Giant Human Butterfly Symbolism

The Netherlands Butterfly Metamorphosis Crop Circle
The  giant, symmetrical butterfly crop circle in Goes, Netherlands in 2009 possibly a symbol of a time to come when the human false self would submit to the human spirit True Self and man would regain balance and beauty.

By Cathy Eck

Butterfly Symbolism

On August 7th of 2009, a gigantic crop circle appeared in the Netherlands near a small town called Goes. The crop circle was 530 meters by 450 meters.  The symmetry and perfection of the butterfly was amazing, as if to say, “Let the hoaxers try to claim this one.”  The crop circle clearly demonstrated butterfly symbolism; but it also incorporated numerology (numerical symbolism).  I have to admit, I’ve moved away from interpreting symbols because I find interpretations constricting.  Interpretations tend to become beliefs.  But if we play with symbolism, it can be fun.  Sometimes, we even find something to let go.

I’ve often thought about this particular crop circle ever since this beautiful photo appeared in my email inbox one day while sitting in a metaphysical library.  Butterfly symbolism has always spoken to me.  And since my work is about bringing back respect for our feminine side, our emotions, anything with a feminine twist will catch my attention.

The library was my hang out, where I used to spend my time doing writing and research. The librarian forwarded the picture to me, which was forwarded to her from Helen Reddy, who was also in the library that day.  You might remember Helen Reddy from her hit song, “I am Woman.”  In case you forgot the words, here they are:

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

Oh yes I am wise

But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

You can bend but never break me
’cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow

See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
Oh, I am woman

Helen Reddy’s words went through my mind as I looked at this amazing butterfly.  I never paid much attention to her song when it was popular because it sounded too feminist for my taste.  People tend to view the masculine-feminine problem as one of who is going to lead–as if we can’t be equal partners.  But I could “See me standing toe to toe, as I spread my lovin’ arms across the land.”  Butterfly symbolism includes beauty, symmetry, and balance.  The butterfly spreads its beautiful wings and flies after being imprisoned in a cocoon, a great metaphor for the illusion.

In the ancient world, the butterfly was a symbol for the alchemical marriage.  It represented the symbolic marriage of the inner male and female, the reunion of seemingly opposing forces into complementary forces.  It was a goal of initiation.  But it wasn’t like external physical marriage between two people of different sexes or roles; it was an internal marriage between our own inner masculine and inner feminine.

My research demonstrated that the fall of man occurred at the same time as the beginning of history or “his story.”  This was the time when God moved from within to a virtual throne in the sky, when humans moved to a patriarchal point of view and began to worship the intellect.  During this time, humans silenced the Goddess.  God now had complete, unchallenged authority.  The Goddess’ pure wisdom was lost; and a new lesser form of wisdom was born, a wisdom born of pain, also known as knowledge.  Helen Reddy’s song demonstrates how we have come to view life as a woman–as a difficult struggle.

The pure wise and creative Goddess has been missing for far too long.  The patriarchal God in the sky continues to sit on his cloud creating fearful followers with his good and evil point of view.  When our masculine intellect is valued at the expense of our feminine inspiration and emotions, we’re easily controlled.  We lose our sense of who we are and what our life is about.  The feminine in us expresses her pain through emotions, but no one listens.


Goes, Anagram for Egos

An anagram of the location of this crop circle, “Goes,” is “Egos” providing a clue that this crop circle formation is rich in symbolic meaning.  Our ego or false self is the product of the dualistic perspective of the patriarchal God.  It is a judgment-based perspective of right and wrong or good and evil.  This perspective belongs to the ego, which pretends it’s God.  The false self has to pretend that it is the True Self, or we’d drop it in an instant.  It has to put on a great mask and look really good, or we wouldn’t submit to it.

Before the birth of the false self, mythology tells us that the male mind held pure unconditionally loving intentions (like the sun that shines unconditionally), while the feminine side of our mind held the earth wisdom.  God and Goddess were a perfect team.  The Goddesses’ wisdom was not a wisdom born of pain; it was a wisdom born of grace.

Butterfly symbolism also demonstrates our incredible potential to fly and see the big picture of life.  Without male-female balance, we are mere caterpillars or tiny snake-like creatures.  We must crawl on the ground.  Since we cannot fly, we cannot see the big picture.  We can only see a few feet in front of our noses.


The Vitruvian Man

The center of the butterfly is reminiscent of the Vitruvian Man minus the squared circle.  Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing was based on the work of the Roman architect known as Vitruvius.  Vitruvius made an extensive study of the proportions of the perfect human body and the geometry within that body.  The most notable feature of the Vitruvian Man is how neatly he fit within both a perfect square and a perfect circle.  This square was often considered earthly or feminine.  The circle was heavenly like the sun or masculine.  This was another symbol of the alchemical marriage.

Thus the perfect human was the blend of equally balanced masculine and feminine energy made manifest.  When man achieved this level of balance, he became the butterfly.  Without that balance, man was a lowly worm crawling on the ground.


The Numbers 9 and 10

If you count the inner circles on each of the butterfly’s wings, there are four sets of nine.  When you add four nines together, you get 36.  And if you add the three and the six, you again get nine.  So it was probably meant to be a numerological representation of an ending.

Nine is also the perfect representation of the human ego, or false mind.  If we look at the number nine it looks like a big head on a small body.  It’s a great metaphor for a human being who listens to the intellect and ignores the True Self.  It’s certainly nice to think of that false self ending or at least submitting to the True Self at the center.

The false human being was the product of the religions, cultures, social concepts, and beliefs of the past.  The beliefs that we received from our ancestors divided people into opposing groups who each proclaimed that they had the right God and right perspective of life.  The patriarchal god-mind (or Lords) wanted obedient slaves and warriors to fight their never-ending battle of good and evil.  This point of view created false power and the good life for just a few at the expense of the many.

People have confused this good and evil representation of God with the original notion of the Creator.  They put that God at the center instead of the balanced True Self (that combined masculine unconditional love and feminine wisdom).  It was an honest mistake.  In ancient times, the word God referred to the mind of the ancestors.  It was the voice of dad and mom and their parents and their parents that spoke in their minds and reminded them to obey their rules and keep their traditions alive.  It was also the voice of their early authority figures who made a strong impression on their minds.  It was the voice that criticized and told them that bad things that could happen.  It was the voice that told them how to be good.  But that voice was not the creator God; it was a collection of all the ancestral voices of the past playing in their heads like giant tape recordings.  These voices exist in all of us until we let them go.

The outer circles of the butterfly’s wings produce four sets of ten.  Ten is a very important number.  Zero in most cultures was the infinite.  It is also the nothingness from which everything else exploded.  In some of the ancient cultures, this was associated with the feminine because the feminine was the womb of all creation.  One represented the creator God who made only good in Genesis I.  One was the light and was considered masculine.  This God has no opposite; it was whole.  The darkness gave birth to the son, the light, or the True Self.  It was a symbol of birth or rebirth.

The perfect feminine and perfect masculine emanating from that feminine created our True Self or spirit.  When the True Self fills our minds, we are whole, balanced, and good (but not necessarily good from religious man-made standards).

Life on earth appears to be about falling out of our True Self so that we become lost in the illusory world of the false self, and then we remember who we are and return to paradise.  We are all prodigal children, and many believe that we are richer in wisdom if we take this journey and find our way back home.


Forty, The Number of Transformation

The four groups of ten equal forty.  In the Bible, forty was the number of major transitions.  Moses and his Israelites wandered the desert for forty years.  Jesus spent forty days in the desert.  And Noah was floating on water for forty days.  Forty represents the time in our life when we are lost in the illusion of the false self.  In each case there was a powerful transformation after the forty days, much like the butterfly’s metamorphosis.

The butterfly symbolism is perfect.  The caterpillar reminds us of the snake or serpent in the garden, who encouraged Adam and Eve to accept the world of good and evil, the false world.  This caused humans to fall into the illusory world of the false or ego mind.

The butterfly becomes totally liquid in his cocoon as he changes from a caterpillar to a beautiful, winged being.  He is lost in the illusion; there is nothing he can do but allow that stage to pass.   Fortunately for the butterfly, he has no mind (no beliefs) to prolong this stage; he just trusts and waits.  But human minds focus on the fall and delay the process.  Eventually, the butterfly does emerge with his male and female aspects balanced.  He is beautiful; and he can fly.  (I use he only for simplicity; obviously the metaphor applies to she also.)


The Sacred Thirteen

Adding all the circles together (40 + 36) gives us the number 76.  The seven plus the six was the very sacred number thirteen to the ancient ones.  Thirteen was the center of the horoscope surrounded by the twelve aspects of the personality, or the false self of the person.  This was someone who ruled the illusion.  The one who stood at the center of the collective horoscope was the master occultist.  He was often enlightened, but not free.

But there is one more circle on this crop circle; and that is the head, often associated with the human mind.  Adding that circle makes 77, a master number.  The seven was the number of completion.  A double seven was a major completion such as a resurrection, rebirth, or metamorphosis.

This might have represented the ultimate goal, where the initiates went beyond the numbers, the symbols, and the astrology.  They just become themselves.  They were free.


Eight, the Balance Heart and Head

Last, there are four arms and four legs on the human, which give us the number eight.  The eight was a balanced number with the head and heart in equal measure.  Turn it on its side and you get the infinity symbol.

In the ancient world, the alchemical marriage was the marriage of choice.  It was an inner marriage of masculine and feminine to make one whole, perfect being.  The ancient masters said that when this transformation occurred, the person was like a God and could turn lead into gold.


I Am Woman; Hear Me Roar

But let’s return to Helen Reddy.  The strangest thing about the alchemists was that they always kept one ingredient of their formula secret.   They listed all the chemicals and ingredients used.  But the last and most important ingredient, they kept secret.  These occult men built temples and churches dedicated to the goddess or the Madonna, and often to the black Madonna.   This was their way of saying that the missing ingredient was the feminine.

Without the feminine, the male was impotent from a creative standpoint.  He was powerful, but not creative.  The feminine represents our emotions.  Emotions told us where our thinking was wrong.  The male set the goal or intention.  But it was the feminine who had the wisdom to get him there; and her language was emotion, the roar.  If the male within us stayed on course, the women was quiet and wise.  She only needed to roar when our inner male chose thoughts that got us off course.

So it was a beautiful full circle moment that day in the metaphysical (metaphysical means beyond the physical) library when Helen Reddy sent the librarian this beautiful photograph that eventually found its way to me.

Metamorphosis, the symbolic alchemical act of the butterfly, represented our own change or transformation.  And when we understand Helen Reddy’s powerful message, a transformation does occur that turns all men and women into beautiful butterflies.

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
I am strong
I am invincible



Cathy Eck is a true pioneer always pushing the boundaries of thought and beliefs. Cathy is courageous about exposing the status quo. While her ideas might not be popular, they are effective, practical, and true. They create unity where division once existed. They create love where hate had reigned. They create joy where pain and sorrow were once normal. They are ideas worth considering and hopefully embracing.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Liz

    I think we are near a time of great awakening – a leap in evolution. I think this may imply that we are more than we think we are.

  2. vinci

    In the center of the butterfly is the Vitruvian Man… I’m not sure if it represents a man… the body shape is more probably the one of a woman… plus, there are two more circles, quite invisible patched in that body centered in the chest and navel.

    1. Cathy

      Like any symbol. There are many ways to see it. But I changed my wording so what I am saying is more clear and doesn’t conflict with other ways of viewing. I used the term as it was stated by others, but I think the Vitruvian Man was always meant to be androgynous. Cathy

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