The butterfly is an archetypal symbol of transformation, transmutation, and magic in world mythology and religion. Virtually all cultures have marveled at the magical process that transforms an ungraceful caterpillar into a magnificent fluttering butterfly. According to Hindu mythology, Brahma became filled with deep calm while observing a caterpillar’s transformation and was convinced to achieve perfection through rebirth. In
the butterfly was a symbol of conjugal bliss and joy. In the Hopi tradition
unmarried girls of the Butterfly Clan wore their hair in the shape of butterfly
wings. In many traditions, this most exquisite yet fragile creature was a
symbol of the soul. Many cultures around the world believe that butterflies are
the spirits of the deceased communing again with the earth.
I love to commune with the fluttering butterflies I encounter in my earth walk. They are dancing spirits made of color and joy. Many butterfly encounters have been powerful spiritual experiences in my life, like the monarch butterfly that landed on my nose the day after a loved one passed on. When I encounter one of these remarkable beings, I stop and observe them carefully. I have learned to trust these endearing spirit guides. Butterflies have brought me messages from my ancestors and guided me to specific places of power in the web of life on many occasions.
Sacred Power Places
Earth, human, and solar processes are interwoven through a vibrational resonant network around the planet. At the intersection points of the planet’s energy web exist holy places, power spots, or acupuncture points. According to the Hopi, the world would fall apart without these nodes of concentrated vitality. These sacred places are like nerve centers that distribute vital energy throughout the surrounding natural systems. When a human being goes to a power place, the attention of the Earth Mother is drawn to that area, and energy begins to flow to that spot because our bodies, like hers, are electromagnetic. Like acupuncture needles, humans are capable of maintaining the harmonious flow of the planetary energy meridians by making an Earth connection at power places.
There are special energy fields at power places that facilitate healing and transformation. Natural ionization occurs at power sites and ionized air is known to affect hormone levels, brain function, and consciousness. Air ions are charged molecules of common gaseous elements in the air, which form when uncharged stable molecules lose or gain an electron due to some disruption. Negative air ions carry an extra electron, producing a negative electrical charge. In nature, the catalysts of negative ions include waterfalls, ocean breakers, evergreen forests, caves, the summits of mountains, and the presence of unusually strong electromagnetic fields at power spots. An abundance of negative air ions invigorates us, reduces fatigue, stimulates the immune system, and helps open the portals of the mind to alternate realities. The spirits that inhabit power points are ready and willing to communicate their energies to those who come in gratitude, openness, and humility. Butterfly Medicine protects sacred power places and facilitates transformation.
The Cycle of Transformation
Butterfly Medicine is all about transformations, the element of Air, and mental powers. Butterfly can bring clarity to your mental process, help you organize the project you are undertaking, and assist you in finding the next step in your career or life path. The power that Butterfly brings to us is akin to the air. It is the mind, and the ability to know the mind or to change it. It is the art of transformation. Butterflies teach us by example about self-transformation. Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of completely changing its genetic structure. During the process of transformation, the caterpillar's DNA totally changes into that of a butterfly. Thus, it is the symbol of the never-ending cycle of transformation.
To use Butterfly Medicine, you must determine your position in the cycle of self-transformation or transmutation. Like Butterfly, you are always at a certain station in your life activities. You may be at the egg stage, which is the beginning of all things. This is the stage at which an idea is born, but has not yet become a reality. To bring an intended pattern into being, you must first undergo a self-transformation. Make a clean sweep of negative, limiting, or otherwise outmoded patterns, and then start anew. The larva stage is the point at which you decide to create the idea in the physical world. The cocoon stage involves going within; doing or developing your idea or project. You must listen to your inner voice. The final stage of transformation or transmutation is the leaving of the chrysalis and birth. The last step involves sharing the colors and joy of your creation with the world.
The Rhythm of Transformation
The above linear image is Hexagram 50 from the I Ching, the ancient Chinese oracle and "book of change." It is known as Transformation. This hexagram image symbolizes the transforming power of intent (wind) when aligned with the clarity and flow of intuitive mind (fire). It implies that you must rely on your intuition to guide you toward your intended objective. Following the intuitive sense connects you to the guiding forces of the cosmos. When you renew the flow of intuitive mind, synchronous activity appears within consciousness as the most natural thing to do. Whatever it is, it will carry you to what you need to do next in order to embody your idea in the material world. Just as a caterpillar emerges as a beautiful butterfly from the cocoon, so this cycle of transformation will give wings to your vision.
More importantly, this hexagram image depicts a particular drum pattern that renders the essence of the hexagram into sound (see my book I Ching:The Tao of Drumming). The pattern image or six-line configuration is the visual representation of an archetypal condition. The I Ching is a codebook of archetypal patterns, in which the hexagrams counsel appropriate action in the moment for a given set of circumstances. While the pattern image symbolizes a particular condition, the drum pattern pulsates a particular resonance, which stimulates, works with, and informs the body, mind, and spirit in the most optimal manner for effecting change or harmonizing with change. A solid yang line _____ symbolizes consolidated, unified energy moving upward or forward and represents one beat. A broken yin line __ __ symbolizes collective, cooperative energy pressing downward and represents two beats or one heartbeat. All I Ching hexagrams are read or played from bottom to top.
The rhythmic pattern of Hexagram 50, Transformation is depicted below. To play the rhythm of Transformation, you simply drum a heartbeat, followed by three single beats, followed by a heartbeat, ending with one final beat, and then pause before beginning the cycle again. Follow your inner sense of timing as to both the tempo and time span to drum. Trust your inner timing. It connects you to the resonances affecting you at this moment in time.
Line 6 _____ drum
Line 5 __ __ drum—drum
Line 4 _____ drum
Line 3 _____ drum
Line 2 _____ drum
Line 1 __ __ drum—drum
While drumming, you should have a receptive attitude of calm, positive expectation. Such resonant receptivity allows whatever factors or forces are present to fully penetrate your senses. Any attempt to analyze or conceptualize the experience will only fragment the resonant field. The key is still the mind and focus your attention on the hexagram image. As the drumming progresses and your inner image of the hexagram becomes clearer, close your eyes and feel yourself being carried away by the rhythm, as if going on a journey into yourself. With time and patience, the rhythm archetype will begin to release a rush of intuitive ideas. Inspiration and insight regarding the unfolding pattern of your destiny may flow into your awareness. However, it is not essential that you become cognizant or consciously aware of any particular insight or guidance. Simply resonate in sync with the vibrational pattern of the hexagram. The qualities needed to transform a personal vision into a reality will interpenetrate every aspect of your being. These qualities will be engendered in you and resonate out to influence all aspects of your experience in the same manner.
After drumming the hexagram, repose in the sonic afterglow of physical and spiritual well being. When the final drumbeat fades into silence, an inaudible, yet perceptible pulsation persists for a brief period. This silent pulse is ever present within each of us, but our awareness is rarely in sync with it. Sense this silent pulse resonating within your body. You may experience the sensation of every particle in your body pulsing in sync with the rhythm you just played. This inner pulse entrains to the rhythmic pattern as soon as you begin to drum. This synchrony of inner pulse with the appropriate hexagram rhythm brings you into accord with the dynamics of change.
Opportunity for Transformation
Butterfly Medicine reminds us that we need to allow ourselves to adapt to changes taking place either within us or surrounding us. We should make necessary changes when the opportunities present themselves. Change is inevitable, but Butterfly teaches us that it does not have to be traumatic. Butterfly teaches us that growth and change can be as gentle, sweet, and joyful as we wish. We should emulate the magical butterfly by moving out of the caterpillar stage, cocooning ourselves within the opportunity for transformation and waiting with seeds of patience for our final manifestation.
Watch out! When you encounter Butterfly Medicine, be prepared to undergo some form of transformation or internal growth.
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Drake