I've had a difficult and quiet past year and have clung to the idea of becoming a butterfly...eventually emerging as a daytime beauty with stunning wings fluttering and fleeting about without a care in the world. Perhaps I will hypnotize someone who watches me long enough to land on flowers and admire my delicacy. However, I’ve considered myself a messy moth, because sometimes I eat clothes and am more active at night. (Okay, I don’t actually eat clothes, but I do feel like destroying things sometimes.)
When I look at my life, I’ve been more of a behind the scenes type, working in PR or marketing...I’ve had the limelight on rare occasions and felt uncomfortable and exposed. I orbit others easily and I don’t like having photos of myself and don’t like to stand out including wearing a lot of black and gray. I used to think this meant I was hiding or didn’t love myself, but I’m seen by those who are important to me and that is enough. Like a moth, perhaps my beauty isn’t in my bright wings and instead my magnetizing mystical and magical inner parts that come alive at night--some might call it soul.;)
I’ve realized that I was underestimating moths and their power, being a social, shiny butterfly may not be me, or only a portion of me. Moths are phototaxic, meaning pulled to light, magnetized to it without almost a choice, even when it hurts them. Scientists and lepidopterists (butterfly and moth scientists and also a great word to have in the vocab) have many theories about why, though my favorite is about them navigating migrations at night with the moon. Some suggest they have a geomagnetic compass system orienting them to Earth’s rotation and the moon. The invention of artificial light and fire throws off their compass as they don’t move toward it but can move around it as well.
I'm often up late at night moonbathing and despite my best efforts to balance my vata, I seem to be a night owl. My desire pulls me towards the light of others....unfortunately it's rarely my own.
The day I moved into my apartment there was a large moth on the largest wall of my new bedroom. I didn't think much of it, but noticed the first night I had dreams about moths. Since moving out of the sparkly, shiney city I felt I was going to lose my lustre and excitable nature--it didn’t occur to me at first that the moth would be my guide for this transition. If moths symbolize the mystical and magical realms of life found at night and following our light then they personify desire itself something I consider my own compass...and to me the soul drives the desire car.
In astrology the moon represents our internal mode, our unconscious drives and needs, but also our homelief and relationship to our caregivers. Often my outer and inner worlds don't seem to intersect... a quality of my Pluto that hides how I feel. It seems to me that fate is with the moon, the inner soul flame and unconscious diviner. While I don't want this to be an astrology post, I do want to name that I see Sun in aspect to Pluto as more of a butterfly and Moon in aspect to Pluto, such as with me, as more moth-like in their transformation. I often feel so much going on that doesn't seem to externally be seen, such as with a butterfly or Sun-Pluto person who may evolve more visibly. My home and emotions house my transformation and therefore aren't things I necessarily show outwardly--except for the occasional blog post.
However, both moths and butterflies remind us of the life-death-life or birth-life-death process of existence. Both of them liquify in the cocoon to become “protein soup” and nothing more than eyes and wings. In this I see the ability to see (eyes) and intuition as well as the spiritual, higher dimension (wings). This trust and surrender to seeming death is the space I am beginning to resent. I’ve had months of so much physical discomfort I couldn’t get out of bed, had mired friendships and romantic relationships that have left me in confusion, and felt an immense shame of existing in general.
I feel like a soup of myself sometimes still, decimated as nothing more than my intuition and belief in my spiritual essence.
Butterflies and moths stay in the cocoon as mush for five to 21 days...some even three years if the conditions aren't quite right. That has been my past year, quietly waiting in the home for when I may feel safe enough to come out. Sorting through my body and the existential nature of being alive. Though this number of days seems small compared to the 8-9 months outside of the cocoon.
That being said, there are differences between moths and butterflies and how this may also shift our symbolic, soul-making understanding.
Butterflies have long, thin antenna, while moths have shorter feathery antennae. This suggests their way of feeling into the world is different, one keeps things close and one feels things farther out.
Butterflies generally gather food during the day while moths are seen more at nighttime. Moths being nocturnal and butterflies as diurnal as seeing things during the day and things that may not be so obvious at night.;)
Most moths make a silky cocoon, while butterflies usually make a shiny chrysalis. Moths make a “softer” cocoon and their counterpart has something shinier but more hard in texture. we even wear the softness of the moth’s transformation as silk, that boggles my brain. They are considered pests then for eating through it or wanting to be near our clothes that they may have in fact made.
Butterflies usually rest with their wings closed, moths with their wings open. I like this one the most...moths seem to be opening themselves where butterflies, in my on judgement perhaps don’t fully ant to be seen, only the parts they want.
Of course like all things, there is an exception/union in the midst--or mist depending on location. Enter my new favorite insect: The Madagascan sunset moth ho is brightly colored and active during the day. I consider it a hybrid of both...a flutter-by and a nightly (sometimes) nuisance. And this moth has become my guide for my soul-making a symbol that I can be both out in the world without losing my inner, magical depth.