I am deep into the exploration of mystical experiences this week, and am recalling more and more of these experiences that I have had over the years. As I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon, many of the mystical experiences I have had involve nature. Being in nature and observing nature are ways that I feel closest to God and that I learn about what God is like. I’d like to share with you an experience I had about 13 or so years ago.
At the time, I had recently become interested in dragonflies and their symbolism. Dragonflies represent transformation, much like the butterfly, but the difference is that dragonflies spend the first 1-3 years of their life as a nymph, scouring the bottom of ponds for things to eat with their huge extendable jaws. It isn’t until they crawl up out of the water one day onto a reed and suddenly crack open their bodies, shedding the water-breathing nymph form and setting free the delicate, stained-glass-like wings, that their metamorphosis is complete. Therefore, dragonflies represent the transformation we undergo when we leave behind the pain, sorrow, dysfunction, and immaturity of our youth and emerge as mature spiritual beings.
Because I really related to this symbolism, I had been debating whether to get a dragonfly tattoo. One day I went hiking at one of my favorite places—Soberanes/Garrapata in Big Sur. As I began my walk, which criss-crosses the creek multiple times, I saw many dragonflies near the water. I stopped to admire them and one landed on my arm. Rather than quickly fly away, however, it just stayed there on my arm. I held my arm up to my face and looked right into its huge eyes for what felt like the longest time. I sensed that God was telling me I was ready for the kind of transformation that dragonflies represent—that I was ready to leave behind some of the spiritually immature ways of my youth and emerge into greater spiritual maturity. It felt like a moment of “cracking open,” just like the dragonfly experiences when it leaves behind its nymph body and emerges as an exquisite flying being. In that moment, I knew I had my answer and that dragonflies would be a spirit totem for me from that point on.
As we continue to explore this topic over the next weeks, I hope you have a chance to reflect on some of the mystical experiences you may have had in your life. Usually, when these experiences are most impactful, they stay with us despite many years having passed. We may not recall the exact details of the experience, but we usually remember quite vividly how it felt or the message we felt we received from Spirit. If you recall something you would like to share during our Sunday service, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I have a couple of folks lined up already to share and I’m sure people would love to hear about your mystical experience too! I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!
Many Blessings! ~ Rev. Michelle