy, it involves trust and commitment to stay connected to the leaf and the process. In order to become who she really is, she needs to let go who she thought she was.
As these imaginal discs start activating, the old cells of the instar (another name for each larva stage) see these new ‘higher frequency’ cells as a threat and start attacking them, basically eating itself from the inside out as the discs form larger and larger clusters and take over.
This stage is met with fears and doubts as you enter the unknown. The old you wants to remain small, irresponsible and keep hiding behind the mask. Being who you truly are, showing up fully and vulnerably, honouring your values, your unique gifts and strengths and living from the power of your heart requires courage and persistence. It means putting your quest for Truth above all else and blazing your own trail.
“It’s the caterpillar’s job to resist the butterfly and the butterfly’s job to become stronger because of the opposition to its advance.”
After two weeks in the Chrysalis, the butterfly has found the treasure of who she is, reclaimed her power and now has to break through the final barriers of resistance to share the gift of who she is with the world. After much courage and persistence she’s ready to emerge and be seen in her full beauty and radiance.
She’s gone from survival to thrival, sipping on the sweet nectar of life. Her vision was black and white and now encompasses a full spectrum of light, including ultraviolet. She’s lighter, more radiant, fearless and free. She adds value to the world through just being herself and in that she pollinates and spreads beauty and life wherever she goes.
Does your inner butterfly want to emerge?
You may be feeling a restlessness within, a desire for more meaning and fulfillment. You may be asking ‘Is this really it?’ ‘What is my purpose?’ ‘Why am I here?’ you’ll feel a yearning for something greater, yet not necessarily sure what that even is or how to make it your reality.
Simply put, your purpose is to set your inner butterfly free. To be who you really are beyond the layers of domestication and conditioning and share your uniqueness with the world. You don’t have to know what that is or how that will come about. You ‘just’ have to commit to the journey, trust the unfolding and be in action of your dreams. Living into your potential involves going beyond your fears and into the unknown.
Metaphorically your imaginal discs are activating and you’ll feel that inner battle going on between your heart’s desire and your old conditioning (not to mention the demands of the outside world). You’ll feel the surge of fears and doubts and in each moment you get to ask yourself “What am I giving my power to? My doubts or my truth?” (either way you’ll be right!)
The Truth isn’t something that’s necessarily rational. It’s a feeling, a knowing, an intuition, a tingle in your body, like you’re remembering something that feels like home – It’s expansive and liberating. Your fears and doubts are contractive and pinch you off from your joy. They’re there to show you what needs to be transmuted and let go of in order to live more fully into your truth. We’ve been taught how to analyse and rationalise. We haven’t been taught how to truly feel, to sense, to know, to intuit… and so we fall into the cycle of doubt and remain in the dark.
What does this mean for the collective?
The time has come on our planet where the imaginal discs are activating, within ourselves and within the collective. Those who awaken to their butterflies within become the imaginal discs of our planet.
The more and more we start clumping together, the more we threaten the old caterpillar way of survival, consumption, competition, and destruction and assist humanity and our planet in birthing a new world of compassion, beauty, freedom and abundance. I call this the rapid evolution (rEVOLUTION) and it starts with each one of us taking our power back from our own inner dictator and oppressor and liberating ourselves from ourselves.