Monday, October 25, 2010

More Butterflies......

"The butterfly dancer must be old because she represents the soul that is old. She is wide of thigh and broad of rump because she carries so much. Her grey hair certifies that she need no longer observe taboos about touching others. She is allowed to touch everyone: boys, babies, men, women, girl children, the old, the ill, and the dead. The Butterfly Woman can touch everyone. It is her privilege to touch all, at last. This is her power. Hers is the body of La Mariposa, the butterfly."

"La Mariposa
" …excerpt from Women Who Run with The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I currently live in a trailer court, although almost all of my time is spent at my mother's house as her caretaker. I'm not often at my "house on wheels", and scarcely know any of my neighbors, so I was surprised to see a bag hanging from the door a few days ago. It contained two greenish rolls of what the label called "Butterfly Carpet" - you spread them out on soil, water, and up comes a garden of flowers guaranteed to attract butterflies. I still don't know who thought to leave this "butterfly food" for me, but considering my run of butterfly stories and synchronicities lately, I've thought a bit more about the phenomenon, the metaphor, and hopefully, the guidance.

I love that "nourishment" was provided for this butterfly. Just plant and water.

To be honest, I've never felt more uninspired, confused, useless, and stuck in my life. I look at my two rolls of "butterfly food", and find a living metaphor that gives me heart.

I have also been thinking a bit more about butterflies. Butterflies are not only lovely creatures that embody the perfect metaphor for transformation. They are also the final life stage of the caterpillar, responsible for laying the eggs that will ensure future generations. They are generators of the future.

And, they also have another job to do. A very important job. They are Pollinators. They must also see to it that not only caterpillars, but many other kinds of life are able to have a future. Just as diminishing populations of honey bees threaten the food crops, so too are these creatures potent, and vitally important.

"And here too come visitors, some of whom are very starved of their geno-myths, detached from the spiritual placenta. They have forgotten their ancient Gods. They come to watch the ones who have not forgotten."
In Clarissa Pinkola Estes famous book "Women Who Run With the Wolves", she tells the wonderful story of waiting to see the "Butterfly Dancer" at a famous Pueblo ceremony (I believe at one of the Hopi pueblos, but can't remember). Perhaps tourists, waiting a long, hot, dusty day to see her, expected a slender, ephemeral Indian maiden; no doubt they were shocked out of their paradigm to see at last the grey haired Butterfly Dancer emerge, slow, sure, heavy, with her traditional tokens of old woman.***

"Her heavy body and her very skinny legs made her look like a hopping spider wrapped in a tamale. She hops on one foot and then on the other. She waves her feather fan to and fro. She is The Butterfly arrived to strengthen the weak. She is that which most think of as not strong: age, the butterfly, the feminine."
Because in the agricultural ritual these dances symbolize and invoke for these people, the vital work of pollination is no job for for an inexperienced girl, no trivial job for a pretty child. It's a job for one who has lived, and lived, and can thus seed and generate the future from that solid base.
"Butterfly Woman mends the erroneous idea that transformation is only for the tortured, the saintly, or only for the fabulously strong. The Self need not carry mountains to transform. A little is enough. A little goes a long way. A little changes much. The fertilizing force replaces the moving of mountains.

Butterfly Maiden pollinates the souls of the earth: It is easier that you think, she says. She is shaking her feather fan, and she’s hopping, for she is spilling spiritual pollen all over the people who are there, Native
Americans, little children, visitors, everyone. This is the translator of the instinctual, the fertilizing force, the mender, the rememberer of old ideas. She is La voz mitológica."

"La voz mitológica". The mythic voice. I'd like to write about this in a later post; it's a very important concept.

Perhaps, following this insight that came to me today, and remembering the huge inspiration of this great storyteller, I find an answer of some kind to my own quest for meaning in this difficult time; and I pass this on to any who may be listening or reading. I am a storyteller, a maker of special masks. But we are all, in fact, storytellers. I believe the world desperately needs, especially now, "wise pollinators", women and men who can help the future to generate, flower, seed.

"We're Incubating the Future
with the Stories
we tell.
So What Are They?"

*** To read in full this marvelous excerpt by Dr. Estes, here is a link I was fortunate to find:


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Caring for an ailing parent is familiar to many of us. For me, they were dark years. But know that these years, too, will pass. That's what the butterflies are saying. Transformation. Interesting that it's caterpillars - then butterflies, Lauren.

Gail said...

Your stories mean so much to me. Everyday I bring 'threads of the spiderwoman' up from my favorites to see if you have posted something new. I appreciate the time and energy it takes for you to articulate and illustrate these wonderful messages you bring. Many are holding you in the light during these trying times. Blessed Be!!! Gail

Lauren said...

Thanks to you both for your kind words......they do help, as your thoughts, writings, and your own insights inspire me. Yes, it's what it is, and there's not always a way to feel anything but drained. Writing actually helps a lot, and I think, spiritually, we all need to put forth the "good stories", to be pollinators, even though it can seem so ephemeral at time. Thank you for your tremendous contributions!

Valerianna said...

Hi Lauren, sounds like a tough moment, thanks for the butterfly story, I read it last semester to my class and they loved it. I witnessed my mother taking care of her mother, and I know how challenging it can be- the total dissolution, the being in the imaginal soup- before feeling wings again, without her mother. For her, it was a healing time, a reclaiming and bonding with her brother and a time to find forgiveness. Your stories are healing, I appreciate them whether written, sculpted or painted. Thank you for continuing, as hard as it may be....

Lauren said...
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