My totem animal… and why it’s taken me a long time to state the obvious.

My totem animal is the butterfly. It should have been obvious. I should have known it all along. It should not have taken me so long to accept it.

I love drawing butterflies when I’m doodling. As a teen I was jealous that MY name wasn’t Julia Butterfly Hill. If and when I ever get a tattoo, it will be or include a butterfly. My favorite part of the Bronx Zoo is the Butterfly Conservatory, and I always take lots of photos of them. When I worked at Girl Scout camp in 1999 and 2000, I needed a “camp name.” I became Butterfly not because I chose it, but because someone else suggested it because the shirt I was wearing at the time had a butterfly on it. I made tissue paper collaged butterflies in grad school in the style of Eric Carle when I was doing a presentation on his picture books (that’s the image above). For my first NaNoWriMo in 2007 I celebrated every thousand words I wrote by putting a butterfly sticker on the calendar. Butterflies were featured as a theme for my wedding, and the invitations featured the quote: “Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you” (Nathaniel Hawthorne).

So why did it take me so crazy long to realize that the butterfly is my totem animal?

I have no idea! That’s right, I am not even trying to explain it, even though my subject implies that I will. LOL.

But now that I’ve finally realized the obvious, here’s some info I found on what the butterfly represents as a totem animal.

Butterfly spends the first part of its life crawling the earth, before metamorphosis leads it to spin a home for stasis (known as a cocoon). After transforming, Butterfly is reborn as various beautiful colored winged creatures of the air.

This insect is extremely sensitive to the Harmony of Earth, and is the first creature to leave a damaged ecology. Butterfly’s graceful dancing-like appearance on flowers reminds us to find the joy in nature and make it a part of our life.

Butterfly enters our life as a messenger for change. If it comes to us hurt or ill, Butterfly asks us to stop keeping our joy at bay. It may take some time being alone with ourselves to listen to Butterfly’s gentle requests that we allow the natural transformation of things in our lives.

I knew the whole transformation thing, and I like that. I like the idea of constantly working to become a better person. And I do feel like I need to connect with nature more. I am interested in learning more about what the butterfly means to me, and what else it represents.

What about you? Do you have a totem animal? What is it? What does it represent to you and about you?

2 thoughts on “My totem animal… and why it’s taken me a long time to state the obvious.

  1. Pingback: Recent Art, Spring 2011 « A Desire to Get Creative

  2. Pingback: Freeing the butterfly « A Desire to Get Creative

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