Butterflies, Caterpillars, and Cocoons

By Samantha McKenzie

To become a butterfly, a caterpillar must first digest itself. Let that sink in.


The cells that survive this process turn into a soupy substance that later forms the eyes, wings, antennae and other adult structures. The job of the caterpillar is so depressingly complex that its metamorphosis can only be described as a five-syllable word for OMG!

The stages from caterpillar to butterfly is still one of life’s sweet enigmas.

Caterpillars have a very specific mission. One day they just stop eating, find a safe twig or leaf to hang upside down from, and then spin itself a silky cocoon. What happens next is a radical transformation. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar digests itself, releases enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues, and then forms new body parts, which later become the butterfly.

brown and white swallowtail butterfly under white green and brown cocoon in shallow focus lens

The entire metamorphosis can take up to 21 days, depending on the species. The process is purposefully delicate and private. If a caterpillar is disturbed at anytime in its cocoon, it won’t survive.

In the cocoon, a caterpillar must die to become a butterfly. And so it is.

Your caterpillar must die to give birth to your butterfly.

To get to your next phase in life, you have to find your twig and be willing to hang upside down for a minute. It will be uncomfortable.

To grow yourself, you have to spin your own cocoon and sit in it for a while. It will be lonely.


You will have to let go of your old belief systems and traditions that hold you back. It will be scary.

To become who you were intended to be, you will have to let those bad habits die. You will have to bid the old you farewell. It will be one of the hardest things you will do in your lifetime.

To discover your purpose…

To give birth to the new…

To find your light…

To live your truth…

To lead the way…

Let the metamorphosis of life take place.

Be the caterpillar who spins her cocoon and emerges as a breathtaking butterfly.

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