LIFE AS MYTH

Index

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JOURNAL

Index

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JOURNAL 2006

Scheherazade Project

Telling untold stories

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AUTUMN 2006

Moths and moons and metamorphosis

Index 2006

A time to tell stories

Naming the full moon

Writing on the moon

The twin side of the sun

Moths and moons and metamorphosis

The very idea of God

Moonrise

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LIFEWORKS

About

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ARCHIVES

Index

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AUTUMN 2006
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MOTHS AND MOONS AND METAMORPHOSIS

A river walk with lamps and stars (added June 2015). Usher. 2013.

Egyptian scarab. 550 BC. The scarab is an Egyptian dung beetle. It is a prevalent feature in Egyptian mythology and symbolizes rebirth and resurrection.

A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab that one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt an urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. [Jung: Coll. Works, vol. 8, § 843]

My paintings have gravitated toward nightscapes over the past couple of months. The interplay of moonlight on plants and water and animals. And the moth is one of the nocturnal creatures that I have researched. On the eastern seaboard we are in the last part of luna moth season, the period of time when it is actually possible to have a sighting. As luna moths are nocturnal creatures and only survive their final winged stage for about a week -- sightings are rare. Some day, if I am lucky, I will see one.

I am not sure what draws me to this creature. Maybe, in some way, it is a container for my wonder just now. The luminous lime green color, the size of its wingspan (up to 4.5" across), the distinctive eyespots on its wings. And in the final stage of its life, the adult Luna moth is also a deeply poignant example of Life lived abundantly while in the process of dying. After surviving the perilous transitions from egg to caterpillar to cocoon, the winged Luna moth emerges. However, in this final incarnation it has no mouth. Consequently, it can only survive -- for about a week -- by living off the sustenance that it has stored from earlier stages. But during this last week of its life, how glorious. Females send out sounds and pheromones which attract males. The males mate all week long and the females mate and lay eggs. Thus, the sole purpose of the luna moth in its final stage is to use all of its remaining life force to participate in the act of creation.

How to wrap my mind around the wonder of it all? It's not possible. There is a universe in that moth.

In the meantime, over the weekend, I did have a sighting of sorts. While reordering cabinets and closets, I stumbled on an unopened Christmas present from many years ago. Inside the gift was a collection of ornaments from the Discovery Store. And, of all things, one of the ornaments was a luna moth.

How to wrap my mind around the wonder of it all? It's not possible. There are universes all around us -- those just within our reach, and those just past it.

 

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