Monday, April 23, 2012

Attributes of the moth

"Moths of Orange County, CA," photographed by Peter J. Bryant
A pair of comet moths, photo by Johan Nijenhuis

By now, which means after more than three years of blog writing,  some of my secrets have been pulled from under the couch cushions and put on the table.  Among these are the revelation that I find life to be teeming,  jumping with symbolism, that I willingly allow a representative portion of something to stand in for the still-to-come whole, that metaphor is my native language and very little is only what it seems.

In a short, perhaps five-minute segment of a recent podcast, there was a meditative exercise in which  listeners were directed to find a spirit guide.  The practitioner spoke of eagles, for the ability to fly would be required of the guide.  Mine arrived.  It was a moth.

It may be my most basic belief that we are here - wherever we are geographically, emotionally, physically in this moment - to be of assistance to each other.  Assistance, in this case, can mean anything.  Without rushing to Google, I thought of the moth, an extreme example of transformation, starting life as one form and becoming a different creature.  I am not who I used to be. Teachers, awareness and opportunities continue to find me, carrying me out of dimness, discouragement, into a brighter land.  Mulling and pondering - and daydreaming - are natural states, taking the measure of a situation, mostly by intuition, interpreting, perceiving, feeling.  Feeling my way toward knowledge, insight, information.

When I looked into what moth brings as a totem  I found: the ability to perceive with clarity, strong healing abilities, protection for traveling between darkness and the light, finding light in darkness, metamorphosis and, in common with the phoenix, rising from the ashes, in moth's case of the flames to which it is drawn.  What better sidekick?

The title above is one of those, "Quick, write this down," flashes that fill the scraps I mentioned in the previous post.  Attributes of the moth.  Forgive me, please, if I repeat myself.  Life as I have come to know it is fraught with meaning; likely it always was, but I had no skills.  These, too, are days of myth and fable, truths revealed in waking, walking dreams.  No wonder fiction explores parallel universes, wormholes, wrinkles in time.  How else to explain being conscious of treading the ordinary path of oil changes, bill paying, medical procedures, clothes that need washing or detecting an unpleasant odor in the refrigerator and, in the same moments, seeing the story within the story, the plan behind the random event, the bigger picture. 

For some of you, this will be like my talking in tongues.  That may be a fair comparison.  The best we can hope for is to know our own truths and to allow others to know theirs.  If we share common ground, there is much to discuss.  If not, I may be found in a somewhat unkempt state wearing soft clothes that feel like pajamas, pencil-callused fingers turning the pages in The Great Big Book of Moths.


Melissa Green said...

Marylinn, this may be the very best post you've ever written--so clear, so compelling, so wise it brought tears to my eyes. Transformation is everything, as it always has been, and now you know it too, fervently and joyously. The moth is a fabulous totem for you, the pictures are gorgeous, and metaphor is certainly your native tongue, even if you are just in the middle of its discovery. Yes, yes and more yesses! You've hit the golden heart of life's bull's eye. Brava! xo

Lisa H said...

I LOVE the concept of Moth as your totem....I always joked that mine was probably a bat, one of those scary lizard Water Dogs or some other Outsider, Renegade Creature.

I strongly suggest that you design a Moth rubber stamp. One with that special Marylinn Something.

Anonymous said...

and in wearing those pajamas, others will recognise you..

I think it's allwe want.. to be recognised. The moth sees you.

Gorgeous green one there... hope that was the one that was your advocate.

Rubye Jack said...

I like what you say about our purpose here is to be of assistance to each other. Not such an easy task. I think most of us want to help each other but simply don't know how and we also don't know how to ask. The moths are beautiful aren't they? Plus the idea of transformation is so appealing that it is even better than their beauty.

Mel said...

I hopped over here from 37 Paddington. You had me at moth. I've always been obsessed with them, but never thought of them as my totem. They must be. Of late, I am becoming irrationally obsessed with finding a way - a foundation, a grant, an entomology department, anything or anyone - to work on re-establishing moth populations in the US. The big ones are so hard to find, thanks to gypsy moth eradication. I think they are magical, and I believe they are indicators of ecosystem health and I feel this pull to do something for them, maybe just to pay them back for a lifetime of enchantment and insight they have given me. I wish to give them assistance I guess.

I may be talking in tongues too. But I have enjoyed reading through your posts and will be visiting more often.

If you would like to see some of my moth photos, click on the What's in a Name tab under my header photo at LunaSecrets. I could talk about moths forever.
Nice to meet you, Mel.

susan t. landry said...

i am a moth lover, as well.

i think we need to have a Moth Ball.

love, susan

more later, on this; i am allofasudden inundated with work (at 4;45 pm, after sitting her patiently all afternoon...grrr.)

Marylinn Kelly said...

To All - I can't wait for computer time tomorrow to respond to your comments. We DO have things to discuss. Until then, thank you. xo

Jayne said...

Whoa, Marylinn, look at those comet moths!--talk about science fiction! (Btw the way, I loved your last post, for Leon, but I'm leaving my comment to tell you so here in the parenthetical. The first video's a gem.)

Plain spoken tongue. I feel a bit as though I'm on the same wave with you right now, Marylinn. I tend toward trying to find meaning in everything (especially of late), perhaps because I believe that there is meaning in nearly everything. Metaphors, messages abound, and we need only be open to receiving them.

Wholeheartedly agree with you on "to be of assistance to each other." My kids attend Catholic school, even though we are not truly practicing Catholics (although I was raised so, as have been the kids), because the underlying message--and a strong one at that, backed up by action and service--at this particular school is "we are here to serve one another," which, I believe, equates to the same thing as assisting each other. There is no world, no real, meaningful world, without such relationship.

This was just so wonderful to read, dear Marylinn. :)

susan t. landry said...

last night, crawled into bed with the book i am currently reading (The Trees in My Forest, by Bernd Heinrich) and turned--bu chance--to this page/passage:

"Not six feet from my head a blue-black moth fluttered heavily above the young ash trees. ... Moths are stunning creatures. Almost all of the relatives of this moth (family Arctiidae) have gaudy, intricate patterns of pinks, reds, yellows, and metallic blues. Their names--
Faithful Beauty,
Polka-dot Wasp Moth,
Scarlet-bodied Wasp Moth,
Snowy Eupseudosoma,
Agreeable Tiger Moth,
Delicate Cyncnia,
Red-tailed Specter,
Reversed Haploa,
Leconte's Haploa,
Yellow Bear,
bella Moth--
are as gaudy and fantastic as their colors."

RachelVB said...

I find moths in my poems a lot. Somehow they find a way into our houses. I'm always saving them from the cats I've had over the years. They are hungry for something, but are unafraid to be captured when needed. They are the stronger cousin of butterflies and I like that. They are night hikers.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - Thank you. Sometimes the inner critic wants the first word and it generally advises against speaking of that which we know and experience when it differs the ordinary. Happy Mothness. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - A moth rubber stamp (a moth tattoo, in my dreams). If one of those renegade, altered creatures showed up for you, it would bear strange and wonderful gifts. I think wings are always a plus. Wings and gills, even better. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Denise - The stunning colors, it looks like a costume for some moth ballet. To the untrained my, my moth would not be considered exotic, still I trust in its rightness and wisdom. Our helping hands will not always have five fingers. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rubye - To undergo such a profound change, that alone is enough to take from a moth messenger. It is not always easy to know what we may offer; listening is a place for me to start. As Denise wrote, we want to be recognized, which includes being heard, being seen. We can capable of giving that. xo

Robert the Skeptic said...

Of course one of the more compelling examples of biological evolution came from the example of the Peppered Moth in the UK. The moth had previously been white in a region where heavy industrialization had colored the bark of trees (where the moth lived) with a dark soot. The white moths, standing out against the dark background, were quickly picked off by birds. But the mutated darker moths survived and thereby propagated.

There's your moth success story for the day!

Marylinn Kelly said...

Mel - Hello and welcome. Thank you for sharing your link and I think, yes, with your passion the moth must have spiritual significance for you. This was the first time the blog title came to me and I needed to find what I was to write to support it. Without "moth" as one of the words, we might not have met. We speak the same language and I'm glad we now have a connection. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - Did I know about you and moths when I put one on your envelope? I don't think so. We'll need to keep the lights low at the Moth Ball.

I love the passage - and the serendipity - you shared on the extravagant names of the gaudy moths. With the information from you and Mel, I can see this is a much bigger deal than I knew, which pleases me. A lot. Thank you. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Jayne - I'm glad you enjoyed Levon and his low-key observations. So young there. He would have been only 35 when they shot THE LAST WALTZ and The Band retired from the road.

I do believe there is meaning in everything, not all of it obvious or easily accessible. Again, patience is expected of us. And yes, service and assistance are the same thing to me, not sure why I chose one word over the other. Service is generally how I think of it. I cannot imagine why else we would be here. That your children have this meaningful lesson early-on is a gift for all of us who will count on them to hold all this together.

Thank you. I am glad to have your company on this wave. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Night hikers, I like that very much. Forgive a BACK TO THE FUTURE reference: where we're going there are no roads. And we won't always be walking in the sunshine. I know it is not insignificant that a number of us blog friends have moths in common. When I revisit your posts, I will watch for moths, add to my dossier. More is always being revealed. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Robert - A true success story and glorious example of how (we) creatures find ways to adapt to seemingly impossible situations. Thank you. More moth lore; further evidence of transformation. xo

molly said...

pencil callused fingers... love that, among the rest of the gems here.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Molly - Thank you. I do not exaggerate about the fingers. So many years of coloring. xo

Donna B. said...

Always a joy listening to the way you talk when you write...stopping in to say Hi and give you a ((hug)).

Marylinn Kelly said...

Donna - A big hug back, so good to see your smile. Thank you. I am so very far behind with the blogs I follow and at least 47 other things and yet I write about how there is enough time. xoxo

Claire Beynon said...

Tears here, Marylinn, of gratitude and deep recognition. Bless you for your insights. You are a very great gift to us, placing these treasures on our communal table. xo

Charlotte Hildebrand said...

I like your sense of humor: "Life as I have come to know it is fraught with meaning; likely it always was...." beautifully written post.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you. I'm grateful that the communal table exists, a forum, a potluck supper. Without this, I'd be shouting at passersby from a street corner just off the freeway. Isn't timing everything? xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Charlotte - Thank you. What a treat to see you here, I'm so glad you visited and left a comment. xo