butterfly metamorphosis

Posted by on August 25, 2011 in butterfly, dance, dance maureen momo freehill nature soul butoh, mary oliver, metamorphosis, momobutoh company | 2 comments

During the weeks of my Dad’s passing there were so many images of metamorphosis that kept appearing, including the card that was placed on his door by the hospice staff right after he passed – two butterflies in flight.

So many times I reflected on how in life we have to surrender to the natural cycles of life, no matter how desperately we may may want things to be a certain way… life, and death, unfolds in a way that ultimately, we have no control over.
Since then, I had been wanting to honor his passing with a dance of metamorphosis… of honoring his transition from this realm into the realm of spirit… and the courage required to enter through the doorway into the greatest mystery of all…
After dancing spontaneously in this Mazama field while hiking amongst butterflies, I found this poem recently from Mary Oliver, and once again, as she often does, felt so moved by her sentiments… providing such inspiration for my imagination and nourishment for my soul…

One or Two Things ~ Mary Oliver
Don’t bother me.
I’ve just
been born.
The butterfly’s loping flight
carries it through the country of the leaves
delicately, and well enough to get it
where it wants to go, wherever that is, stopping
here and there to fuzzle the damp throats
of flowers and the black mud; up
and down it swings, frenzied and aimless, and sometimes
for long delicious moments it is perfectly
lazy, riding motionless in the breeze on the soft stalk
of some ordinary flower.
The god of dirt
came up to me many times and said
so many wise and delectable things, I lay
on the grass listening
to his dog voice,
crow voice,
frog voice, now,
he said, and now,
and never once mentioned forever,
which has nevertheless always been,
like a sharp iron hoof,
at the center of my mind.
One or two things are all you need
to travel over the blue pond, over the deep
roughage of the trees and through the stiff
flowers of lightening—some deep
memory of pleasure, some cutting
knowledge of pain.
But to lift the hoof!
For that you need
an idea.
For years and years I struggled
just to love my life. And then
the butterfly
rose, weightless, in the wind.
“Don’t love your life
too much,” it said,
and vanished
into the world.
Mary Oliver
Feeling grateful for this practice of dance / embodiment as taught by Momo and for our connections here. I hope this dance of metamorphosis may inspire you in some way…
Music: Stefano Bataglia
Photos of dance by Brooke / photos of nature and edits by me :~)


  1. Complicated, light tinged with darkness, the answers are not easy, but we don't really long for answers, do we? rather a sense of ennui, poignancy; an acknowledgement of the tender and fragile way we are tangled in life for awhile, until, release. Beautiful Lee (and Brooke)

  2. here is a personal aesthetic response in words to this theme and these images/poem…
    when i was high in the rockies this month –and since being back here at sea level as well — the butterflies are so present.
    i note the way they move from there to here in a non-linear way…seemingly always searching for warmth, nectar, elevation, motion, moisture, light…they are so like the waves of you & i….what we too search for in this dream dance we call daily life and death….
    what they love, i love!
    i did a dance of transformation between the body of elk and the body of butterfly….interesting how mary oliver says something about "lifting the hoof"…
    the hoof prints of elk form a double HE ART…as are the wings of the butterfly….as do the leaves of Arnica….
    so amusing & amazing!

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