Even though the United States Constitution does not allow for royalty such as kings and queens, this area has had monarchs since long before the arrival of conquerors and imperialists from Europe. These ancient monarchs were probably labeled to honor English King William the Third.
These monarchs number in the millions and are one of the most common species of butterflies in North America. These butterflies were first scientifically described and categorized into the genus Papilio in 1758 by the Swedish biologist Carolus Linnaeus. Polish etymologist Jan Krzysztof Kluk named the monarch butterfly as the type species for the new genus called Danaus. Kluk used the name of the mythical king Danaus, one of the great-grandsons of Zeus.
It seems odd to think about monarch butterflies this early February day while the northwest winds howl with the onslaught of a blizzard. These small creatures cannot even fly if their body temperature dips below 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, monarchs are a species of insect that migrates. Most of them are in Mexico or Florida right now.
This beautiful orange and black insect is a frequent visitor to my dreams. In fact, it was the star of my dream once again this morning. As is the case in all of my monarch butterfly dreams, this insect does not do anything unusual. It just flits about, landing on various flowers in a generic sunny meadow. The bug lands on the backside of my right hand and allows me to examine it very closely, and for as long as I wish.
The dream is a recurring one I’ve had, pretty much unchanged, ever since I was a young boy. It’s a dream that makes me feel calm and very happy when I awaken from it.
The most peculiar quality about the butterfly, is that it seems like the insect is the very same individual butterfly each time. I am reminded of the philosophical puzzle, “Am I a human dreaming of a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I’m a human?” Whether or not there is a profound answer to that question, I love the monarch butterfly dreams.
Mick is a pal I’ve known for several years, who among other roles, is a self-styled mystic. One night he tried to interpret the dream. Mick announced that the monarch butterfly is my totem animal because it appears so prominently in my dreams. He said the monarch butterfly symbolizes full personal expression and mental expansion.
Butterflies of any species in dreams supposedly represent the yearning for freedom. They are traditionally cherished symbols that depict personal potential, creativity, joy, and the tendency to seek out the wonders of life. These interpretations are quite auspicious, so I’m glad that the monarch butterfly appears frequently.
Anyway, I hope there are plenty of milkweed plants near the river this year. Monarch caterpillars will only feed upon those plants. If there are milkweeds, there will probably be a lot of monarchs visiting my home this year.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders this wise statement from Carolus Linnaeus: “Nature’s economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics.”