Throughout the world, in all cultures spanning history; from ancient times until the present, the metamorphosis of Butterflies, has been a source of wonder. Many legends or myths about butterflies have arisen in very different cultures that are representative of renewal, transformation, death, and rebirth, awakening, courage, love, joy and hope.
The Greeks believed that a new human soul was born each time an adult butterfly emerged from its cocoon. Northern Europeans thought that dreams were the result of the soul butterfly’s wanderings; Native American Indian legends told that butterflies would carry the wishes to the Great Spirit in heaven to be granted. No matter the symbolism, they seem to be viewed universally, with reverence.
The title, Where Butterflies Dance also symbolizes a number of things. The first is that butterflies not only represent beauty, but also a wonderful sense of grace. The word grace can mean many things, but I refer to the manner in which we live our lives and interact with our surroundings. Many ancient civilizations believed that butterflies were symbols of the human soul, so there is a spiritual connotation to the title as well. Where they dance, would be heavenly would it not? Two of my compositions embody this feeling such as Elysian Fields and The Hanging Road (Cheyenne for The Milky Way)
There is also an environmental message to the title. The Monarch Butterflies are actually on the brink of extinction thanks to companies like Corporate Giant, Monsanto and all the GMOS, pesticides and herbicides wreaking havoc on our environment. These shifting land management practices are responsible for the disappearance of the Milkweed plants along the Monarchs’ Migration route. Monarchs cannot survive without milkweed: their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants and Monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs. The too many warning signs are clear: If we destroy nature, we destroy ourselves.
Continuing with the environmental message, Sateo, is about one of the last “great tuskers” with ivory tusks weighing over 100lbs. The great bull elephant, likely close to 50 years old, was found dead on May 30 of 2014 in Kenya, after being poisoned to death by poachers, after years of adapting his behavior to hide himself from humans. Elephants are such extremely intelligent and sensitive beings and he just knew that they would bring about his demise. Poaching has reached unprecedented levels in history in all species. Richard Moller of the Tsavo Trust, who had been monitoring Sateo for years confirmed that Sateo is indeed dead, killed by a poacher’s poisoned arrow, to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries.” Frank Pope of Save the Elephants in Nairobi stated that “the loss of such an iconic elephant is the most visible and heartrending tip of this iceberg, this tragedy that is unfolding across the continent.”
I wrote the piece after seeing the picture of Sateo before, in his grandeur, and then, after they had shot him down with poison darts and literally cut off his face, leaving him, felled by greed. In the recording, the violin represents the beauty and grace of Sateo’s spirit.
Majestic Tusker of your land
In Africa, your kingdom,
An Africa without Man
They shot you down,
Removed your face
And now Your ivory
Is gone without a trace.
There must be a place
Where we might know grace
Again. Sateo, Sateo, my friend.
Floating far above
Your kind and gentle soul
Seeks to know why greed
Succeeds instead of love
In awe we remember
In sadness we mourn
Your hallowed greatness
And all-too-soon sojourn.
There must be a place,
Where we might know grace,
Again. Sateo, Sateo, my friend.
Bless you Sateo…
A word must also be said about Love Among the Ruins. The love to which I refer is the growing number of species languishing and nearing extinction on a deeply compromised planet. And, also, perhaps, the love is the whisper of two lovers’ souls, forever mingling after flesh is gone. The Cello and English horn represent their voices as they struggle to be heard.
In conclusion, Where Butterflies Dance is both a call to action and a prayer for hope that we might find a place where the butterflies indeed dance, by righting the wrongs, and creating a renewed grace toward Mother Earth, all her inhabitants and toward fellow mankind.
May you dance with the Butterflies,