Wednesday, May 01, 2013


[The following is an excerpt from August's new book-in-progress on grief.]

He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6)

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
~ Buckminster Fuller

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Rabindranath Tagore

      The biological process of metamorphosis continues to be a mysterious, baffling event to scientists. Somehow, when a caterpillar builds and enters its chrysalis, it quickly dissolves into a “soup” where great changes occur—including cellular death—but then reassembles into an entirely new form. It emerges from its sarcophagus as a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly— arising alive, anew, and with completely different and dramatic behaviors, often including movement to a new geography. It generally survives for only a few more months. 

One wonders, is the butterfly in a better place than it was before as a caterpillar?

      This description sounds relatively simple, but the actual complexity of metamorphosis is mind-boggling, and would take more than one book to describe from beginning to end. Although the term is used here for a physical event, the dictionary also clearly indicates that people can undergo metamorphosis, dramatically changing in mental and psychological ways where they could be said to no longer be the same person. 

      Genetic change, or mutation, is the means of continuance for material expression on our planet. The butterfly’s process is also referred to as transmutation, because its genetic structure becomes completely rearranged. Its state of being is something entirely new. From a particular spiritual viewpoint of human death, transmutation is a mutation to a Risen state, or “geography.”[1]

      All this gives rise to many questions, including one that asks: are our transitioned loved ones still the same person we knew, or have they changed in form and behavior beyond belief, beyond recognition? And what about those of us left behind—have we been changed in baffling, mysterious ways? Are we now in some kind of different geography?

[1] Here, “geography” indicates a placement or residence of consciousness.