“We, the great mass of the people think only of the love we have for our land, we do love the land where we were brought up. We will never let our hold to this land go, to let it go it will be like throwing away (our) mother that gave (us) birth.”
Cherokee Legislative Council
New Echota July 1830
With the tragic bush fires in Australia destroying land and lives as I write this, one can’t help but be reminded of the warnings and pleedings of their Native people as to how to peacefully live in harmony with their Motherland.
Living in the residue of the Industrial Revolution, most Americans are only STARTING to understand our interconnectedness in and total reliance on Nature. The Natives that lived here before we landed were intricately woven in with Nature with admiration and great respect.
The greatest symbol of hope and faith and TRANSFORMATION is the BUTTERFLY. Reminding us of the safety and promise of cycles, as Spring returns and life is restored. “Just when the caterpillar thought it’s life was over, She became a butterfly” proverb poster we’ve passed by at our dentist’s office so many times is powerfully optimistic. (Check out an even more inspiring tale at the end of this post!) The Natives knew that every creature, every plant they came across unexpectedly was a MEDICINE SIGN, carrying the Holy Spirit/Deva/Life Force of the Divine within in it and were signs/symbols and clues from their Creatrix/Creator and their ancestors in Spirit. The butterfly was one of them.
“Hopi Butterfly Kachina Maden (PALHIKWMANA), associated with fertility, appears in Butterfly (‘social’) Dances introduced from the RIO GRANDE PUEBLOS, where among the Tewa they connote ‘spring, fertility, war and peace, and the female”. Also, from “The Feminist Companion to Mythology” edited by Carolyne Larrington, she shares: “while in Pueblo lore generally women/girls are thought to run after butterflies”.
“Butterfly Maiden generally appears in August, as that is when the butterflies appear. The Butterfly Dance, a traditional social dance of the Hopi, is held in August after the gathering of the harvest. It is a thanksgiving dance for the harvest, chiefly for the corn crop and features dancing by young HOPI maidens.” – kachinadance.com
Native people still carve these Kachinas of BUTTERFLY MAIDEN to give as gifts for a very different kind of thanksgiving than we have been taught in school. “They are never masked except on Third Mesa, although they all appear to be when carved as dolls. The carvings typically include an elaborate tableta including butterfly and corn symbols.” From Ancientnations.com
Many of us are drawn to the beauty and freedom of the butterflies. Social butterfly, wing’s spread across low back tattoos. Remembering our interconnection and inter-reliance like the butterfly effect whilst running around with scarves as wings at festivals. We freely wear jewelry embedded with the prismatic insects. To see a butterfly briskly tip-toe from buttercup to buttercup, bring us back to the moment and into one of joy, relief and hope.
Diderot’s Encyclopédie cites butterflies as a symbol for the soul. A Roman sculpture depicts a butterfly exiting the mouth of a dead man, representing the Roman belief that the soul leaves through the mouth. In line with this, the ancient Greek word for “butterfly” is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means “soul” or “mind”. According to Mircea Eliade, some of the Nagas of Manipur claim ancestry from a butterfly. In some cultures, butterflies symbolise rebirth. The butterfly is a symbol of being transgender, because of the transformation from caterpillar to winged adult. -Wikipedia.
Ritual to contact with Her by (Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.):”To inspire Butterfly Maiden’s beauty within and without, wash your face and chakras (near pulse points as well as at the top of the head, in the middle of the forehead, over the heart, near the groin, behind the knees and at the bottom of the feet) with rainwater first thing in the morning (dawn is best). Go outside afterward and toss some flower petals into a spring breeze, saying:
‘Butterfly Maiden, liberate me
Let me mind and spirit ever be free!’
The winds will carry your wish to heaven/the Goddess.”
Portraying this very important Deity of Love, Beauty and Transition is the Glorious Vanessa. I met Vanessa when we both performed in “THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES” and I just fell in love with her gently powerful Spirit, as you will too. This is what she writes about she was born to play this role for the Goddess Project:
“My name means Butterfly Reborn Free and it has always felt like that was my Native American name. My heritage is Spanish Indian on my mother’s side and German American on my father’s side. You could say my parents are a blend of dark and light… like me. My life has included many dark and light experiences and I have spent many portions of my life in what has felt like cocoon states doing my best to process life’s challenges and transform them into light. The transformational symbolism of the caterpillar going into the cocoon and changing into the butterfly shows up in my life on a regular basis as the spiritual task of trusting the growth process through trying times by going inward “into the darkness” of the moment/situation/feeling and letting Spirit guide me to the insights/awakening I need for the alchemical transformation into my Divine Self. The Butterfly Maiden archetype reminds me of that.”
Butterfly Maiden… is a springtime goddess who helps us escape from any cocoon situation that’s trapping us or impeding our growth or joy.”
Vanessa also shares this INSPIRATIONAL story:
A man found a cocoon hanging on a small bush and as he watched a small opening appeared in the cocoon and inside was a butterfly trying to get out.
He sat there and watched the butterfly for hours as it struggled and struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole that it had made in the cocoon.
Then the butterfly stopped, as if it was stuck, as if it couldn’t get out and it couldn’t go any further.
Then the man decided to help the butterfly out.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off some of the cocoon making the opening much bigger.
The butterfly then emerged easily, but it was not as it should be, it had a swollen body and small shriveled wings.
The man continued to watch it, expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge and expand enough to support the body, though this never happened.
The butterfly then spent the rest of its life crawling around with shrivelled wings and it was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the small hole in the cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through this opening was nature’s way of forcing the fluid from the swollen body into its wings so that the wings could then unfold and enable the butterfly for flight. Sometimes the hardest moments we face are what prepare us for who we will become. Much like the butterfly, we were created for so much more than we may be able to see for ourselves early in our journey. Don’t let the struggle stop you from fulfilling your God given purpose. 🦋
Bless you, Vanessa.
We need Butterfly Maiden more than ever! We are at a point in our world where we are uncomfortably struggling to come out of our cocoons and becoming the glorious butterflies we need to become to heal and usher in a new time in this world. May She guide us and be our SYMBOL OF HOPE.
For more on THE GODDESS PROJECT: MADE IN HER IMAGE, the new Journal Journey book or other Free Sophia blog articles, go to freesophia.com or the Free Sophia Facebook page.