A Parable on Metamorphosis


A Parable written at Burning Man:

One sunny day, the cocoon calls to the caterpillar, “Hey you! It’s time. Come on inside.” 

The caterpillar said to the cocoon - “I hate you. You confine me. How dare you limit my freedom.”

The cocoon shrugged its shoulders.

“I’m just doing my job.”

The caterpillar angrily looks at the cocoon, wanting to destroy it. 

“It’s all dark and depressing in there. Why would I go in there?!”

The cocoon says, “Only if you’re afraid of the dark, of infinite possibilities, of dancing in the unknown.”

The caterpillar sneers, “Whatever the hell that means. I’m going to keep going about my business and eating leaves. I don’t need you.”

The cocoon, unperturbed, says, “Okay then. See you soon.”

Caterpillar says, “No you won’t! I’m not coming back.” 

Cocoon shrugs and says, “Okay then.” With a knowing smile 


Two weeks later, 

The caterpillar is big and fat and stuffed. 

It’s been eating all leaves and can barely move. 

Fat and heavy, caterpillar sits on his leaf and looks around. 

“I’m bored” he thinks. 

“I’ve eaten everything. I’ve sat in the sun. I’ve made friends. What else is there to do?”

He looks around. 

See the cocoon hovering on a leaf. 

“That old thing? Still hanging out? Why hasn’t cocoon moved on?”

Cocoon laughs, “I’m just here waiting for you to be ready for your rebirth.”

Caterpillar scoofs and keeps eating. “I’ll never leave the sunshine to go into your dark, creepy cave. Bug off already.” 


A week later, 

Caterpillar can’t move. Too much leaves. Too much sun. 

He’s gotten too big. He’s too hot, his skin is cracking. 

His skin doesn’t fit over his body anymore. 

He feels sick to his stomach for no apparent reason. 

Past bored, he is getting ill. 

He lays on his leaf, groaning in pain. 

The cocoon whispers, “Come honey. Are you ready now? It’s cold and damp and nourishing in here.” 

He looks over. Considers it. He asks quietly, “Will I be okay? Is it safe?”

Cocoon answers, “I can’t promise you’ll be okay. But I’m not sure you have any other choice.” 

He looks at his bloating, peeling, crusty body and nods slowly. “I think you’re right.” 

He crawls, humbled and afraid, into the cocoon. 


Inside it’s dark. Cold. 

He can’t see an inch in front of his nose. 

From king of the plant garden to a nobody with no clue.

He feels his body dissolving into goo. Not painful, exactly, but uncomfortable, like a slipping away of anything to hold on to. 

Scared he asks the cocoon, “How long will I be in here? What’s happening to me?”

The cocoon answers, “Neither of us know. Let’s wait and see what happens.”

Day by day he dissolves. 

He feels lonely - missing all his garden friends. 

Hating the discomfort, yearning for the sunshine. 

Confused and lost, aching to have solid ground once again. 


And then, one day, it changes. 

He starts to enjoy the cocoon. 

The cool darkness feels safe, cozy, caressing his dissolving body. 

He relaxes and lets go fully, falling asleep more deeply than he has in years. 


The next morning, there’s a crack in the cocoon. 

A little watery morning light is shining through. 

“Whaaaat?!” He says. 

Cocoon says, “Ooo this is getting good.” 

He moves about in the cocoon until another crack forms. 

Freezing, he tries not to make any more cracks. 

“Keep my home together.” He thinks 

But it’s too late. 

The cocoon is crumbling into a thousand pieces. 

It’s time. 

Burst into the sunshine, he moves about. 

Something on him feels solid. 

A shell. 

He stretches his arms and wings follow. 

Shocked he says, “What happened to me?!”

In the dark, he hasn’t noticed his body was changing. 

It happened to him. 

Having done nothing to bring about this change, he felt uncertain. 

“Can I trust it?”

Cocoon, laying in a thousand pieces, whispers, “Yes. This is, in fact, the only thing you can trust.”



I'd love to hear from you! Does this resonate with your experience of your own inner "metamorphosis"? What is your experience of deep inner change like?