Cycle of Life

Monarch Caterpillar devouring Milkweed courtesy of Bing.com

Now if you were to see this creature happily munching away on your beautiful milkweed plant, you would, without further identification, be tempted to get the spray and put an end to it, especially when it appears in large numbers, all chomping away at the same time.

Something about this creature was so magnificent that I paused to think about the cycle of life. Yes, the Monarch butterfly is beautiful, but it could not exist without this little creature happily munching away in preparation for its creating a cocoon to become something even more exquisite.

Can you believe that the beautiful caterpillar became this magnificent creature? Photo courtesy of Bing.com

Life is full of surprises, isn’t it? We never know how things will turn out. I remember well the song, Que Sera, Sera, when the girl singing is asking her mother whether she will be beautiful and loved when she grow up, and her mother tells her “Que Sera, Sera . . .” (Whatever will be, will be.) So perhaps in the destruction, perhaps temporary, of the beautiful milkweed plant that nourishes the Monarch butterfly, it too will return after its purpose is accomplished. I noted how many seed pods opened up and let the seeds with their fine feathery parts fly away to start more milkweeds. I know now that this is a beautiful life cycle that I will never fully understand, but I will always support for the rest of my life.

I have already decided to give my body to Science Care when I am gone so that perhaps just one part of me can help to nourish or make possible someone else’s life. My significant other, Richard, told me that his son was horrified when he told him that Richard and I are both donating our bodies. I guess my dead body could nourish the earth too as it decays and becomes fertilizer, but perhaps another human being needs desperately something, and I would love to see life go on. . .

P.S. For those of you who read Part I of a post below by Steve Tanham of the UK, you can read Part II under Sun in Gemini. Thank you kindly.

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A New Day Dawning . . .

Our Evolving Relationship with God

I have been transforming my relationship with God or The One over the past year, and I have given this beautiful statement from Richard Rohr a lot of thought for its truth. I have become aware of how everything in the universe is sacred and it was provided for us to give us everything we could need or want for nourishment, for thirst, and for protection from the elements if we but make it our purpose to look for it and use it wisely. I have become aware of how there are many, many forms of humankind on this earth, and we were put here so that we could all learn how to get along, and to help this good earth to continue to survive.

I love this little piece of writing because it rings true for us all, and offers us a way to what spirituality or religion is intended to be. These days when I have to end the life of a bug or I cut a rose, or perhaps fail to appreciate so-called weeds of the earth, I stop myself and think about it, and suddenly I can see the beauty that surrounds us in its many forms. We have derived words that devalue even the nature of creatures and plants that were put on this earth for a reason.

Now I spend time each day meditating on all of these things and so much more that is related to my relationship with God and with the universe. Things look different for I am changed too.

The Butterfly and the Circle

Circling Butterflies by Anne

Both the butterfly and the circle carry much positive symbolism. And for me, these symbols are especially meaningful. The little caterpillar moves carefully along branches and twigs, filling itself with green leaves and perhaps flowers, and being careful not to fall or get caught in a spider’s web. Generally speaking, the caterpillar has no real defense system, and it is vulnerable to everything around it from the moment it develops from an egg.

But then it begins to build a cocoon, surrounding itself and closing out all that it has known in its brief life. And in this time, it spends in a form of meditation and growth. After a set amount of time, it begins to beat its newly formed wings (a symbol of its transformation) until it is able to slowly release itself from the cocoon. It is no longer in any sense a caterpillar. This newly transformed creature now seeks the nectar of the most beautiful flowers. Its new-found freedom enables it to travel to new locations, even those far away from where it started its life. It has no fear of going where it has never been before. Often a group of butterflies will begin to circle higher and higher into the sky.

Ancient people throughout the world recognized the circle as a symbol of infinity, and of being whole and complete. Spiritual and Religious cultures recognize the circle as a symbol of the female and the feminine energy , and especially of Mother Earth. It represents a fertile and sacred space. In the U.K. and other countries, there are many circles of stones.

The circle also represents a cycle that can be the cycle of life, death and rebirth. It can represent being complete and whole as well. For the Celtics, the circle was a sign of protection, and may be the reason that many early fortresses, temples, crosses and other sacred things were in a circular shape or contained circular motifs. The circle is found in many other cultures and countries throughout the world as well.

As I have noted, my art often contains images or symbols that are sacred to me. The cycle of life, and of completion belongs with the butterfly and its life cycle and my own life.

wabi sabi

Wabi Sabi by Anne Copeland


This piece is not an angel, but a persona representing wabi sabi, a philosophy I love in this life. 

“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional.” – 
“Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers”, Leonard Koren

There is a lot more to this life philosophy, a later outcome of Zen, than what is stated here and it is well worth reading. 

When I think of wabi-sabi, I think of raku pottery, where the pots, when they are in their cooling stage, are taken and put into a bucket of leaves, papers, or other various natural materials that give the pottery its beautiful sheen.  Raku pottery is my favorite, because I enjoy any art form that has a stage where you cannot be in control any longer.  You have to accept that which is perhaps imperfect, and for me, that has always been a pleasant experience.

This version of wabi sabi, in keeping with the philosophy, uses recycled coffee filters for the aura and the wings, and shows only one hand, holding a broken branch with a single leaf falling from it. The leaf has not reached the ground, so it represents all the things in the statement.  Although you may not be able to see it very well, there is a clock beneath the heart, and there is a single teardrop, for it reminds me that there is a beauty in this way of seeing life.