When a caterpillar nears its transformation time, it begins to eat ravenously, consuming everything in sight. The caterpillar body then becomes heavy, outgrowing its own skin many times, until it is too bloated to move. Attaching to a branch (upside down, where everything is turned on its head) it forms a chrysalis—an enclosing shell that limits the caterpillar’s freedom for the duration of the transformation.
Within the chrysalis a miracle occurs. Tiny cells that biologists actually call “imaginal cells” begin to appear. These cells are wholly different from caterpillar cells, carrying different information, vibrating to a different frequency–the frequency of the emerging butterfly. At first, the caterpillar’s immune system perceives these new cells as enemies, and attacks them, much as new ideas in science, medicine, politics, and social behavior are viciously denounced by the powers now considered mainstream. But the imaginal cells are not deterred. They continue to appear, in even greater numbers, recognizing each other, bonding together, until the new cells are numerous enough to organize into clumps. When enough cells have formed to make structures along the new organizational lines, the caterpillar’s immune system is overwhelmed. The caterpillar body then becomes a nutritious soup for the growth of the butterfly.
When the butterfly is ready to hatch, the chrysalis becomes transparent. The need for restriction has been outgrown. Yet the struggle toward freedom has an organic timing.
“….and is connected to the breath.” A children’s book that I read stated that the butterfly “pops” its chrysalis by taking a deep, full breath. As the butterfly emerges, it’s upside down. It immediately turns right side up and it proceeds to holds its chrysalis with such reverence, I can “hear” it saying “thank you” to where it came from. When we’ve been through troubles of trauma, it can be difficult to find the gratitude for where we came from. It may be empowering to pause in this reading and give thanks to your self and to all the sentient beings who supported you through the times of loss.
With loss there can be a loss of innocence. And the paradox is that in losing innocence a new-found wisdom is gained. In this new wisdom there is even greater inner connection to innocence, allowing for the possibility of wholeness.
– Anodea Judith (and Lance Wallnau)
I feel a bit like this these days. Undergoing something magical and new. A freshness is overtaking me and I’m emerging from the past with strength and beauty. Entering into a pool of new thoughts and expectations. My eyes are set straight before me. Life is a forgiving journey with many chances for rebirth and transformation. I’m more and more the authentic person I was intended to be. I’m always searching for that woman. The original.