I posted a picture on Instagram that cost me 200 followers and my sanity. People were so upset by it, calling me evil and threatening to kill me. The picture, since taken down because my tender heart couldn’t handle any more, was my butterfly wing pyramid.
Now, after being shocked and hurt by the comments, I began to be very fascinated by the strong visceral response such an image created in people. I had a disclaimer on my subject line (These butterfly wings are recycled from an insect artist who had no use for them for one reason or another. She assures they were farmed and died of natural causes.)
So besides the fact that butterfly farming is a lucrative business for people who might otherwise cause deforestation with other types of farming, and besides the fact that no wild butterflies were harmed, and that the farmed butterflies were not even harmed, these people writing hateful comments to me were bothered by…
The severing of a wing of a dead insect.
(The wings came to me personally as wings, but someone along the line must have either cut them off of the insect, or they fell off and that’s why they couldn’t be used. I’m not sure).
So my question is this:
Why doesn’t a leather hand bag cause the same kind of reaction? Or milk? Or the use of antlers in decoration, even the ones fallen to the forest floor? Or bones? Or cut hair?
Why do butterflies in particular cause that kind of reaction?
I think there is a deep meaning here that these people aren’t even realizing exists. I believe butterflies symbolize life after death. They are this worlds closest thing to magic: wings from a chrysalis.
I think the thought of a butterfly being harmed makes people feel like a soul, like beauty itself, is being harmed. Their bright colors and patterns, their searching for sweetness from flowers and starlight. They are our world’s fairies, pointing towards a greater power, mimicking another voice.
I think this world fears death in ways we cannot truly fathom because we cannot truly understand life.
If my butterfly wing pyramid bothers you, I want you to search deep within yourself and ask yourself why. Perhaps there is an answer there waiting for you.