The Symbolism of Change
As most of you know, I'm a little compulsive about scavenging the deeper symbolism in most things. The cool thing about this propensity, is that life, and Nature is infinite in metaphor and profound symbolism. Even the intangibles such as transition and change represent an intense level of meaning.
Most of us can agree (as difficult as it might be sometimes), the one guarantee we are afforded in this life is change. It's simply inevitable. Nothing stays the same...at least not forever.
Some changes are for the best, and some appear to be an outright kick in the pants. The more evolved among us may say it's what we do with the changes in our lives that is most important. Our response to change is just as symbolic as change itself. Our reaction to change yields powerful influence in the ongoing direction of our lives. For example, I've noticed when I resist change or fight against it, the direction of my life is usually met with roadblocks. However, when I embrace change head-on...when I try to see the deeper meaning behind the change, my direction often unfolds into rewarding evolution and growth.
Logically, change is prompted by cause and effect. To tap the symbolism of change, it's a great practice to first interpret the deeper meaning of its cause. For example, I had a big change in my finances this year. So big, that I had to take a look at the cause (because truthfully, the effect of the change was pretty crumby). After some contemplation, I realized I had some questionable beliefs about money. I had to re-interpret the symbolism of money, and my attitude towards it.
Another interesting thing about the symbolism of change is how our attitude towards transition adjusts with time and age. In my younger days, I thrived on change. I think that's symbolic of a youthful spirit, a need for freedom, a need for adventure and exploration. As I age...not-so-much. It's not that I don't love a good challenge or adventure...it's just that I find myself appreciating consistency a bit more than in my youth. There's something comforting about roots, constancy and routine. These shifts in attitude are symbolic. In my case, it's symbolic of (I hope) an element of wisdom creeping into my age. It also represents a deeper awareness of simple things, the value of being grounded. These days, I try to take change as it comes in a thoughtful way...but I don't create change for the sake of change. If that makes sense.
Thankfully, observing Nature gives me all the change I could ever need. Perhaps the most brilliant examples of the symbolism of change are found in the folds of Mother Nature's gown. Amongst her twirly-swirly loveliness, we find torrential change, gentle transition, long-term revolutions and even sudden evolution bursting forth. Hands-down, the most sage professor in the University of Change, is Mother Nature.
Consider the most obvious changes in Nature...the change of seasons.
When we think to the purpose of seasons, we can intellectualize these annual shifts are vital to the evolution of biology, the continuation of life. A Winter without a Spring would obstruct the progress of growth, and prohibit the harvest in Autumn. Biological scaffolding requires a phase of dormancy in order for the body of Earth to recuperate. Undulations of the seasons are a perfect example flux (change), and are essential to the process of life/growth.
This makes me think that the symbolism of change, at its core, deals with balance. So often, we've seen imbalances in our lives...and either by our own hand, or by outside events, a shift occurs, which prompts a correction to that imbalance.
In this light, rather than becoming overwhelmed, or distraught over particular transitions in our lives, perhaps we can just simply observe the change as a helpful effort to re-balance ourselves.
Similarly, the changes we see on a global scale (no matter how scary), are simply an example of a balancing-act exhibited by various forces.
The symbolism of change is, indeed, a deep concept. I invite you to contemplate what change means to you in your life. Not necessarily what you have to do when a change occurs, but what change actually means in your life. What's the symbolism of the changes you're experiencing? What the world is experiencing? It's worth a ponder.
Some other things to ponder when contemplating the symbolism of change...
Really all creatures have an underlying signature of transition. They all roll with the revolutions of their food sources, their environment, their survival, and their primal need to procreate. When I consider the transitions our animals endure, I'm marveled. They make a way. They don't fight change. Humans continue to threaten and encroach upon their homeostasis, but our animal kin continue to persevere and push on. There are a few animals that are distinctly symbolic of change. Here are the most prominent:
It makes sense, really. These beauties are symbolic of change because of their remarkable transition from caterpillar to butterfly. On a personal level, the butterfly is a testament to taking change with grace. The butterfly is a superior reminder that revolutionary change can leave us free, beautiful and vibrant. Butterflies move from one state of being into another...in fact, they turn into a whole new organism! If this isn't a metaphor for a soulful 'make-over', I don't know what is. Let the butterfly remind you that even though transition can be a painful growth process, it can potentially render you utterly stunning. Flitter-flutter into more butterfly symbolism here.
For the same reason as butterflies, frogs are symbolic of change because of their metamorphosis. These babies go through extreme processes to get to the point of lily-hopping frolic. Frogs are great guides for helping us deal with emotional changes. Why? Because of their relationship with water, which is symbolic of emotion, dreams, intuition. Call upon the frog if you're dealing with changes in feelings you might need help with. Hop into more frog symbolism here.
These slithery, sensual sweeties are symbolic of change due to their shedding process. Every so often, the snake sheds its skin to accommodate for its growth. Casting off their skin is also a major cleansing process. As they shed, they clean themselves of toxins, unwanted organisms, and parasites. There's big symbolic juju in this. Snake energy is helpful when we need change in the form of cleansing in our lives. If you feel plugged up or bogged down in unwanted energy, the snake can help you shed that lackluster and get back into a gleaming, luminous state. Slither into more snake meanings here.
I adore these squishy lovelies. The octopus has helped me with a lot of adjustments in life. Their symbolism of change comes from a few different points of note. 1) They regenerate. If they lose an arm, they simply grow it back. I love this as a metaphor. To me, it implies the human ability to drop off a bad habit, or an errant belief and simply grow a new one in its place - a better way of thinking, a good habit to replace the old/bad one. 2) They camouflage themselves. Octopus are master-maskers. Most of them can morph into their environment to an extent they are almost invisible. On a personal level, this often helps people adjust to their environment. Octopus can help us be aware, adapt and adjust ourselves to snuggle into the (sometimes uncomfortable) environment we are in. Sometimes acceptance, and making the best out of our situations is the best tactic for dealing with change. Swim into more octopus symbolism here.
These are just a few creatures in Nature that represent transition who might be helpful in your own transitions. Take a look around in the animal kingdom, and I'm certain you'll find your own special totems to help in your changes.
Before signing off on this post, I want to leave you with some inspiring quotes that have helped me in my encounters with transition. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have....
I hope you have enjoyed these observations about the symbolism of change. To be sure, change isn't always easy. It's a breeze when we're dealing with wonderful changes. But I know hard changes can really stump us. If you're having tribulations due to change, I hope this article helps to ease the turbulence just a bit.
Please be sure to check out the links at the end of this page for more relevant and (hopefully) helpful articles.
As always, thank you for reading.
I trust all your changes are enlightening,
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happening to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive in! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!