There is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.

Buckminster Fuller


Let me tell you about the butterfly. It is an image of transformation. It is not just any image. The journey from egg, to chrysalis, to caterpillar to butterfly, is one that serves uniquely as an image of personal transformation.

The butterfly is such a common image in nature and art, but this does not mean it has no depth.  Images along with the potential that they have to stir the soul, are some of the most sacred potentialities on this journey we call life.

In my work as a psychologist, I have seen butterflies show up in many dreams and fantasies with people from all walks life.  The butterfly image tends to come in a dream when the psyche is pointing someone toward transformative potential, toward significant change.

A young man I know, somewhere in his twenties, shared with me an experience that he had with a butterfly.  Feeling lost and in despair, he went out into a wooded ravine close to his home.

Sitting by a path under a tree, a painted lady butterfly landed on his leg. He sat, mesmerized, he told me.  A few days prior to this experience with the butterfly, he had started reading a book on psychology with the image of a butterfly on the cover. At the time of the butterfly landing on his leg, he had some knowledge of Jungian psychology and the idea of synchronicity.

This was a turning point in his life, he explained. The numinous experience, or synchronicity, touched his soul and was a harbinger of his own transformation.


A butterfly lands

Just there, on the path ahead

The smell of the sea