We’ve been closely watching a pot of herbs in our back yard. Several weeks ago we noticed it covered with caterpillars devastating the flat leafed parsley. We watched like children as the caterpillars grew larger day by day, stripping the leaves of every piece of parsley. Then it was as though they all disappeared. That was when we found the cocoons on the bottom sides of the gerbera daisy leaves. Then the long wait began to see what would emerge.
In researching metamorphosis, I learned that our caterpillars were Black Swallowtail butterflies. The butterflies lay eggs on plants which the developing caterpillars eat. Caterpillars typically shed their outer skin 5 to 6 times. In the final stage the caterpillar sheds not only its skin but also its head capsule which houses 6 eye lenses. Then it forms its chrysalis- going inward for the final stage before metamorphosis is complete. In the final stage the body of the caterpillar actually disintegrates in order to re-form as a butterfly.
I’ve never paid much attention to symbols that have appeared in my life. Many believe that symbols are a source of inner guidance that come from the soul. More and more I agree. My life has gone through many changes, much growth and shedding of my outer trappings to re-form myself. Each stage I hope has been an expansion of myself, growing as a person on the inside. In recent years my usually outgoing personality has turned more inward as I have begun to go within in writing, meditation and studying the works of inspiring teachers, letting go of belief systems that felt confining and untrue. I am indeed in the midst of a transformation.
I wonder what the butterflies are telling me. Is it time to emerge from my chrysalis and become more open with what I’m inwardly learning. Or has my transformation just begun? There is certainly a great deal to be learned by turning inward, listening to the voice that comes only when we listen deeply. Its that true voice of love that comes from the soul.