In late June, I receive encouraging editorial feedback about the first draft of my book about Monarch butterflies. After reading the first few pages, my belly clenches and an inner voice says, “You can’t do this. How can you write about butterflies while the world explodes with hatred and war?” My years of devotion to raising, photographing, and writing about Monarchs feel trivial.
Simply admire them as they float over the garden with wings glowing orange in afternoon sun. Isn’t it enough to feel their little feet grasping my fingers before launching from the nursery to lay eggs or migrate? Does this struggling world need another book about butterflies?
A few days later, after talking with my dream therapist about the need for the Sacred Feminine in our world, I have a dream about Marion Woodman. In 1988 when I longed for a female teacher, I met Marion at a workshop she gave on the Black Madonna. She was the one–a Canadian Jungian analyst, writer, workshop leader, and founder of BodySoul Rhythms, integrating movement and art with dreams and mythology. In my dream,
I sit in a circle of mostly women and a few men with Marion in the middle. We discuss getting Marion’s ideas into the world and interesting more people in the healing work of the Feminine. As suggestions fly, Marion’s belly laugh fills the room. She asks for more ideas. We don’t want Marion’s insights about the sacredness of nature and soul to be washed away in a materialistic, violent world. Marion’s laugh is musical, sweet and joyful. She can’t do this sacred work alone. She needs help. She needs my help.
I awaken with gratitude for Marion and grief about her death in 2018. Her illnesses didn’t stop her teaching until her last years, and I don’t want my physical limitations to stop me from sharing the joy of Monarchs.
The morning after the dream, I get an email from a woman at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago asking if she can interview me for a podcast about Marion Woodman.
“Yes,” I write. “I’m honored.”
I wonder why they ask me, neither a Jungian analyst or therapist. I’m simply one of Marion’s many enthusiastic students who loves writing about her. My relationship to her stays alive in dreams and her precious letters.
The synchronicity of dream and interview request encourages me to dig deeper into the Monarch work. How do I share the miracle of transformation I feel working with them? It’s not so different from the feeling of a workshop with Marion. Both touch my heart.
I imagine Marion’s laughter as I describe searching for a Monarch egg smaller than a sesame seed and tending it until it becomes a butterfly. She would delight in the lunacy of my passion, each morning checking the porch nursery for new chrysalises in the mesh crates or looking for a tiny caterpillar emerged from an egg I collected in the field.
“Egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly. This is a four-fold image of a Sacred Feminine transformation,” Inner Marion says. “Keep watching and writing. Keep sharing your wonder and the next steps will appear.”
Do your dreams make you think more deeply about events in your life? Do you dream about important teachers or people you love?
For other posts about Monarch butterflies, see Monarch Medicine: A Meditation on Transformation. For other dreams about Marion Woodman and her letters, see Let the Warm Love Flow. With gratitude to Ellen Schmidt (Writing Room Workshops) who helps me write with precision and feeling.