Birth of a Butterfly by Sojourner Zenobia

by | July 01, 2014 | Articles


These days…they pass with a heightened yes-ness to bigness. Every moment is measured by whether or not I have chosen to expand deeper into Mariposa: Warrior Butterfly. Mariposa is an alter ego. She is the yes-ness. A manifestation of my highest self.

Around March I began to feel a calling to commit to a transformation of being; to develop a passion for making daily choices that are based on the greater good. Part of this process is letting go of what does not resonate with my heart, with the intention that others would be inspired to follow theirs.

This call repeatedly led me into reflection on the bitter and sweet interactions with my mother as we continue to seek connection with each other at every turn. It has been timely that a few weeks ago I started to read Michael Meade’s The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul for Joan Forest Mage’s shamanism training at Life Force Arts Center in Chicago. Meade’s study of the relationship between initiation, mother and child opened a world of revelation for me around the necessity of a return to the mothers womb as a catalyst for change.

My mother has a beautiful primordial wisdom with children. Growing up, she was a giant mama raven guiding me around the earth, making sure I was looked upon as a phenomenal child. She listened for my deepest callings before I new anything about an inner voice. Piano, basketball, hat making, graphic design, acting; somehow I always had the right teachers for my desires. “What do you want to do?” was a question she often asked giving my intuition a platform.

Major big up’s to my pops! He was also there in full support to usher in my highest self. In fact I have a second set of fully supportive parents, as both my mother and father got married after they separated. However, there was no one else who knew, like my mother did, the face to face, “I hate you so much right now,” make me diner, watch me get dressed in the morning and bring my friends home from school, secrets of my soul, like the way my mother watched, felt and listened too me.

In nurturing me and my twin brother she nurtured her own soul. In Michael Meade’s book he breaks down this spellbound relationship between mother and child:

“Until the mother’s water broke, the child grew on an inland sea within the life of its mother. Each child absorbs life from the mother’s bloodstream. From the conditions of her internal lake bed, from the cauldron of her dreams and her nightmares. The dreams of a mother surround her sleeping child from the beginning and seep into its growing form. The fetus, with its transparent skin absorbs everything from the mother in an extended feast of subjectivity. The child grows from a single cell to great complexity inside the biological, psychological, and mythological systems of the mother. Thus, the famous and infamous complexities of the mother complex.”

With the mother Raven there came a heaviness. It is in my bones. For as long as I can remember I have felt something on me that I felt wasn’t mine. A chronic stupor that I couldn’t seem to put a finger on. Being a seeker, always reflecting on how I can evolve into my highest self, I found many things only took a little introspection to name. Playground politics easily surface. Hang ups about being left out or not being a part of the popular crowd, the girls that would make fun of me; these memories were accessible in the subconscious workings of my being. Even other family dynamics were easier to unravel than the looming spell of the womb. What was this indescribable unknown that felt bigger than the rest?

In The Water of Life, Meade talks about the initiation that must occur in order for the child to truly become separate from the mother and fulfill her souls purpose. An initiation that begins with the acknowledgment of their bond.

I started to realize how much I am my mother. These days I work to surrender temptations to lay blame. But it didn’t start that way. I had moments of seeing all of my ‘faults’ identically reflected in my mother.  I soon realized that blaming made me feel even more stuck, angry and resentful than I did before I realized how much I am her. There was even a brief moment when I tested the waters of, “If you don’t change, then I cannot change.” This is how deeply I felt that my destiny connected to hers.

The beauty of being human is that we have a power to perform alchemy on ourselves. Like a butterfly who, through intuition knows it is time to cocoon and transform, I also have a conscious intuition that now is the time to commit to alchemy, surrender blame and align with the divine.

Recently I was introduced to the Magnum Opus; the process of creating the philosophers stone, or the four steps to alchemy. This has helped me to further embody the experience of transformation.

The first step in alchemy is Nigredo, meaning the blackness. This step is about looking at the shadow side of self. It is so easy to avoid day after day in a whirlwind of people pleasing and trying to stay on top of everything.

Pause. Get still. See what comes to the surface. Stay there. Take inventory. No mater how great or small the change that wants to be made, the first step is to get clear about every part of self that lurks in the murky, painful, wounded spaces of the human experience. A big part of my transformation is to acknowledge that I am not accepting my mother the way she is. There was a moment when for me, she represented my shadow. Obsessed, because she awakens the vicious anger, resentment and fear in me that I so conveniently love to deny is a part of my make up.

The second step is Albedo, whitness. The separation of all of the elements begins to take place. This was when I started to clearly see what is in alignment with God/Divine Love, and what is not. I have seen the self-righteous, close minded, and unloving impostor inside of me, I can tell she is there because my body tenses and I don’t feel loving and I treat my mother accordingly. The impostor is the one who projects fear in the name of love, producing isolation on both sides. I want understanding, I want love in action and I want sweetness. This is where visioning comes in. Which visions are from darkness and fear of change? Which are new and expansive, from divine love? Here is where Mariposa begins to take shape.

Who do I imagine myself to be? What are the new thoughts I invite to dance with the old ones? What am I willing to completely surrender? How am I going to shift when old vibrations come up? What vibration will take its place? What will I do to cause that vibration? What thought will I think? This is not denying or covering over the shadow side of the human experience. For me, it is a deep gratitude for my mother and the reflection of her that I am.  Old vibes may come up for the rest of my life, but I have a game plan for how I am consciously going to relate to them.

Citrinitas, yellow is the next step. This is the dawning of the solar light! This is the emerging of the butterfly! The old self has made me who I am but identifying it as who I am no longer serves me.

The final step is Rubedo, red. The celebration of a successful alchemy.

My relationship with my mother holds much of the nutrients needed for my own personal transformation. In the end if it results in an exultation of all of the elements of ‘The Mother’ I would call it a successful transformation for the greater good. Michael Meade calls his chapters on our relationship to the psyche of the mother, Moving the Mother.

“Moving the mother means not only moving huge projections off actual women, it also means facing the inherent powers that manifest through the feminine aspects of the world.”

Inherent powers manifest through the feminine aspects of the world. Through facing the spell of the womb we can break it. The spell is the projection of ourselves as inescapably trapped in our mother’s psyche. The spell is that our mother’s psyche is anything but perfectly crafted by divine love to both nurture and transform us into the most powerful manifestation of ourselves through the Divine Feminine.

I will end by saying that I am sure the ‘heaviness’ I spoke of is not entirely due to my mother. Even though I was born from the soup of my mother’s very own mythologies, I choose to be born to her, and I choose to hold onto whatever that meant, for as long as I did. I take full responsibility for my experience in this lifetime. My transformation does not begin and end with my relationship to my mother. Where the planets where when I was born come into play as well. So do the soul contracts I have made with others. There are many more avenues to explore in therms of the fullest expression of Mariposa.

This is a call to acknowledge the mother within and give rise to the harmonious alchemy of my soul with the divine feminine. This is a reflection of my mother’s fullest and most powerful manifestation, herself.

Mama Raven. Thank you for birthing a butterfly.


Meade, Michael The Water of Life: Initiation and the Tempering of the Soul. Seattle: Greenfire Press, 2006

Magnum Opus: Alchemy: Wikipedia


Sojourner Zenobia ( grew up in Chicago IL and trained at Piven Theatre Chicago, Black Box Studio, The School of Steppenwolf Chicago and experimental vocal technique at the Roy Hart Center in Paris. She graduated from Naropa University where she studied movement, voice and theatre. Sojourner  has been creating original performance work since 2005, combining vocal work, movement and storytelling into participatory ritual performance journeys. Her themes revolve around the discipline of freedom, human relation to nature and spirit, the body’s ability to realize wholeness in an instant and loving the full spectrum of human experience. She gave a presentation of her on-going ritual performance Mariposa: Warrior Butterfly at Life Force Arts Center on May 28, 2014.

“I live to let go of who I think I am and relax into the present. Into the beauty and magic of this ever evolving creative collaboration we call life.”- Sojourner Zenobia

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