Karl has been working with the I Ching for many years, and he guided me through a reading to some interesting, well, not answers, but some interesting things to think about. Then he advised me to be open to signs that might appear and give me additional guidance.
The next day, a tent caterpillar climbed up the front of my blouse.
I was at a Yi Ren Qigong seminar, and I’d gone outside to eat lunch with a friend. I’d barely sat down and begun to eat when I looked down and there he was, with his black face and orange bristles, already at midriff level, come from who knows where and climbing upwards with who knows what intent.
My friend flicked him off my blouse. He left an orange spot the size of a dime. The tent caterpillar had pooped on me!
Was this a sign?
My friend said it might be—and I should remember what time it happened because that might be important. After lunch, another friend said, “Oh, maybe it means you’re about to become a butterfly! Oops, no, you have to become a pupa first, but maybe that will be short, maybe it will happen today.”
Later a third friend said, “Barbara, it’s just a sign that Seattle is infested with tent caterpillars! There are streets that are orange with their slime.”
That pretty much ended the discussion.
I have a pretty hard time with the concept of signs anyway. Do they have objective meaning or do they simply mean whatever they evoke in you? And how do you tell if something is a sign and not just a random event—and then, if you decide it’s a sign, how do you figure out what it means?
If my tent caterpillar was a sign, did it mean that I am about to undergo some sort of transformation and metaphorically become a butterfly, light and free? Or might it be a warning that there are creepy, slimy, prickly forces out there wanting to devour me?
I’m kind of liking the butterfly interpretation—and never mind that what emerges from a tent caterpillar cocoon is a drab, chunky moth who, if female, will likely mate, lay eggs and die within 24 hours. I feel drawn to somehow pulling inside for a time, doing qigong, meditating, walking in the woods, listening, breathing, noticing, so that I might emerge, having been transformed or at least having figured something out.
Will this happen? Will I make the changes that would let it happen? I don’t know.
All I know for sure right now is that I thought I got the orange spot out of my blouse with a special spot remover for removing red wine stains, but it is still there.
It is faint, but it is there.…