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Gift of the Butterflies


Written by Judy Piazza during the summer of 1998 while spending solitary time on the land

I was sitting on the land in a ceremonial circle of stones, deep in reflection, prayer, and gifts of the Earth. I had with me a native frame drum I had made. The sun shone bright, the sky so blue and clear. After some time, two exquisite-looking butterflies came into my circle. They were medium-sized, with brilliant neon-blue outlines and well-defined circles or "eyes" on their wings. In the graceful way of butterflies, these two landed directly on my drum. They let me witness them for hours - literally the entire afternoon. The drum was right by my side, allowing me to clearly watch these winged creatures' every movement. They became my companions, my teachers, my entertainment, my gift. Every so often, one of them would fly to the red pipestone chanupa (pipe) lying in the center of the circle, or land on some sage, or me, then back again to the drum. I watched them drink from the drum, their tongues somehow drawing nourishment from the horse hide stretched over its frame. I could hear them . . . soft, scratching noises made by their legs and tongues on the skin. They danced together on my drum. They moved lightly, opening their perfectly heart-shaped wings in grand and gracious gestures, giving me time to reflect on their perfection, their relationship to me, to the drum, to the circle of life I found myself in.

Now butterflies have held strong medicine for me in my life before this time on the land in northern Michigan. As a child, I remember one landing on my chicken bone in upstate New York as I swung on a long rope swing dangling from the oak tree outside my grandfather's house. And then there were the monarchs that landed on my legs and arms as I rested during a strenuous bike ride on the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan. Within the sacred circle, I sensed these butterflies were teaching me now about my own transformation and metamorphosis through the drum. They urged me to drink deep also of its mystery and magic, of its wisdom and energy. They urged me to open my heart as gracefully as they did, to open from the core of my being to the drum. I also sensed they were teaching me about the power of the drum to urge transformation on the planet, about the power of the exchange and synergy of female and male energies. They were steady and patient in their dance on the drum, no need to rush, no frantic movement. The passage of time that afternoon was surreal . . . moments were eternal and timeless. These winged creatures were messengers and mentors . . . they were beauty and rhythm in motion.

Drumming has changed me to the core of my being. I am a new person, over and over again. I have had the privilege of witnessing the potential of the mother drum to change others' lives as well, to create healthier living on planet Earth. I am part of a lineage of earth drummers, of drummers of and for the divine Feminine. I am so grateful. . . .