The Caterpillar and Butterfly: Story as a Language of the Soul

Eating CaterpillarHow does your soul speak?  The language of the soul includes imagery, poetry, story, music, movement and other forms of expression that carry us beyond the mind.  In today’s blog post, I call to your soul by retelling Aesop’s Fable XII The Caterpillar and Butterfly.  Afterwards, I pose several questions for reflection.  I invite you to relax into the depth of your soul and await its response.

Once Upon A Time there was a caterpillar who noticed a tender, yellow-green leaf dangling from an upper branch of a nearby tree.  The caterpillar wormed its way to the trunk of the tree and carefully climbed skyward.  Reaching the level of the leaf, the caterpillar crawled onto the branch.  He steadied himself with six of his rear legs and extended himself into the air, stretching toward the luscious leaf.

Suddenly, a small voice called from the ground.  “Stop!  You will fall and die.  Don’t die.  In time you will fly!”

The caterpillar squinted into the underbrush and noticed a crawling insect much like himself.  “How can you even suggest that?” he asked.

“I did not know myself until I met a beautiful, winged creature who told me she had been a caterpillar.  When I said, ‘Don’t mock me,’ she replied, ‘Cease doubt!  The past was wonderful but the now is even more delightful!  This is how I spend my days.  I dance with the breeze.  I flit from fern to flower.  I no longer fear being crushed beneath hoof or foot and others delight in me!’  With that, she clapped her wings and flew away in a dazzling kaleidoscope of color.  Listen to me and catch my hope for the beauty and joy that await us!”

The caterpillar had set his sights on the succulent leaf and he could not be swayed.  “The now is mine, the now, alone.  The future is a dark unknown.  You live with hope and chance.  I vow to live for the pleasures and joys of now.”  He reached for the leaf, lost his footing and fell into a tangle of stickers.  Writhing among the thorns, he regrets his choice and then dies.flying butterfly

His comrade keeps his eyes on his hope for wings and, one day, he flies!


What changes might arise from maintaining a both/and viewpoint rather than the either/or perspective depicted in the fable?

What are the gifts and challenges of living in the now?

What are the gifts and challenges of holding a hope-filled vision for transformation?

How does your soul want to respond to the opposing perspectives that are currently active in your life?

About catherine grytting

healer, teacher, spiritual counselor, artist, writer, musician
This entry was posted in deepening into soul. Bookmark the permalink.

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