Monday, January 2, 2017


The butterfly. In addition to being beautiful it holds deep symbolic meaning for me. As a fan of the Hero's Journey and a Christian (again we are talking about symbolism and religion is full of symbolism) I believe in death and rebirth, or resurrection. This concept has become even more relevant in my life due to the failing health of my husband and the loss of some of some people I desperately love.
For me the butterfly represents the cycle of death and rebirth. From an egg a caterpillar emerges. It spends its life eating and preparing for the next incantation. At maturation the caterpillar entombs itself in a chrysalis to transform. the transformation and rebirth process is strange and traumatic. the new-born butterfly actually needs to squeeze itself out of a tiny opening forcing the blood from its engorged body into its wings. If the adult butterfly does not go through this process it will wither and die. The adult butterfly then continues the cycle of life by reproducing.
I love the symbolism of the butterfly and try to work it into my writing whenever possible.
What symbol do you use in your own writing?
And a note: The pictures I am using in the writing prompts are my own. One of my hobbies is photography.


  1. To me, eyes are the most important aspect of a person's physical characteristics. They reflect the true nature of a person. Lips may smile, or frown, or scowl, but their meaning is unsure until one looks at the eyes. A smile with cold, harsh eyes is a dangerous thing. A frown with anger is different from a frown with anguish. A scowl can be threatening, or joking.

    ~Colleen Murphy

  2. The characters in my stories often undergo extreme physical transformations to adapt to new, alien environments. This in itself symbolizes the way humans in our mundane world can adapt mentally and emotionally to almost any situation- even the most extreme and dire of circumstances. Within my stories themselves, I often have images of metamorphosis to echo the character's changes. One symbol I am fond of is the insect pupae since it is a transition stage from one life to another. I have also used the rising and falling tides and the seasons as symbols of change.

  3. Depending on which realm I'm in, I actually have several symbols I focus on. In the Melkreschen Realm, there's the Web Mother - an oversized spider who is revered as a local goddess. This leads to many references of spider webs. The calendar is even structured around an eight day week, rather than the more familiar seven day week.

    In the Sunlits, the symbolism expands to include nature (leading to references of The Path), and acknowledgement of good or evil (higher Realms or lower Realms respectively.) I'm sure there's more that I haven't consciously pinpointed as well. With the diverse cast, diverse religions, and diverse cultures swirling in the story, each has its own set of symbols that find their way into the story.