Day 58. Ascending to Imbolc. What does it really mean to dissolve?
In February in A Year of Wild Wisdom, we work with Moth as our animal guide.
Like butterflies, they go into a chrysalis to metamorphosize, and in there they don't just sort of sprout wings to re-emerge. They, famously, turn into goo. They dissolve.
Everything that they used to be, is gone.
And their imaginal cells drive the process of transformation - even in the goo, somehow these cells hold the image of the moth or butterfly they will become and drive the changes.
Isn't that the coolest name for a cell ever?
And I love how it reminds us of the importance of being able to see beyond what's currently here, to have a vision, to be able to imagine something completely new and different.
This winter, like every winter, I have been crumbling. Some of it I am getting better at managing, through choosing what will be sacrificed to make space in the new year.
Some of it though...I'm not choosing and I am not ok with when it happens.
Personally, and globally, things are shifting all the time, and we go through periods of intense dissolving. The last two winters for me have been intense - even as I have got better at managing my SAD and moving with the seasons rather than against them and feel more peaceful, circumstances have kicked my arse.
There's this beautiful balance to be found I think between letting it go, mourning the loss and feeling the pain of the kicking, and beginning to imagine what comes next. This imagining isn't to be done in a bypassing way - moving too quickly on to more of the same is not what's needed here, nor is another different distraction. The imagining is about starting in the crumbled ground to imagine and then carefully build, from the cells up, a more beautiful future.
Hmm. That implies that I don't see caterpillars as beautiful...
So maybe rather than beautiful it's about a future that can fly. A future that includes COMPLETE transformation; the creatures come out of the cocoon not just brighter or more colourful, but with a completely new way of traversing the world. A new way of feeding.
I imagine Elephant Hawk Moth in their chrysalis deep within the ground. Melting.
In the midst of the dissolving, it can feel like chaos. And that's ok, it is and it's ok to admit that and be with it.
And then, there must come a tipping point for them.
With the first glimpses of warmth and light and a changing season come visions of what's new and possible. A new shape emerging from this chaos.
I'm not there yet. I'm still goo right now. But I can feel something is shifting.