About Butterflies

Imaginal Cells

thanks to Skye Thomas for this beautiful article & to Norie Huddle for writing the original story & launching this powerful meme in her 1990 book > see http://www.bestgame.org

Have you ever noticed a change that needed to happen at work that would make things run smoother, would result in more customer satisfaction, would create more profit, or would simply improve employee moral without negatively affecting productivity? 

Did your manager shut you down and completely ignore your suggestions? 

Have you ever had a vision for how your local community or state could make some positive changes to clean up the environment, ease traffic congestion, keep the teenagers out of trouble, or help the homeless only to have the local politicians and officials bury your ideas in red tape and governmental double-talk? 

Have you ever had spiritual ideals that were incredibly inclusive and loving, yet people were so close-minded that they couldn’t even see the beauty of what you were envisioning for them? 

Have you ever pinpointed the root causes of your family’s dysfunctional behaviors and beat your head against a wall trying to get them to heal, grow, and change along with you? 

Have you ever felt like the Lone Ranger?


After a caterpillar buries itself inside its cocoon, it waits to morph into a butterfly.  The caterpillar does not simply shrink a bit and sprout wings.  Instead, it sort of disintegrates into a puddle of ooze within the cocoon. 

If we were to open the cocoon halfway through the process, we would not find a half-caterpillar half-butterfly type creature, but a blob of goop.  The goop is made up of a bunch of individual cells that are all basically the same type of oozy cells. 

For whatever reason, after the caterpillar has turned into ooze, a new type of cells start appearing.  The original ooze cells are NOT changing into these new cells, but rather the new cells seem to come out of nowhere.

They just appear out of thin air so to speak.  


These new cells are called imaginal cells and they are so completely different from the original ooze cells that they are thought to be a virus or some other form of enemy so the ooze cells begin attacking the imaginal cells. 

However, even though the imaginal cells are being killed off for not fitting in, they still keep showing up, more and more of them. 

Eventually, the imaginal cells begin to find each other and cluster together.  Like attracts like, and the clusters begin to join up with other clusters. 

The original ooze cells still keep attacking them but the imaginal cells continue to multiply and cluster together.  


Eventually, they become a large community and they switch gears from simply being a group of like-minded cells into the programming cells of the butterfly. 

Some imaginal cells start changing into wing cells, some start changing into antenna cells, some start changing into digestive tract cells, and so on. 

They are no longer imaginal cells but become butterfly anatomy cells.  As we all know, if left alone to do his thing, the butterfly eventually emerges as a completely new entity from the original caterpillar. 

Do they hold the same memories, life lessons, and consciousness?  Who knows?  One would think that for survival of the species, the butterfly would still retain whatever knowledge the caterpillar had learned before entering into the cocoon state.


Sometimes we are led to play the role of imaginal cell in our little corner of the world. 

Being one of the very first of the imaginal cells can be a painful road to travel. 

It is different later on down the road as your cause begins to gather steam and becomes more popular.

Imagine what the first women who were fighting for our right to vote went through compared to what we go through today trying to get equal pay and respect for a job well done. 

Imagine what the fighting for the right to even create a country based on inalienable rights and personal freedoms compared to what we go through just trying to maintain our rights and define what those freedoms are.

Minority groups often feel like a cluster of imaginal cells being wrongly attacked just for being different.

The masses assume that they must be the enemy; why else would they be so different? 

Being an outspoken lone wolf with a vision for big change away from the status quo can be scary and even dangerous.  


I could tell you to hold true to your visions and to fight to the death. 

I could tell you that you should never ever allow anyone to stop you from making your dreams of a better world come true. 

But the truth is, we are not always committed to our visions. 

If you are working for a company that is growing stagnant and is not willing to adapt and grow with the times, then maybe your energy and brilliance is wasted on trying to fix them or change them. 

Maybe you should move on to another company, start your own business doing things ‘right’ according to your new vision, or simply let it go if all that really matters is that paycheck that allows you to feed and clothe your family. 

Not everyone who has a beautiful vision has the heart and soul of an activist within. 

Some things are definitely worth fighting to the death for while others are simply pleasant ideals. 

Only you can decide for yourself which of your imaginal cell type ideas are worth your time and energy.


If you are an imaginal cell in your family, in your workplace, in your community, in your political system, in your spiritual viewpoints, in your global world; know that you are not alone and know that what you do to improve life for your fellow man does matter and it does add weight to the collective consciousness of humanity.

You may feel like you are completely alone in your battle, but know that there are others who agree, who are also dying for your cause, or who are so inspired by seeing you put it all on the line that they are finally brave enough to step forward making their agreement with you known.  


If the imaginal cell is a quiet little thought somewhere in the back corner of your mind telling you that you could make huge changes in yourself to become less like the caterpillar and more like the butterfly, then know that you are not alone. 

Many people have done it before you and many more will follow your lead. 

You will know if you are meant to grow, morph, and change into some new and improved version of yourself by the reoccurring theme of those tiny little imaginal cells creating inspirational thoughts within your mind.

The reoccurring thoughts will both haunt you and inspire you.  They will cluster together creating themes of healing change, themes of growth, and themes of becoming something completely different then who you used to be. 

Fear not, for you are simply undergoing the butterfly’s experience. 

You too will feel alone in the dark unsure of what is you and what is not you. 

You too will have to claim that which is beautiful within and you too will have to fight your own way out of your self-imposed prison to strengthen your wings so that you can fly for the entire world to see, inspiring others to look within at their own imaginal cells.

thanks to Skye Thomas for this beautiful article & to Norie Huddle for writing the original story & launching this powerful meme in her 1990 book > see http://www.bestgame.org

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we are now creating

inside the current

collapsing society

the rational relationships

& structures

that will be there to replace it

once its oppressive structures

have stopped functioning


western post-modern society

is now in a chrysalis,


& there are

many, small,


evolutionary butterflies

already at work

from time

fertilizing & beautifying


this Great Transition

into being

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