Some people have asked me about why I chose an origami butterfly as my blog name and logo. There are actually several reasons but I’ll break it down into the two themes of butterflies and origami. First, the butterfly.
For the last year, I’ve been exploring the metaphor of a butterfly’s life cycle in regard to the life of Christ and the walk of Christians. It’s amazing how perfectly the metaphor holds true, especially if one envisions a monarch butterfly. It’s been a major theme in some of my personal art pieces. And while I don’t really collect much of anything except for dust because I never think to sweep, I have taken to collecting mounted and framed butterflies. If you’re interested, Kevin from Bug Under Glass does an exquisite job.
When Christ came to earth as something beneath His Godly nature; though the greatest of God’s creation, a human nature is but a lowly worm in comparison with his full God-ness. He was 100% man with all of man’s carnal needs and emotions, and yet the things I struggle with daily He bore perfectly. He is the perfect advocate who completely empathizes with me. Monarch caterpillars have these amazing stripes on their bodies, stripes, much like the marks Christ wore on His body at the end of His life. The caterpillar must then experience a form of death, an ending of its life as a caterpillar. It spins a chrysalis out of silk, a sort of death shroud or a tomb, if you will, where it appears nothing is happening but there is life and change inside. Days later, a butterfly emerges! Renewed, transformed, and His stripes have become His glory! He is a new creation. What really cliches the whole metaphor is that male monarch butterflies have these two black spots on their hind wings, almost stigmata like in their placement.
Butterflies have a great amount of symbolism connected with them. In Japan, a butterfly is a symbol for a young maiden, the soul, or souls of loved ones. In China, they are a symbol for love, knowledge, and wisdom. But the one I like is from the Greek. “Psyche” is the Greek word for “soul” and she is the wife of Eros (Cupid), the god of love, and she is usually depicted with butterfly wings. Christ defines Himself as Love itself with the Church as His maiden bride, a church of souls.
As Christians, we’re called to imitate the life of Christ; to walk a similar road. The metaphor still holds true. We start as mere, lowly worms, but simultaneously in a far worse state than that: dead in our sins! Through Christ, though, and the Holy Spirit, there is a metamorphosis of our soul through which we become something new and beautiful! We are no longer bound to the earth by the sheer bulk of our sin but are lifted up to heaven, free and able to delight in God’s glory.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2nd Corinthians 5:17
But in order for a butterfly to be able to fly, it must first push and squeeze itself through a tiny hole in its chrysalis. This is to expel all the fluids from its body leftover as a fattie caterpillar. The process is exhausting and, I think, painful. But it must be done or it can never fly. It must go through this trial in order to shed what’s holding it back. God never promises that we will be without trials in this life. But He does promise the strength to face them.
Now, there are 4 generations of monarch butterflies in a year. The first 3 generations become butterflies and only live up to 6 weeks. However, the fourth generation that is born in the fall must migrate over 2,000 miles to Mexico for the warmer climate and they live 6-8 months. Monarchs are the only insects that migrate. Isn’t it interesting how some butterflies, some souls, are called to a journey of thousands of miles?
Why a yellow butterfly? It just makes me happy. And want everything I do to reflect the joy I have in Christ.
Monarch image from here.