The Butterfly

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” …Richard Bach

I have loved butterflies for as long as I can remember. Of course they are beautiful, which is perhaps why I am drawn to them, but my obsession was born out of my marvel for them. Butterflies are a miracle of creation and absolutely amazing. In Sharman Russell’s book, An Obsession with Butterflies, the true genius of butterflies is revealed. During metamorphosis, the once homely caterpillar transforms himself into a beautiful butterfly. Besides the obvious change in appearance, the caterpillar also obtains the incredible power of flight. This new found power enables butterflies to instinctually fly thousands of miles to avoid a cold winter. The idea of being one thing and becoming another is embedded in the human psyche. As human beings, we are always trying to reinvent ourselves. Often times it is a dream just out of reach, but there are always those stories of the healed, transformed, or suddenly enlightened ones. It is these stories or dreams that keep people like me coming back for more.

The image below is made out of vintage ephemera and public domain images. It is free to use for your personal art projects. (However, it can not be resold for any purpose.) Right click and print a 4×4 post card.

The idea of reincarnation was formed when the Hindu god, Brahma, watched pupae turn into butterflies. In the Greek language, the word “psyche” means butterfly and soul. In ancient Egyptian tombs, there are images of butterflies covering the walls. In 1680, in Ireland, people were banned from killing white butterflies, because they believed they carried the souls of children. In the 1990’s, white butterflies were found in the prison cells of Chinese convicts who had converted to Buddhism before they were condemned to die. What a romantic notation, the soul being carried from this life to the next by a single white butterfly. Farfetched, maybe, but today I choose to live in the magic.

(Russell, Sharman. An Obsession with Butterflies. Massachusetts:Perseus, 2003.)