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Reply To: The Metamorphic Journey,” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”


Thanks for sharing this. I’m a big fan of the puns. And not just because of the humor part, which they often carry. But often a deeper meaning accompanies as you point out with “monarch.”

I mean, I appreciate their ambiguity. I remember my creative writing mentor once quoting John Ashbery, and rather sternly “…and ambiguity is clarity!” It struck me. Each of the term’s meanings is the meaning, yes. But more importantly, all of the terms’ meanings are, simultaneously, it’s meaning in a sort of linguistic synesthesia. And I suspect that one need not focus on each to receive the meaning, (or better, experience of the meaning), but rather that their collective meaning is experienced in some way that I am incapable of putting words to. But it certainly opens the vista of possibilities.

Yes, monarch being both ruler and a butterfly. And in the context you provide, a ruler that abuses power and then the butterfly which I don’t think is very bully-ish.  But an excellent symbol of transformation being caterpillar, chrysalis, and finally wings, a sublimation from crawling on the ground to fluttering in the sky, transporting the creature vertically from the lower to upper realms.

So you show in the ambiguity you provided, the two sides of the political monarch, high flying and then the caterpillar shadow, as you say, of potential abusive ruler.

And then there is a sort of third pun, well, actually a slant-pun, if we look at the Greek word for soul psyche, we find it also means, in Greek, a kind of butterfly. How fitting, seeing the butterfly’s individuation (caterpillar/chrysalis/wings), and also even in its flight pattern, reminiscent of scissoring, going in a particular direction yet doing so in an almost frenetic or unpredictable manner. Much like the psychic journey. Reminds me of a famous quote from Jung:

“But the right way to wholeness is made up, unfortunately, of fateful detours and wrong turnings.  It is a longissima via, not straight but snakelike, a path that unites the opposites in the manner of the guiding caduceus, a path whose labyrinthine twists and turns are not lacking in terrors.”