“Your time as a caterpillar has expired. Your new wings are ready.”
I came across this little adage today, and it truly spoke to me.
The recent Women’s Circle Cacao Ceremony was inspired by the spirit of the Butterfly — one of the most emblematic totem animals symbolizing transformation.
The butterfly guides us to be sensitive to our personal cycles of expansion and growth, as well as the beauty of life’s continuous unfolding. An important message carried by the spirit of the butterfly is about the ability to go through important changes with grace, beauty and lightness.
Butterflies remind us that life is a dance and not to take things quite so seriously. They invite us to move, feel the sweetness of life, celebrating all of life’s currents — joyfully.
One source calls on the butterfly as “The Lord of Change”, touching death in its metamorphosis.
The Butterfly is an important symbol for Easter, its whole life cycle symbolizing the life of Jesus Christ:
The first stage is the caterpillar, which stands for His life on Earth; the second, cocoon phase corresponds to the crucifixion and burial of Jesus; the third and final stage is the butterfly, representing Christ rising from the dead in a glorified body and peace.
And Spring arrives, powerful, vibrant — so very alive! — as new shoots push up through the ground, victorious, leaving the dark Winter depths behind.
What about you, then?
- Are you going through important changes in your life?
- What might you leave behind?
- What is your new calling?
You may wonder, must there be death for new life to emerge? Must one door close before another opens?
It’s not a coincidence that ancient spiritual traditions, including Tantrism, Taoism and Shamanism place emphasis on death and darkness rituals and meditations, sleep/dream yoga and practices that embrace impermanence and transcendence.
But let me share a more personal story:
Like the butterfly, I’m touched by death in my own metamorphosis.
My brother’s sudden passing at the age of 39 was a monumental event that changed me completely. I was 29 at the time and the immense shock and pain I — and everyone in my family — felt redefined my sense of self, my perception of reality, and caused me to feel and think deeply about what it means to be human, and what truly matters in life and in relationship.
One practice spontaneously emerged and continued, as a daily practice.
I simply asked myself one question each night, before going to sleep: “If I die tonight, am I OK with my day?”
I would go over my day mentally, forgive myself and my day, and drift off to sleep with a feeling of weightless equanimity.
Every single day, for a whole two years, I practiced asking myself for acceptance and forgiveness in this way. It was a simple process.
- Are you willing to let go of self-criticism?
- Accept yourself and life?
- Forgive the past and everyone in it?
Keeping to this simple practice turned out to be a good way to live. I was able to challenge myself, my beliefs and my closures just a little more each day. Years went by.
Then, when my father passed away nearly 7 months ago, it was a very different experience.
In the intervening years, I had adopted a deeply spiritual attitude to life and death, and was more attuned to our souls’ movements. I had taken time to connect, to engage and to be as available to life and my loved ones as I could. Preparing for death meant that I prayed, meditated, forgave and released history. I sought to soften patterns, to heal and purify my internalised parent-child relationship, preparing for the inevitable moment of death, reclaiming more of my true self in the process.
My father passed peacefully on the day of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary — a major feast for the Orthodox Christians — whilst I was in ceremony. So many prayers and blessings accompanied his passing…
I felt him free, loving and at peace, as I recognized, once more, the kind of love he’d taught me. Generous. Steadfast. Kind. Wholehearted and pure. A love without condition or attachment. A love that set me free.
We entered yet another critical phase, as a family, and I spent the next few months showering my mother with all the love and attention I could. Feeling intensely, preparing for whatever was to come. Ultimately, death.
We celebrated Christmas and the New Year. We celebrated her birthday.
She seemed a little perkier, despite all her ailments and pervading grief.
Then, a few weeks ago, she became very ill. I travelled to be with her. I meditated, prayed, connected with her as best as I could. I felt into my heart and soul. I felt her soul. Sadly, she passed away.
I had been preparing for years. I was also unprepared.
In truth, there is no precedent for any new moment. Especially that moment of realization with all its finality.
And my mother was… well, my mother.
One who loved dearly and passionately. She showed me what it means to love in technicolour. She was affectionate. Caring. Compassionate. Fierce. Playful. Wise. Demanding. Surrendered. And much more besides.
Here they are, my parents during their courtship.
Their love lasted a lifetime. I dare say, it continues.
The strange, enlivening, grief-stricken liberation that death brings leaves me feeling and contemplating even deeper.
I’m looking at their relationship, the love they shared, the life they built for themselves, the family they created — and my own part in it, my contribution and inheritance.
Sure, there was dysfunction and love exchanged not blissfully, but in pain, fear, ignorance.
There was also another truth: a love between souls, sharing gifts, lessons. They served each other and every other soul whose life they touched.
The same is true of you. Your loved ones. Everyone.
It’s through our feminine love essence that we open to our aliveness, the currents of awesome, ecstatic life force dancing. It’s through our masculine depth and clarity of presence that we behold the greater truth and set ourselves free. It’s by following our soul’s calling that we discover unique gifts to share, enriching the cosmic kaleidoscope of reality as we know it.
Ask yourself then, as if this is the last day you have on our beautiful planet:
- Am I at peace, being the man/woman I am today?
- Am I sharing my innate gifts as best as I can?
- Am I as open, present and loving as I can be?
I urge you to find acceptance and forgiveness, and then commit to your own personal transformation and evolution.
Because, whilst life is eternal and there’s no beginning and no end, this particular lifetime, you, in this body, right here, right now now, only exists this once.
Your life matters. You matter. Life would not be the same without you.
It’s time for you, for all of us, men and women, to live and love in more enlightened ways.
If your heart urges you to die to old patterns, closures, comforts, fears… just do it.
If you must leave behind what you learned and believed about yourself, because you know it doesn’t serve… just do it.
If it’s time for you to be more than your parents’ child… just do it.
Even if you’re not sure what awaits you next.
Like the caterpillar, you may have to turn to mush, before you emerge with new butterfly wings.
Trust that you will. And I’m here to help.
I look forward to welcoming you to more Soul Mate Connections workshops and events, Women’s Circle meetings, Cacao Ceremonies, and new online and in-person mentoring programmes soon.
Please look out for announcements, including a change to the summer retreat.
Love and Easter blessings,
P.S. Soul Mate Connections returns to the Mind Body Spirit London Festival for the third year running. Part of the Love Dome series on Sunday, 1st May, 5pm — free with your Festival Pass.
P.P.S. Tempted though I was, I didn’t write more about death, sex and God this time, but these are Mykonos’ favourite topics — I’m referring to David Deida’s mythical teacher in “Wild Nights”. Definitely worth reading, if you haven’t already.