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  • Writer's pictureKaren Crehan

Transformation is a beautiful thing.

Updated: Feb 2

For so very many years, the monarch butterfly did not make it as far north as to where I live in the Hudson Valley. I would donate to the charity to help the monarchs, because of the endangered species that they have become. I would also ask the Nature Angels to bring them to my garden, which is lush with milkweed.

2 years ago the monarch butterflies made it to my garden for the first time! I was so excited to watch the caterpillars devour the milkweed and later to find their chrysalises and keep progress on them until they actually turned into butterflies.

Sadly, not all of the butterflies made it. I learned that if they do not hang their chrysalis in a place that allows them to easily hang onto it and let their wings unfurl and dry, they can fall and they will not be able to fly.

A friend of mine who lives further upstate was bringing the caterpillars into butterfly enclosures which was safely kept outdoors until the butterflies emerged. I decided to buy two enclosures to use for the following year.

Unfortunately, last year the monarch butterflies did not make it back to my garden. There were no caterpillars. I felt sad and disappointed that they didn't come back.

This year, towards the end of summer, I saw some monarch butterflies in my garden! I was thrilled! And then I saw the female doing what appears to be a dance with the milkweeds as she laid her eggs on them.

The first monarch caterpillar I saw on one of the milkweed leaves was no bigger than the edge of my pinky fingernail. I debated about bringing them inside or letting them stay out in nature and survive without any human intervention.

A week later, I saw that they were much bigger and shared their pictures on social media pondering out loud if I should bring them inside or let them be. Monarch butterflies eat milkweed which makes them poisonous to birds but they can still be trapped by spiders or mistaken as something to play with by a cat. My friend did point out to me that they are not completely safe and I decided to bring them into the butterfly enclosure which I put on my deck. It is important that they still have the same temperature conditions as the outdoors.

I must have brought them in exactly at the right time because within 24 hours they started preparing for the chrysalis state. It was amazing to watch them.

First, they begin to find a place to establish where they will transform into their chrysalis. They remain perfectly still in this spot, almost as if preparing for the transformation that would be happening soon. This can last for hours. They then attach themselves to hang upside down in the shape of the letter J and again, for a number of hours, motionless. Watching them was very meditative for me. The j-shaped reminded me of J for Jesus, and the transformation that he has brought for all of us with his love.

Observing these caterpillars reminded me that sometimes you have to become really quiet and turn within, in order to have the transformation in your life that you want to happen.

The beauty of the chrysalis of the monarch is also something to contemplate. It is a lovely shade of jade green with gold sparkles and a gold seam that seals the caterpillar in.

No sooner than when I brought these caterpillars into their safe enclosure, we were hit with the remnants of Hurricane Ida. The storm came blasting through with heavy rains lasting all day and dropping more than 5 inches of rain. I was just so grateful that I brought these caterpillars inside because I really don't know if they would have survived in this weather. This reminded me to always trust your intuition, your inner voice that tells you to do something. Don't ever second guess it.

These chrysalises will now hang for about 2 weeks. From watching them 2 years ago, I know that the lovely shade of green will become a beautiful shade of blue. And then in the final chrysalis stage, you will actually be able to see their orange and black wings through the chrysalis. You can watch for hours waiting for the butterfly to emerge. You can walk away and come back and then all of a sudden, the butterfly will be out of the chrysalis. It is so beautiful to watch and amazing to wonder how this crawling caterpillar emerges with this slender body and beautiful wings. In the end, the chrysalis is clear. The beautiful shade of green color with gold is gone. The butterfly takes it with her/him.

To me, just as the name says, the monarch is the royal butterfly. The gold shows its' precious worth. The green shows us how it connects with the richness of Mother Earth. The bright orange color of their wings, connecting us with our sacral chakra, our soul, and then the strength and endurance for the long migration of this butterfly as it travels thousands of miles to Mexico for the winter.

What an amazing journey this butterfly shares with us! It shows us that anything is possible. Sometimes it takes a little help from a friend to make sure it becomes possible. This butterfly brings us so many messages. We are all here to grow and transform. Our transformation can bring us anywhere to both inspire ourselves and others.

Let yourself love the transformation because in the end, it will be an amazing journey.

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