I wanted to tell you about why I was so inspired by the Swallowtail and Monarch butterflies. There is really a deep spiritual connection for me and not many know about it. We don't talk about these kinds of things because they are so personal but if my art is going to be out there I feel it needs to have a deeper explanation than just what people see.......butterflies.
I was participating in one of our ceremonies we have here that is called Hanblaceya or Crying for a Vision. I was sitting in a small clearing on the side of Bear Butte and was suffering greatly from being attacked by the mosquito nation, great pangs of hunger, a throbbing headache and the expectation of how much longer we were going to be there, doesn't sound like the beautiful romanticized “spiritual” ceremony does it but, just a regular "Human" thing.
Anyway, early in the morning just as the sun had come up a huge swallowtail butterfly came right over my head and circled around my head and all around the area I was in. The Swallowtail was the biggest butterfly I had ever seen! I sat there watching him float around like a piece of tissue paper being blown around by the wind. He circled and flew around me like he was inspecting me for about five minutes and then left. After we were brought down from the hill and put in the inipi, (sweat lodge), we could finally talk to the medicine man about what we were shown by the spirits. Everyone had such beautiful visions to tell just like you would see in a movie or something, you know spirits coming and whispering in their ears or buffalo spirits coming to them and blowing hot air on their heads and on and on and on.
Well, I didn't think that the visit from the Swallowtail was as spiritual or beautiful as everyone else's so I didn't say anything. It wasn't like the dream or vision I had thought that we were supposed to have- it was just something real. After about 6 months and seeing butterflies "EVERYDAY" I went to the medicine man and told him what had happened. I was told that I am supposed to pay attention to everything no matter how small or unimportant it may seem. Everything that moves is sacred. The Swallowtail was there to let me know that I was on the right path at that point in my life and that every time I saw a butterfly from that day forward I would be reminded of our Lakota Lifeways.
Every since then my wife, Valerie, and I see butterflies that no one else even notices. I have had instances when I most needed to be reminded of our Lifeways that a butterfly will appear and show it's self to me. I’ve seen Swallowtails and Monarchs in crowded cities. I want to show people but, they are too busy to see. It keeps me grounded and reminds me of who I am and makes me feel like I am home no matter where I am. Today, seeing a butterfly is a the most special thing for me and my wife it is like our little secret when a butterfly comes to us and no one else pays attention to it, we just sit there and look at each other and smile.
The Monarchs migration from Canada to Mexico every year to be with it’s own kind shows a great love for each other. Something so small is capable of that. The realization of that Power that a butterfly can have reminds me that Love is one of the most important things a living thing can have. When I most need it, I was told to remember, that I am Loved. My Ancestors gave everything so that I could be here...... that I AM LOVED.
Anyway, I just thought this story would help you to understand why I did this piece. It's not just something pretty to look at but, has a very deep meaning for me and my family. Kevin Pourier