“…Being so many different sizes in a day is very
“It isn’t,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps you haven’t found it so yet,“ said Alice,
“but when you have to turn into a chrysalis—you will some day, you know—then after that into a butterfly, I should
think you’ll feel it a little queer, won’t you?”
“Not a bit,” said the Caterpillar.
“Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice,
“all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.”
“You!” said the Caterpillar contemptuously. “Who are you?” (1)
Change. It is the only constant. It is the force of
creation. Insects remind us that we are ever-changing. Perhaps this is
precisely what the Caterpillar had in mind as he spoke to Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Butterflies are the epitome of transformation and
shapeshifting. They symbolize the dance of joy (think millions of Monarch
butterflies dancing through the air as they migrate from Canada and the U.S. to
the Tropic of Cancer in Mexico).
With butterflies and moths there are always four distinct
stages of change. It is the magic of life that we humans can align ourselves
with. These insects begin as eggs.
The eggs hatch into caterpillars
that feed and spin cocoons. From a
cocoon comes its final expression of life—wings.
Everything we create in life has to go through stages. We
give birth (the egg)—to an idea, a new quality, an action or activity, etc. From the egg
stage comes the larva. In this stage, the egg becomes a caterpillar. The
caterpillar feeds and works to strengthen itself in order to achieve its foundation.
Our ideas, in comparison, need to be worked, shaped, formed, developed and
Once the caterpillar has laid itself a new foundation, the
stage of chrysalis begins. A cocoon is woven around itself and a mummy-like
pupa forms within. Even though there is an appearance of lifelessness in this
stage, there is recognition of the caterpillar’s cells. As such, once we lay
the foundation of an idea, it is to our benefit to take some time to go deep
within so that creation will be able to come forth strong and in a new light.
This takes patience. There are points in the creative process where we must be
passive and let things take a natural course. We do our part, and then let it
move on its own.
The final form, then, becomes the winged insect. This winged
stage is very significant. The adults only come out of the cocoon with the
warmth of spring, again reflecting the ability to go within and determine the
best time to set the new creations into motion on a higher level. This is being
in the flow.
Within the stages of metamorphosis are the keys to creating
anything…and we are constantly creating and changing. Change is inevitable in
life and life only becomes more difficult when we resist its natural flow. So
let’s take butterfly’s lead and use the inherent magic of a slow and deliberate
metamorphosis to our advantage. It is said that change ensures growth. We must
shed the old before we can come into the new…
Thank you, butterfly!
(1) Carroll, Lewis. The Original Alice in Wonderland (Newmarket, England: Brimax Books, 1988), p. 41