We have arrived at the last stone in the Centre of the Medicine Wheel – Butterfly. This stone is the Air Clan, with the Spiritual Face of the Butterfly. They rarely stay in one place for very long. Air is the element of change, transformation, illumination and beginnings. This stone in the Centre is a reminder to each of us, we shift through many layers of transformation and change, as we emerge from our womb, until our last transformation death and decay.
Not surprising Sun Bear chose the Butterfly Weed, in my world, I know it as Milkweed, for the Plant Totem. There are many varieties of Milkweed. Common milkweed is slightly toxic, but not to the Monarch butterfly! By feeding almost exclusively on milkweed leaves, they are able to accumulate enough of the poison in their bodies to make them distasteful to predators.
Milkweed has a long history of medicinal uses. The milky white sap was applied topically to remove warts, and the roots were chewed to cure dysentery, not a common ailment in North America now, but it had to have been common enough for our Ancestors to chat with the plants and find out which one was best. The leaves were taken to suppress coughs, as well as being used to treat typhus fever and asthma.
Butterflies have been represented in art, painting and glyphs left for us by our Ancestors. Butterflies are viewed as an emblem of the soul and of unconscious attraction towards light. During my Christian days I recall an image, from Gnostic teachings, of the Angel of Death as a winged foot crushing a butterfly. Perhaps we can draw from that, is the butterfly was equated with life rather than with the soul, in the sense of the spirit or transcendent being. Perhaps this also explains the butterfly as a symbol of rebirth.
The stone to represent the Butterfly on the Medicine Wheel is Azurite. Azurite, is a beautiful blue color, ranging from pale to an almost purple hue. It, too, can aid in transformation, especially the Mental part of your being. I love the color and feel of this stone. It reminds me of changing hues of Blue we see in our Skies. I have placed the stone in my hand, using the drum track on shaman’s way, and journeyed to the Spirit of the Stone. I encountered an old and wise blue Lady. She told me to hold the stone to my third eye (which I did during the journey) to experience union with the skies and my body. It was transcendent and unforgettable. I felt transported from this physical plane, through all the worlds, and floated in the Great Abyss. I felt as though, no matter what I asked, or what I thought, there would be an answer to my question – asked or unasked.
The Color for Element of Air is a clear translucent with a hint of blue. This color bespeaks and teaches gentleness, faith, tenderness, love, and peace. It is good for inner child work and “especially good for healing the spirit.
The animal totems influenced by the Butterfly Clan are Deer, Raven, and Otter. These souls are the harbingers of messages from the Ancestors and will focus their attention on conveying the express wishes of the Elders so that the plan of the Great Spirit can unfold itself upon all that is Living.
Other resources you may enjoy:
- Podcast episode on Getting to Know the Medicine Wheel.
- Podcast episode on the Four Directions of the Medicine Wheel.
- Free shamanic music and drumming.
- Or if you’re new to journey work and wish to develop your own relationship with spirit, get started with journey work here.
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