Feedback About my Course I am Attending.

I am almost half way with the course I am attending: Art of individuation. It is a very stimulating and thought provoking course and is based on the psychologist: Carl Jung’s theories. It incorporates art as well, so it is a trans-disciplinary course. Along the way we learn words like trans-disciplinary, post-modernity, hyper-modernity and the difference between individuation and individualism. It is a highly intellectual course on the one hand but also very practical on the other. It would be very hard for me to explain the theoretical content and it would be better for you to join the course next time it is run if you are interested in art and psychology. What I am going to attempt to do is share a little about my practical application without getting too personal as well as theoretical. At a later date I will also speak about the experience.

Today I will explain my first step in the application of the subject. We were asked to think of an image (either visual like a painting or sculpture or a piece of music, dance, poetry or even a dream that meant a lot to us and over time helped our development ) preferably the image should be from one’s childhood memory, and the earlier the better. This would be our creative symbol that we would work with over the duration of the course. It was easy for me because as soon as the lecturer mentioned the task I remembered an image.

A description of my image: “Butterfly wings” ballet dance.

My creative symbol is a ballet dance of the butterfly in a pantomime. The wings were red chiffon painted with a gold glitter in a pretty pattern. The chiffon flowed and fluttered in response to the arm movements. I was 6 years old and I was one of the dancers. As I put on the wings I became the butterfly. The beauty was captivating and dazzling. I had recently heard about the Garden of Eden and in my mind I was a butterfly in the Garden of Eden.

I was enthralled by the costume wings and how they changed the dancers into butterflies (in character) in that dance on stage I existed to dance, to be beautiful, to dazzle, flutter and twirl: independently existing from the observer – totally in my own world; observers being the audience – parents, teachers and friends. I was me, totally free.

My knowledge of butterflies grew as I grew older: metamorphosis and symbolism

At first I only knew that butterflies existed, and I connected with the beauty and grace of the butterfly costume.  The ability to fly and float on the air and the breeze; to move effortlessly as it pleases as opposed to being stuck. I was particularly fond of butterflies and suitably horrified when I discovered one of my classmates use to catch butterflies and pin them to a board while still alive.

Five years later I learned that they have a life cycle: egg, worm, pupa and butterfly. I became very interested in the process called metamorphosis as I had a school project of drawing and studying the butterfly. As I passed into puberty I felt like I could identify with the worm becoming pupa and eventually the promise of being a butterfly. It was the message to a floundering young girl to have hope and hang onto becoming (mature) or growing up. It’s the typical metamorphosis symbol of changing, growing, and transformation. I felt ugly but I had hope. I felt lost but I had hope.

In adolescence, when I was 14, I was given a beautiful dress by a man in my life. The dress was soft, shiny and white with little black spots that reminded me of butterfly wings. The dress made me feel like a beautiful butterfly and womanly. In my innocence I didn’t realize what in retrospect I think was an inappropriate gift and feels much more like grooming but the dress continued the red thread in my story. Later I designed and embroidered a butterfly emblem which I was going to sew onto my clothes but coming out of the 60’s culture my 70’s culture that I lived in told me that it was an evil symbol and that I should get rid of it; but I still have it now.

Still later, days after the birth of my first child, I had a dream that I was a Butterfly-Woman wearing that same white dress. In my dream I floated up above and hovered over a Knot garden; my dress lifted up like butterfly wings. I felt beautiful and complete. When I awoke I knew that having given birth was like a rite of passage into motherhood. This dream was acknowledging my journey. It felt like ecstasy. 

Today the butterfly metamorphosis symbolizes my soul or spirit becoming more and more whole. As I look back over my life I have journeyed the lifecycle of that butterfly many times over. Each part of the many pieces of me has had to do battle: strive, survive and thrive; and each part has had to call up the endurance of the worm, the patience and faith of the pupa and the belief that I would fly with dignity, grace and beauty. Metamorphosis has become the sophisticated symbol with its roots in the childlike joy of the butterfly dance; I change and transform many times over in life; letting go of the old, the past and the former me, expanding into the ever present. 

How this image speaks to me now:

Let go, let go of the past, and don’t let it define you. You change:  yes you were a baby, a grub, a worm but now you are that beautiful butterfly dancer now. Let your wings dance upon the breeze, move and flow and don’t get stuck. Step out of your cocoon (your comfort zone). You have your exoskeleton that protects you. You don’t need that cushion around you anymore. Believe you are free because you are. You do not need to take on or put on a costume or dress or perform to be who you are meant to be; you just have to be you. You are already you. Enter in with that child’s joy and total abandonment.

Metamorphosis. Pen, pencil and ink mandala of the cycle of life, by Morag Noffke 2006

Well, that was the first step and I am going to leave it there for today. Do you have a symbol that comes to mind that has been helpful to you over the years?

Have a great week ahead,

26 thoughts on “Feedback About my Course I am Attending.

  1. Morag, I am totally blown away by your inspiring, moving, spiritual story. I was deeply moved and amazed at your skills used to weave this true story. I haven’t read all of your blogs but this is the most inspiring one I ever read. Thank you for sharing these ideas and your gifts in writing and art.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow Morag, what a beautiful story of your dreams of the amazing butterfly! These type of courses, where some self-reflection are done, can drain you emotionally (but in the long run, it will also built you to be strong and to become that beautiful butterfly)!
    Good luck with the rest of your course 💌.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes you are absolutely right, it has drained me a lot but I am also getting a lot out of it. Thankfully Derek is patient about house work 😜it gets done… But as and when I get the time. Thank you for your time and input ❤️🌷💖

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  3. So rich…the art below is stunning. So much to reread .Many thanks for sending this to me. ..I will ask for guidance perhaps a dream because right now, nothing comes to mind….. ..oh wait a minute, there it is….the elephant in the coloring book that I was handed with crayons and told to color by my mother and told not to color outside  the lines. I took my grey crayon and colored a small circle in the center of the creature, so afraid was I  to make a mistake. I feel tears coming. The shy withdrawn skinny girl… I will sit with this….thank you, thank you.

    .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow this is a tender, precious and painful memory… I hope something beautiful comes up.. Like a Phoenix where one feels reduced to cinders or ashes but something can be resurrected from it. 🤗

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  4. and I am still small when my mother and I went to visit my Aunt Jane. She hands me a Golden book, the “Saggy, Baggy Elephant” and I am so surprised to receive a gift for nothing, no occasion, just a gift. One of my first memories of kindness… That was not my favorite Golden book but I now savor the whole memory..

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  5. This beautiful story of butterfly took me back to my school days, when I was reading metamorphosis. But the way you equated pupa turning into a butterfly with an adolescent growing up as a woman is marvellous. Your course is certainly going very well. Thanks for sharing this update 🙏💐

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  6. Goodness, Morag! This is extraordinary! I’m currently reading about meditation with the aim of including it regularly and consistently into my daily routine. In my tentative first steps of practice, one of my insights was just what you write about here in that I keep returning to specific dreams from my childhood. I won’t go into detail but your post here adds another layer in my quest. Thank you for sharing this post with us 💝💐🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are most welcome, Ashley. I am delighted to hear that you are aiming for regular meditation and also glad that another layer could be added to your quest through anything that I have written, I feel humbled at the thought. Enjoy your adventures with meditation. 🌈💖🌷🙋‍♀️

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  7. This is so beautifully written Morag, and your analogy with a butterfly, deep, reflective, very-sensitive and thought-provoking. It’s lovely to learn how you saw and see yourself. I think it’s true, that you just have to be you — this is something that I have started practising at the ripe old age of 57 and it feels so freeing!
    I’m looking forward to hearing more about your enlightening course…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your mandala of the cycle of life is beautiful. Thank you for sharing the first step, about change, it relates for sure to the archetype of the self manifested in different symbols, such as the mandala which plays an important role in Jung’s theory and also signifying the wholeness of the psyche. Very inspiring <3, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely comments 🙋‍♀️💖 Jung’s psychology is fascinating although not everyone’s cup of tea. Some of his thoughts can’t really move with the times but I think those that teach his work do try to make it relevant for now. I even find that fascinating how we have evolved. It’s always interesting to see what others believe too.

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