In August I travelled first to Wales where I attended one of many weekend trainings in Therapeutic Shamanism. On that weekend we did a Shamanic Journey, this is something that enables us to seek wisdom and healing from non-ordinary realms. During my journey I was given butterfly medicine. Three days later my husband and I boarded a plane to Slovenia where we were met with dozens of butterflies wherever we went.
So, what’s Shamanism got to do with Reiki?
Shamanism has several things in common with the indigenous religion of Japan, Shinto. Although Shamanism is not considered a religion, both respect and honour nature. Both see humanity as part of nature, not separate or superior to it. Shinto provides several roots in the Reiki teachings that I offer, fundamentally the concept that all beings/things have spirit and absolutely everything is connected to everything else.
A lovely series of strange coincidences
Back in Slovenia we had decided to walk to a mountain hut, one that was known for being near a beautiful waterfall. Butterflies flitted here and there, and I found myself drawn to one in particular. It sat quietly on a flower and I slowly reached out to it. Very gently I found myself able to touch it. Carefully, I stroked it’s wing and it just sat there allowing me this beautiful moment for some time.
I was vaguely aware of my husband taking photos of the moment from a distance. Photos that revealed another strangeness that I’ll share later. In the meantime, we carried on with our walk. We reached the mountain hut many hours later than we’d expected. There we enjoyed our first traditional Slovenian stew, which certainly beat the tourist menus of pizza and burgers. Followed by some traditional apple strudel which was rather yummy.
After filling our belly’s, we walked another half an hour to the waterfall and it was as stunning as we had hoped. The air so clean and fresh, the sound of rushing water resonating deep inside. On a pillar sat yet another butterfly. I reached out to this one too, it didn’t fly away at first, then it was disturbed by another tourist and flew around me a couple of times before landing on my hand. It sat there for some time. OK so I was starting to feel a real connection with Butterfly today.
What is Butterfly Medicine?
In a shamanic journey what we are shown by our guides and our power animal is referred to as medicine. It is a way of communicating a healing or message.
The obvious meaning and connection we have with butterfly is transformation or metamorphosis. Usually personal transformation, but what came to mind was more than that. What I sensed from ‘Butterfly’ was that they can show us a way of transitioning and transforming not just on an individual level but a global level.
Transformation is change in motion. Change is something that is happening all the time. Effective, positive transformation happens when we give deliberate energy and action towards it. But what about all the things that are happening in our world right now, seemingly big enormous things, scary things. Our governments, climate change and all that those things are impacting. It feels so big, huge, terrifying and let’s be frank quite astonishing at times.
How can butterfly help?
Every day we are changing, we are aging, learning, developing and the list goes on. The earth continues to spin, politics and policies are made in and out of our awareness. Our world is in a constant state of change. A constant state of motion.
Attempting to stop what is already in motion can be challenging. The bigger the thing in motion the more challenging it is to stop it. Sometimes it may even be impossible to stop it. What’s happening in the world right now seems like one of those big unstoppable things. Crazy politicians in positions of power, heat waves in February, viruses on the rampage taking people down for weeks or months.
The butterfly brings good news!
Stopping something big that is in motion is hard, maybe impossible but what we can do is influence it’s future direction. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, if it’s really big trying to stop it means you’ll probably get crushed by the weight of it. However, you could influence the direction of it and make sure it doesn’t knock down your prized rose bushes on route.
This is where your own personal transformation becomes relevant, because through your own deliberate energy and action we can begin to nudge the direction of that movement, that motion. And of course, this applies not just to the current political or environmental scenarios we face, but anything that is already in motion. Small deliberate actions to nudge the situation towards the change you want.
Every individual act counts when it comes to our own needs and our global needs.
Each small thing you do counts, it nudges the direction of any current motion. It’s easy to think that, that one time you remember to recycle or reuse. Or that one time you pick up a piece of litter from a park, or that one time you help an elderly member of your community cross a road that it won’t do much in the greater scheme of things. Well it does a lot more than you think, because it nudges things in a better direction, it can even start a whole new motion. Humans didn’t destroy and extinct an entire species of Rhino overnight, it happened because one person took here, another there, etc. All change happens with continuous small acts, we just want to make sure those acts are ones of kindness and future consideration.
Do you remember a time when someone did a small yet good deed for you? How much it meant to you at the time and how it’s influenced you in the future? That is change in motion, that’s someone who influenced change for the better. This could be you or me.
So next time you are despairing at the news or feeling hopeless about some situation that is ‘in motion’ and feels too big to stop – don’t try to stop it, try to influence it. Consider the butterfly effect, the idea that smalls things can have a huge impact over time, and a relatively short time. If one butterfly can cause a hurricane just by flapping it’s wings, what could you do?
The mysterious butterfly photographs
When I stopped and stroked that first butterfly, I would have sworn to you it was a white butterfly with orange/brownish spots on it’s wings. After our long walk to the waterfall and back we checked out the photographs we’d taken that day. First of all, as you can see the butterfly, I was stroking was a brownish/red butterfly but that’s not the strange part. In the series of photo’s my husband took a second butterfly had flown in and landed right by the butterfly I was stroking as I was stroking it. A white butterfly with orange/brownish spots. It almost appears ghost-like in the image and both my husband and I never saw two butterflies, only one in real life.