Sojourn Magazine, Fall 1999, Volume 3, Issue 4 

 Butterfly Woman
Butterfly Woman -- Kelly Lewis. All photos and artwork provided
My name is Butterfly Woman. I am a spiritual storyteller, intuitive harpist and guided healer. I took this name seven years ago when I was thirty--even before I knew that a great transformation would be changing my life forever. The message of the butterfly is the message of transformation--that within each of us is a beautiful Self waiting to emerge. That is my message, to invite each of us to emerge from the cocoon and become the Self we really are. 

I believe we walk through our struggles in life so that we can become healers and teachers later. That's what gives us our passion, and the compassion that we bring when we go out into the world.

The story of life is old, but the journey is still just beginning...

This story begins when I went on a vision quest in the mountains north of Santa Cruz with Charles "Crow Man" Hawkins, a modern shaman. I had been going through personal challenges in my relationship with my husband, and inwardly was seeking a way to connect more deeply with my true Self. Raised as a Baptist in Louisiana, I had always sought a more personal spiritual experience not determined by the teachings of the church. I was open and ready, and was meditating regularly. 
     A week before the quest I met my spirit guide, "White Elk," who began preparing me immediately. I experienced this meeting initially as a sudden surge of energy, and then White Elk literally appeared sitting next to me, Crowman and Butterflyand began talking to me! I could hear and see her clearly. Communications from White Elk continued throughout the vision quest, and I experienced them as intense spiritual guidance. I also felt I was receiving confirmations that her messages were real. She guided me as the events of each day unfolded.  Once, she told me to go inside myself and be silent, just as Charles pulled the caravan of cars off to the side of the road and told everyone to be silent. At another point, when Charles was busy teaching other students, my attention was starting to drift, and White Elk told me, "Don't drift off. I want you to watch how he teaches." She guided me to stay focused and present.
     I stayed present in silence, and was told to make a talking stick from seaweed and shells that I found on the beach. I took it with me up to the spot I had chosen for visioning. My energy was very focused. White Elk gave me specific instructions about how to meditate and she told me I would be finding something and would bring it back with me.

Meeting the Self
As I journeyed inward, I found a sacred song inside my body. I had not been singing publicly, or even out loud, since high school. In fact, my husband had never heard me sing. The song I found sounded like ancient grieving. I sang it and cried for an hour. Something had broken loose that helped me to a deeper place inside my Self. I walked into an inner space that felt like a room. In its middle there was a presence--a goddess-like woman who stood with two animals beside her. I walked around her, and when I came to face her I looked into her eyes. They were my eyes. I suddenly realized that she was my true Self, and I said with conviction, "You're coming back with me." She said, "Yes, I know." I emerged from that quest with my newfound other half. During the next year, my life changed drastically. For one thing, I started singing publicly for the first time in years--and this was improvisational singing, with no preparation. Later I bought a harp from a friend, and after I had played it for four days I gave a live concert. Again I became a performance artist overnight!
     At a very young age I remember wondering, "Where is my tribe?"  Somehow I knew that without being part of a tribe and having elders to guide me in using my gifts, I wouldn't know what to do in life. So I did as many others have done. I shut my talents away and waited for my teachers to arrive. Fortunately, they did. My teachers have been many. 
      The year after the vision quest, Lois "Blue Bird" Collard--a gifted seer and healer from Santa Cruz--came into my life and began to clear my heart and body of blockages. Her incredible talents were most helpful in aiding me to unlock my gifts as a clairvoyant and clairaudient. Through my work with Lois, I also met a wonderful presence that I call "the Great Mother," who brought me a sense of additional relief and assurance. As my awareness and my connection with the Great Mother grew, I knew I was beginning to remember who I am, as if I were waking from a deep sleep. Great Mother told me that as each of us tells our story, our awareness of our connection with one another is strengthened. We are all different, but we all are an essential piece of the tapestry of life. 
     I have had to change and adapt as my world and awareness have shifted. Many times I thought I had reached some great understanding only to find that deeper awareness brought an entirely new insight--leaving me baffled as to whether I ever really knew anything at all. Humility and gratitude have become my greatest allies. I credit Great Mother for teaching me this.

Emergence of the Butterfly
The next stage of my transformation occurred in Sedona, Arizona. While attending a healing workshop with my dear friend Lois, I was escorted to several power vortices by our host, Mary-Margaret Rose. Each experience at one of these power spots brought me closer to my Self.
     One of the last spots we visited was said to be an extraterrestrial stronghold. There I met another spirit guide--this time a male, who appeared before me and instructed me to walk to a particular cave on the top of a cliff. The cliff was high and hard to climb, and we only had a short time to remain there with the group. I turned to this guide and said, "If you want me to get to that cave, you'll have to help me get there." There was a sudden pressure on my back, as if a hand began pushing me. I walked straight up that cliff, and was at the mouth of the cave in less than three minutes--without becoming winded. 
     Once in this cave, I sat still and closed my eyes, awaiting further instruction. My guide stepped forward; I felt a sense of anticipation and saw him take my hand. He escorted me as my higher Self to an elevated place, and invited some of the others with him to gather before us. He then instructed two of them to come forth. They pulled on me and I saw my body split apart. I emerged with wings and floated above the entire gathering.  The guide turned to me at that moment and said, "You never have to deny who you are again. You are the Queen of the Butterfly People."
    As I climbed back down to rejoin the group, you can imagine my shock and wonderment at this unusual experience. I didn't tell a soul about it. Who would believe me, and what purpose would it serve anyway? It took years to understand what was meant, and to come to grips with the idea of being an extraordinary person living an extraordinary life. This life is a daily adventure in trust and surrender, and being a queen, I learned, is all about service.

Healing Ancestral Threads
As my sense of Self began to identify more and more with Butterfly, I began learning the myths and mystery teachings about her and her people. Everything I read or saw about butterflies fascinated me. I learned that in Navajo teachings she is called the "keeper of secrets." I began to see butterflies everywhere, and met other people who were also being touched by these incredible creatures of transformation.
     My journey continued with the awakening of my "healing table." For years healers had told me they could see a pyramid shape in my body. I would say, "Yes, so I am told," but that had little or no meaning to me. Then one day I felt a strong presence around me. I sat down to meditate to see what was happening with my energy, and found myself inside a pyramid. In its middle was a big stone sarcophagus. I walked up to its edge and saw a stone step going all the way around. As I stepped up on this ledge, I saw an indentation for a body in the top of the stone. The stone appeared to be a living presence. I remembered reading about a religion based on a living stone in The Ancient Teachings of All Ages. I thought, "This is a living stone. It breathes." I closed my eyes to see more. A shaft of white light was enlivening the table. I saw that when a person lies on that stone, they are lying on the hand of the Creator--the All That Is, the Source. Suddenly, an eagle, one of the animals that walks beside me, flew in. The eagle said, "Ask your friends to let you practice with them--to come and experiment with you. You'll start to remember what you can do with it."
     Four years ago, I started practicing with friends on this table. I found it facilitates what I call "whole" or "universal" healing. What I do is hold the space, like any good guide, because actually we are all healing ourselves. I learned that at the core of each of us there is a masculine/feminine, mother/father energy that comes from the place of beginning--where we started out as form. When working in the container of this pyramidal energy field, the mother/father energy that is all-seeing and all-knowing is called in. It stands at our head and feet to guide and assist our healing journey. Ascended masters and archangels are also present. The body lying on the table calls in all its aspects for healing--physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, the seen and unseen, known and unknown.
   The butterfly people taught me there are parts of our lives that can be healed even without the aid of our conscious understanding. For example, I had experienced a free-floating feeling of hatred toward males in my body for years, and although I had asked three healers to pull that energy out of my body, it had never left. One day, the butterfly people showed me a horrific vision from my ancestral past. I wasn't sure why I was being shown that scene. However, when I was with my friend Alaya later for a healing, my guides came in and said, "It's time for you to learn how to clear ancestral threads." Alaya also heard what they were saying, and was told to assist me. I was instructed to call in my ancestors from seven generations back, and the unborn children seven generations into the future. They all happened to be female, and gathered around me in a circle.
    I felt a presence of energy touching me. Angels were pulling things out of my body. My grandmothers, who had already passed, suddenly ascended to another level. The unborn children who were there looked like little balls of light. Alaya and I were witnessing this as a mutual experience. We both saw a spirit float by, and at the same time we said, "Wow!"
    In the next week I had conversations with my mother and three sisters, and found that every one of us had a female infection of some kind--either a bladder or a yeast infection. I thought this was odd, and I centered myself to find out what was going on. Spirit said, "Call your Aunt Betty." My aunt is an herbalist and healer. When I called and told her about my experience with the healing of ancestral threads, she said, "I could feel it." She had been fasting for three days, and had been aware of healing energy coming through her. "In my meditation," she said, "spirit told me I was going to go back six generations, not seven." I said, "Aunt Betty, I'm the first generation." "Oh, of course," she said.  She then performed a distance healing on behalf of the women in the family. By the next morning, all of us were well. Then spirit said to me, "Now do you believe it's real?" I did. 
   After that I started working often with ancestral healing. The healer for the family lies in the middle of the wheel, surrounded by seven generations forward and seven backward. Strong in spirit, that person becomes an anchor for the whole family. Many events on the Earth right now are causing ancestral threads to be ready for healing. But these patterns unravel only when the people involved are ready on the inner plane. The free will of an individual is never violated by an intervention of this type. In the last six months, the butterfly people have told me this inner readiness is starting to occur on a global level--and is beginning to make a worldwide impact in the healing of longstanding traumatic events. They assured me, "Don't worry, the circle of people who will do this work with you will appear." 

 I began to meet other people who were experiencing the butterfly phenomenon as well. Together we have been forming a growing family. On the Internet, I met Alan Moore, who calls himself "Butterfly Man." Of seven hundred emails he received that first day, he opened mine--then drove from Berkeley almost immediately to meet me. Alan told me about Thomas Takashi Tanemori, a survivor of Hiroshima, who has also encountered the butterfly people. That night, I read Thomas's childhood vision of a white crane that turned into a butterfly.
   The day before the Hiroshima bombing, Thomas, then eight years old, had gone into a bomb shelter with his family during an air raid. He fell asleep, and in his sleep a man in a white robe suddenly appeared saying, "Takashi (his name in Japanese), let's go," and grabbed him by the hand. Thomas protested, "No, I don't want to leave my dad." The man became more forceful, saying, "We must go." They floated out of the shelter, and could see the whole city of Hiroshima from above. Then the robed man said, "Takashi, look at your heart." Thomas said, "I looked down, and all I saw was darkness." Then the man said, "No, look at your heart!" A white beam of light was streaming out of his heart. 
     Thomas and his companion floated on the beam from Thomas's heart. They floated over seven rivers and seven holy cities, until they reached a mountain on which a traditional Japanese home sat. It looked to Thomas as if there were no life there, and a sense of sadness came over him. The man brought the boy to a rock, sat him down and said, "I must leave you now, but I have brought you to friends." Thomas said, "Don't leave me," and sat on the rock and cried. Then suddenly he heard, "Takashi, I'm here." It sounded like a little boy's voice, but when he looked around all he saw was a white crane moving toward him. As it got closer, he saw that the white crane was speaking to him, saying, "Takashi, I'm here!"
     The white crane told Thomas that one day a rain of arrows in the rice fields had killed his whole family, and that he was to forgive the hunters who did it. When he finished telling the story, a ball of red fire came out of the sky. The white crane was pulled into the fire. Thomas reached up and Thomas Takashi Tanemorigrabbed the crane by the leg and wouldn't let go. He was afraid his friend was going to die, and hung onto the crane's leg for dear life. The crane said, "Thomas, let go. I'll be back." Thomas reluctantly let go, and the crane was swept into the fire. There was a smell of burning flesh, and glowing embers all around. Then all at once the embers grew wings and turned into butterflies. Thomas was still crying, but his friend's voice said, "Takashi, I'm here." A white butterfly was dancing in front of him saying, "It's me. I'm here. I'm okay, and you're going to be just fine too." The white butterfly told him that he would survive and be okay. Suddenly it flew above all the butterflies, and they followed it like geese.
     Just as the butterflies were flying off, Thomas's father shook him by the shoulder and woke him. "Takashi, the air raid is over. It's two in the morning. Let's go home." Five hours later, Thomas was playing hide-and-seek on a playground close to ground zero. When the bomb hit, his baby sister, mother and six other family members were killed instantly. Thomas was buried under two feet of rubble, and half of his body was burned. A soldier, however, found him and pulled him out. He survived. His father found him that day, only to die one month later from radiation exposure.

A Mystery Unfolds 
In 1985, Thomas was driving across the Bay Bridge on his way to San Francisco to give a "revenge speech." He planned to vent his anger that Americans had destroyed his family, his life and his country by dropping the atomic bomb. As he drove, he looked in the sky and saw a cloud that reminded him of the mushroom cloud in Hiroshima. Suddenly, he remembered his healing vision with the white butterfly the day before the bombing. In San Francisco that day, he changed his speech. Instead of expressing anger, he asked for forgiveness from all the people who were there. From that day forward, he has used the white butterfly as a symbol for peace and love.
     The day after I met Alan, a man came to me for a healing session, and brought me the leg of a white crane in exchange for the healing. I immediately knew this was for Thomas. I wrote Thomas a letter offering to play my harp for him, and to tell him the butterfly story on my harp. He invited me to come over. When I walked in to meet Thomas, I handed him the leg of this crane. He said, "You don't know how meaningful this is to me." He showed me a painting he had made of himself, as a little boy hanging onto the leg of a crane. Then I told him my story of the butterfly people and of remembering who I am. 
     The next day Thomas wrote me a letter. He said, "I had a dream that I was stroking your hair, and you turned into a butterfly. Your hair turned into iridescent wings." As I started to meditate about this, the Great Mother told me, "You were there." I wasn't incarnated in this life yet, but I was there. I was one of the butterfly people in Thomas's dream--maybe even his white butterfly!

Holocaust Healing
The butterfly people are assisting the Earth in healing catastrophic global events. These events have caused great, entangled ancestral threads among our communities--destructive patterns that have left us all wounded and in a constant state of re-creation of the past. Many of us believe that the threat of atomic war and holocaust is now rising up for healing. Do you see it? Kosovo is only one example. Not one nation or tribe is left out of these threads. Every human, and the entire animal and plant kingdoms, were part of a holocaust. Besides our war with Japan, spirit told me that previous atomic wars--from a more ancient time in our history--are also being healed at this time. As these energies release, disruption occurs. Similarly, when the Earth quakes, we know that she is readjusting herself. That is a difficult point of view for people to understand. We don't like to watch people suffer, and we are upset by violence that just begets more violence. Yet healing circles are forming. Join one, and know that a single drop of water makes a ripple in the pond. Be that drop of water, and feel the ripples of your connection to the entire universe. We are all family in spirit.
   One more person who has come into my life is a beautiful man, Andrew Mount, whom I call Mountain.  Recently, he took me to the airport. I was going to a conference in Spokane, Washington with Thomas and Alan Moore to give a workshop on the butterfly. That evening when I called Mountain, he told me, "On the way home, after I said goodbye to you and Thomas, a butterfly flew over the car. Then a moment later a white crane flew over." I said, "Welcome to the family, Mountain." 
    We are all connected, and so blessed to be given this assistance from heaven and Earth. May the Great Mother speak to you as she has to me. Blessings for your good journey. May you find your way.

    Butterfly Woman, Kelly Lewis lives in Cupertino. She can be reached by email at: Thomas Takashi Tanemori has written a book about his butterfly vision. His email address is: Alan Moore, "Butterfly Man," receives email at:  

 Butterfly Woman  ~  Cover Artist: Flory Chowe  ~  From the Editor  
Rivers of Time  ~  Spiritual Midwifery 

All Rights Reserved Copyright © 1999 Sojourn Magazine