Change. It comes in many forms doesn’t it? Sometimes we’re thrust into it, sometimes we opt-in to it, oftentimes we need help accepting it. This is when tools come in handy like abstract symbols, mindfulness and working with plant-based modalities like Aromatherapy.
Symbols are often archetypal and may be represented by myths & tarot cards to animals or patterns in nature. Understanding these symbols and how they relate to us may elucidate a seeker on how to work with whatever change they are living with. Yet awareness is not always enough for us mortal beings. Tools such as essential oils, aromatherapy, meditation, yoga (and more!) may be worked with to initiate, work with and accept change. It is with these tools that we are “armed” to slay the proverbial dragon.
Symbols of Change: Luna Moths and Lightning
I have been thinking about lightning a lot over the past few weeks and had a recent Luna Moth encounter. Both seemingly embody message of change and impermanence. Lightning fosters creation yet destroys. Luna moths symbolize intuition, change and death. Within the beauty of life always awaits change and death. Natural phenomena like the aforementioned are quite powerful, giving us “mortal coils” glimpses of the power of being true to our inherent natures.
La Bella Luna: Beauty in Change and Intuition
On a recent outing at a local winery I looked toward the direction of my near-by car and noticed a Luna moth on the front left tire (picture below). I was out of my mind and nearly breathless at the sight as I have seen only one other Luna Moth in my lifetime. It is my understanding that sightings of this particular native moth are a rarity versus encountering the plethora of other moths that seem so common and pesky.
Though a moth is a moth and moths symbolize change. Reflecting upon the Luna Moth I am struck by the lessons offered in its life-cycle. It has a relatively long life from egg to emerging from the cocoon but once thrust into its adult phase it cannot eat and only lives 7-10 days to mate and finally die. So, what of it?
La Bella Luna: Beauty in Transition
Many of us are in-awe of the supposed beauty of the adult Luna Moth. But this “beauty” is literally fleeting. It spends 60+ days being “ugly” only to be “beautiful” the closer it is to death. What could this be taken as? To realize youth in-and-of-itself is not necessarily beautiful? How it takes time and effort to obtain grace and beauty? To acknowledge the potential of grace in dying? To appreciate the beauty in change and aging? Not clinging too tightly to one part of life as the next part inevitably comes? I like to think the answer to all of those questions is yes.
La Bella Luna: Tuning Into Intuition
Opportunities (i.e., change) are fleeting and it behooves us to have our feelers out for them, just as the male Luna Moth’s distinct antenna are out to detect a female’s pheromones over a mile away. Yet you may notice how the Luna Moth is often quite still for some time (as on the car’s tire) waiting and sensing. Luna moths are not only associated with change. They are symbols of sleep, dreams and intuition. This symbol of symbols is letting us know it’s time to slow down, to sleep, to listen to our “gut”. Intuition is like a moths antenna, it is always on but often times we try to tune-out and distract ourselves with artificial means, which generally sap our energy, intuition and sleep.
When Lightning Strikes the Mind
Has anything ever “struck” you? Some people call this anything from an “ah ha” moment to “when the walls come crashing in” depending on the intensity, revelation and upheaval of the “struckness.” In my mind, lightening is symbolic of falling from an ivory tower. A sudden opportunity of Nietzschean “thrustness” that topples stacks of rigid concepts leaving space for the creative process and growth. Lighting is brut, hot force. It fractures and burns; from the ashes comes new life and a chance for growth. Its instant electric force is often viewed as destroying when it necessarily is not. From a different perspective it may be viewed as a catalyst for sudden transformation for both sacred and profane as well as providing crucial life to Earth’s flora and fauna.
This brings us directly to lightning and its aural manifestation of thunder. Lightning is electric-heat generated by the collision of ice particles and water vapor in a cloud which cause surrounding air to rapidly expand and vibrate (which begets thunder). These major collisions in the atmosphere are one of the Earth’s ways of taking Nitrogen, a key chemical element of life, and “fixing” it into a bio-available form that plants can use (formally known as “The Nitrogen Cycle”).
Nitrogen is necessary for all of life, occurring in all living organisms for critical amino acids (protein formation) and nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Plants need Nitrogen for healthy leafy, vegetative growth (think GREEN & photosynthesis!). It is the 4th most abundant element in our body (~3% by weight), coming after Oxygen, Carbon and Hydrogen. But here’s the thing about Nitrogen (N2). Despite its abundance in the atmosphere it is held together by a triple bond making it super hard to break apart. These bonds must be broken for it to become bio-available for plants and other earthly beings. Breaking this triple-threat-bond requires BRUT, HOT FORCE. Guess what? A collision such as lightening can do the job.
Now each time I witness lightning and thunder I think of the plants and how these storms are literally and symbolically agents of change, transformation, life and death. Following is a haiku recently inspired by a summer lightning storm titled “Thunder is the Sound of Green”
Electric shards crash
The sound of green being made
As air falls apart
Essential Oils to Initiate, Support & Accept Change
Now that we have some symbols for inspiration how about a few tools to help initiate, work with or accept change? Enter in aromatherapy: working with aromatic plants and their beautiful essential oils. The beauty of aromatics plants is their ability to communicate with us in many ways: odor recognition, memory-based associations and directly with our neuro-endocrine system. These myriad touch-points can support our natural ability to process and grow.