Change and the Butterfly

Ah, Summer! To me, Summer is sweet corn, wild berries, tomatoes, catching fireflies at night and chasing butterflies with nets.

I have long been a fan of butterflies, in awe of their beautiful wings and delicate grace. As time goes by, my appreciation and admiration grows. I no longer only see their beauty, but I recognize the journey. As Maya Angelou says, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”

Butterfly has guided me through many life challenges. I call on her when I’m surrounded or overwhelmed by change (and sometimes when I’m feeling stagnant and wanting change). As our world is evolving, butterfly is a terrific ally to turn to (is there anyone who is not experiencing change?!)

We often think we want change; yet, when the time comes, we try to scrabble back onto that ledge and hang on for dear life, because we cannot see the beautiful oasis that awaits us. I try to remember Richard Bach’s wisdom, “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly.”

Along with butterfly there are of course other fabulous allies to help guide us through transition and change. This does not necessarily mean that the transformation may be painless or problem free; but they give support, so that we hopefully do not feel like the sky is falling and the world is ending.

There is a category of herbs that helps our bodies deal with stress (including change) called adaptogens. My two favorite adaptogens that I feel especially help with transformation are Holy Basil (also known as Sacred Basil or Tulsi) and Rhodiola. To me, they both seem to allow one to take a deep breath and step back for a better perspective.

Another favorite plant is Agrimony. Agrimony helps to bring about change, especially when we feel we are stuck in a situation. For instance if there is a difficult situation at work such as conflict with a co-worker, you can work with Agrimony (either carry a little bit of the plant with you, sprinkle him on your desk, add a little to a tea, write his name on a paper and place it in an appropriate spot, or take the Flower Essence) and Agrimony can help to resolve the situation. Remember it may not happen exactly how you think it should.

My favorite Flower Essences to help with transition are: Hemlock, American Ginseng, Artemisia (Mugwort), Blue Vervain, Burdock, Queen Maeve, Red Cedar, and of course, Rescue Remedy. There are many other fabulous Flower Essences to assist and some allies that are more specific to the particular challenge or change occurring.

When I am faced with a difficult change, I often turn to Artemis, the Goddess of the Wild Unknown. She helps us take that step forward on our path, even though we don't know what to expect. A great way to access her is through the plants named after her, the genus Artemisia (which happen to be "The Herb of the Year"), which includes Mugwort.

Working with the elements can also help us during change. We work with water (in the direction of the West) to help release what no longer serves us and to see between the veils. Earth (North) helps us feel grounded and supported, allows us to tap into the deep, deep wisdom and to go within for self reflection and journeying. Air (East) brings us far vision, allowing us to see the bigger picture, get a bird's eye view and celebrate new beginnings and second chances. And Fire (South) ignites us, gives us courage to take that last step off the cliff, which is really the first step on our exciting new path.

As you can see, there are many ways to gain support as you experience change and transformation, for these are just a sampling. If you feel as if the world is caving in, falling apart, or you just can't see beyond, remember the words of a lovely, wise friend of mine, "The caterpillar has to completely dissolve before becoming a butterfly." May you enjoy your beautiful new wings and the many gifts that come with them. And remember, when you transform yourself, you transform the world. You owe it to all the beings on this beautiful planet, to spread your wings and share your glory.

By Jen Frey, ONE Visioning Council