Animals of all types have found their way into my life and into my art. They show up at the most interesting times. Have you ever experienced a beautiful butterfly circle around you and land on a nearby flower or perhaps even closer? At a friend’s outdoor wedding ceremony, one landed on the bride’s shoulder, staying there for most of the ceremony. Butterflies are associated with transformation and also with those who have passed from this Earth. In ancient Greek the word for butterfly is psyche; it is also the word for soul. The bride’s husband had recently lost his mother. The couple believed it was his mom who wanted to be part of the service. Nature has a way of communicating with us when we need insight, guidance, and love. Every living creature on this planet is connected through energy cords from the smallest insect to the largest elephant (including us). If we believe that our words, thoughts, and emotions create our reality, then wouldn’t it make sense that when animals appear to us, they have something to communicate and teach us?
Insects, in general, have come to represent change since that is what their short life cycles are about. But each insect has different habits and adds something unique to the message. Like the butterfly, the dragonfly is about metamorphosis, but because it flutters around and changes directions so easily and frequently it has come to mean, for me, learning to see my current situation from another perspective or angle. Dragonflies, being creatures of water (they are born on the water’s surface), also take their meaning from that connection as well. Water is symbolic of emotions; therefore, they help us dive deeply into our feelings revealing to us what has been hidden deep within our cellular memories.
It is quite common for us to fear the unknown, and death is the ultimate mystery. Animals associated symbolically with death, such as owls, bats, and moths, are often misunderstood. Death isn’t always about the physical body. It can also signal an end of outdated ways of thinking and acting that need to be released. Any change is a sort of death since what once was, isn’t anymore. Owls are messengers of higher knowledge and wisdom (from the gods or our higher selves). Their intuition allows them the ability to see what others do not see. When the owl shows up, it means that something is going to change. There is nothing to fear. It is important to understand that it is a part of you that has brought to your consciousness new insights to help you transition from who you are to who you’re meant to be. And this might involve letting go or letting the past “die.” Bats symbolize the “Shaman’s Death.” The Shaman’s Death is associated with extreme change; everything in your life has to change (die) in order for the new to grow.
As scary as this sounds, I pulled the bat card in a reading years ago and although it was challenging letting go of the way I was used to living at the time (where I lived, with whom, where I worked, etc.), I ventured into a new much more rewarding life I could have never experienced if I had held on to my old ways. Moths have also been associated with passing. Although the moth might seem to be similar to the butterfly, there is a key difference. Moths are nocturnal, meaning they are active at night, while butterflies prefer daylight. Some moths have markings on their wings that remind people of skulls, but I think it is their association with darkness, what we cannot see and do not understand, that intimidates us.
When animals appear in your life (in person or in pictures) they have important information to share with you. Reflect on them and listen to what they have to teach you. They are your mentors and will guide you with profound insights that will help you along your path, but they will only reveal to you what you are ready to hear. Be open and allow their messages in. One last personal story: I have always had a soft spot for small frogs. My brother was connected to frogs as well. When he was young he would bring them home; he wanted to know everything about them. He passed away unexpectedly about six months ago. The other day a small frog hopped onto the windshield of my car that was parked right in front of a local store. I immediately took pictures of it on the windshield just before it hopped off. After it jumped onto the blacktop and into traffic I picked it up saving it from certain death. When I looked at the pictures I had taken, unbeknownst to me, there was a sign hanging in the store window just behind the frog that read, “This is me.”
Nadine Gordon-Taylor is an intuitive artist working with universal and intuitive symbols. She is the director of the SIA Gallery and Third Eye Arts Studio/Gallery located in Peekskill, NY. The Heart Path Oracle Deck is her newest creation. www.thethirdeyestudio.com. Ngtartist@optonline.net 914 523-8250