Finding Meaning in Life with Symbols
Brings inner calm, validation, and peace of mind
Let’s focus on the Butterfly,
Dreamcatcher, and Choice
Signs, signs, everywhere there are signs… are you paying attention so that you succeed in finding meaning in life with symbols?
Human beings love to make meaning out of anything and everything in their lives. We over-analyze, interpret, assume, and create and live out our stories. Let’s talk about meaning in life with symbols and I’ll share why I chose the butterfly for my logo and the dreamcatcher for my branding.
Symbols – as humans we seem to be wired to find meaning in everything in our lives. I find that nature, images, signs, and shapes bring us meaningful expression and grounding in times of need. Symbols are a way for us to understand ourselves, our wants, needs, and dreams. They are used in literature, television, movies, advertising… really everywhere once you open your heart and mind to see them.
The symbols for my logo is The Butterfly and I started out using The Dreamcatcher… but changed it this year as I wanted to make a conscious, honoring, choice about cultural appropriation.
Here’s my butterfly and finding meaning with symbols story:
My husband and I went to Aruba many years ago. There was a butterfly farm tucked away on a side road that we visited. It was a magical and mystical experience. I was enamored by the beauty of these creatures, their lives, and their meaning.
While there as I was walking through the farm, a visibly imperfect beautiful blue morpho butterfly landed on the center of my lower back and remained there for about two hours.
I allowed it gratefully to bless and be with me for the time I was there.
I have never forgotten this butterfly. I was asking it what it was there to tell me… and I heard nothing other than be patient, be calm, and wait. It will come… When the butterfly was complete (my words) it flew off into a tree.
And now that I write this, this butterfly was there to tell me to own my beauty, to feel good about myself, my life, body, work, and relationships. I hear it loudly now.
I have since learned that waiting is an empowering emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual space to be… and live in. Sure, I still get frustrated and try to push what I want at times… then I remember the butterfly.
I too have been caught up in the societal culture and norms of rush, get things done, achieve more and be more. It is exhausting. Today, I believe the butterfly was warning me to shift to this state of calm, wait, patient… I also believe it was here to tell me that I do help make dreams come true through practical transformation and change in my work as a life and business coach.
There are a lot of views and traditions of the meaning of butterfly… I invite you to search on the internet if this interests you. Here is what I have garnered for the purpose of my life and the Feel Good Superpower Podcast.
A blue butterfly is often considered as a sign of life. In most cultures, the blue butterfly is a symbol of acceptance, honor, and great energy. A blue butterfly can also symbolize the passing of time, change, and meaningful purpose in life.
Seeing a blue butterfly or holding it can have a calming effect on a person. In some part of the world, blue butterflies are rare, so it is considered extremely lucky to observe one.
The blue butterfly is a symbol of Spirit speaking through transformation and change.
In some cultures, spotting a blue butterfly is thought to bring sudden good luck. Blue butterflies are also considered wish-granters. Spotting a blue butterfly means that a wish one makes or made will come true. A blue-colored butterfly is often thought to symbolize joy and happiness.
Finding Meaning With Symbols
Given I was using the dream catcher last year in my business as a symbol, I wanted to share the history of it, its origination, and why I chose to stop using it.
History of Dream Catchers
Long ago when the word was sound, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain and had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi, the great trickster and searcher of wisdom, appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. As he spoke, Iktomi the spider picked up the elder’s willow hoop which had feathers, horsehair, beads and offerings on it, and began to spin a web. He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life, how we begin our lives as infants, move on through childhood and on to adulthood. Finally we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, completing the cycle.
But, Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, in each time of life there are many forces, some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they’ll steer you in the wrong direction and may hurt you. So these forces can help, or can interfere with the harmony of Nature. While the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web.
When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the elder the web and said, The web is a perfect circle with a hole in the center. Use the web to help your people reach their goals, making good use of their ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the great spirit, the web will filter your good ideas and the bad ones will be trapped and will not pass.
The elder passed on his vision onto the people and now many Indian people have a dreamcatcher above their bed to sift their dreams and visions. The good will pass through the center hole to the sleeping person. The evil in their dreams are captured in the web, where they perish in the light of the morning sun. It is said the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of the future.
Legend of the Dreamcatcher
Long ago, when the world was young, an old Lakota spiritual leader was on a high mountain. On the mountain, he had a vision. In his vision, Iktomi – the great trickster and teacher of wisdom – appeared in the form of a spider. Iktomi spoke to him in a sacred language. Only spiritual leaders of the Lakota could understand. As Iktomi spoke, he took the elder’s willow hoop – which had feathers, horse hair, beads and offerings on it – and began to spin a web.
He spoke to the elder about the cycles of life and how we begin our lives as infants. We then move on to childhood and into adulthood. Finally, we go to old age where we must be taken care of as infants, thus, completing the cycle.
“But,” Iktomi said as he continued to spin his web, “in each time of life there are many forces – some good and some bad. If you listen to the good forces, they will steer you in the right direction. But, if you listen to the bad forces, they will hurt you and steer you in the wrong direction.”
He continued, “There are many forces and different directions that can help or interfere with the harmony of nature and also with the Great Spirit and all of his wonderful teachings.”
All while the spider spoke, he continued to weave his web … starting from the outside and working toward the center. When Iktomi finished speaking, he gave the Lakota elder the web and said, “See, the web is a perfect circle, but there is a hole in the center of the circle.”
“Use the web to help yourself and your people … to reach your goals and make use of your people’s ideas, dreams and visions. If you believe in the Great Spirit, the web will catch your good ideas, and the bad ones will go through the hole.” (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.)
The Lakota elder passed his vision on to his people. Now, the Sioux use the dreamcatchers as the web of their life. Traditionally, it is hung above their beds or in their homes to sift their dreams and visions. Good dreams are captured in the web of life and carried with them … but the evil dreams escape through the center’s hole and are no longer part of them. (Note: Some bands believe the bad ideas are caught in the web and the good ideas pass through to the individual. Either account is acceptable.)
The Lakota believe the dreamcatcher holds the destiny of their future. The above is Obtained from historical documents and believed to be public domain.
Why I chose to stop using the Dreamcatcher images and references once I learned about its origination, history, and meaning – My Choice:
- It did not feel good to use it… as it was not part of my lineage, nor was it gifted to me from any lineage
- I felt I was dishonoring and disrespecting a culture, tradition, and communities of people, humans, who had been ravaged and treated inhumanely in the past and present times. I no longer wanted to contribute to that energy.
- I share about it here to honor and respect it.
Click below to hear my podcast about finding meaning with symbols, the butterfly, and dreamcatcher.