Lessons from a Blue-Violet Butterfly: A Short Story by Pat Carrington

blue-violet butterfly on yellow flowerI want to share with you a little inspirational story with a slightly mystical tone that I wrote several years ago. Here is its history.

Some years ago, I purchased a set of cards entitled “Star+Gate” that had a profound effect on my life, but not quite the way the creators of the cards intended.

The authors seemed to want me to use them almost as one would use Tarot cards, for in-depth predictions or insights.  Actually, they may have indirectly done this for me, but I consciously refused to use them as directed.  Being a writer in my heart, I did something different.

As the instructions told me to do, I would obediently shuffle the deck and draw three cards from it each time and dutifully make up a story around the pictures on those cards. The drawings were provocative and mythical in nature and this spurred my imagination.  So, although I refused to use them for divination or even for personal insights, I happily wove fanciful stories around each of the three card “draws” and these stories had a life of their own. I referred to them as my “StarGate Chronicles” and I filled many notebooks with them, which I treasure to this day.

This week, in cleaning out my house radically because I will be moving this spring/summer to another part of the country, I found some of these tales and one in particular struck me as something I would like to share with you, my readers, this week.  I have never before shared my StarGate stories with any but a few close friends, though I may decide to share more of them in the future because they all speak to some truths, which were brought to my attention by the Star+Gate cards.

So below is the first of these stories for you to ponder on and take from whatever you want – and these are the three cards that inspired this tale.

Star+Gate Cards - Inspired Story



The little boy had been warned repeatedly about the dangers of falling into the water and drowning, but he hadn’t thought much about it although this was actually a possibility in the rocky terrain where his family camped. There were many mountain streams and rapids there and sometimes these contained treacherous whirlpools.

However, it is in the nature of children to explore, and left to their own devices, if not frightened about life by adults, it is also their nature to be quite unafraid of such things as whirlpools or other disastrous pitfalls of life.

So it was that on this pleasant summer’s day, warm and sunny but crisp with a touch of approaching Fall, the little boy, quite naked and free to go forth into the woods, was excited by the idea of prancing about and exploring the world. Accordingly he set out to go far afield.

To this child, “life” soon became all about a butterfly which he spied fluttering about from bush to bush. The little creature seemed to him incredibly fascinating as it darted about in front of his eyes as though playing a game of hide and seek. It even seemed to smile at him, so closely was it focused on the child and on its little game with him.

A charming playtime then occurred between the golden boy and this creature of nature. It was all engrossing, one of those wonders that makes the day of a child infinite and all absorbing.

However, back at the campsite, things were not going so well. The child’s mother was worrying intensely. Where was her son? Why didn’t he answer her when she called out to him? She could not answer her own questions and dread thoughts came into her mind.

“The whirlpool!” the mother suddenly thought to herself. “The whirlpool in the stream in the woods! That’s why he doesn’t answer my calls!”

“Oh my God!” She gasped “the whirlpool!”

Now, having talked herself into a state of panic, despair and anger at the child for endangering himself, the mother rushed to try to save him.

At first she circled the woods calling out desperately to him. But since he was on the other side of the woods in an open space where butterflies love to play with children, he didn’t hear her and remained happily running in the game of hide and seek.

Not finding her son and getting no response to her frantic calls, the mother, heart pounding in her throat, headed straight for the site of the whirlpool. Dreading what she might find, she knew she must go to this place if she was to save him.

When she came to the turbulent stream she stopped short, dizzified, and half faint from fear at what she saw.

Before her a mountain whirlpool swirled within the depths of the stream. Never had a whirlpool seemed to her to be so strong or so determined, never had it looked so ominous.

She felt a choking feeling. At first it threatened to smother her, almost stop her breathing, but as she kept gazing into the rhythmic swirl of the waters she began to notice a strange glow, a luminosity she had not seen there at first. It seemed to speak to her, and when she saw it she cried “My son!” and sank to her knees.

“My golden son! My beautiful child has disappeared into these waters!” she cried “He is in those depths, I know it for I can see his shining little self radiating from them. The pool has absorbed him!”

Wild with grief the mother now threw herself on the banks of the stream and plunged her arms into the swirling waters – reaching and reaching as she sought desperately to find her baby whom she believed to be already drowned.

The mother wept wildly as she flailed the water. She implored her son to return to her. She cried out in pain and grief until, too exhausted to cry anymore, she collapsed on the riverbank and, her face streaked with tears, she clasped her hands in prayer and looked up to see, to her surprise, what seemed to be a great and shining cross in the sky.

The cross seemed to glow in the heavens and she pled to it for help for her son. She cried out to it and beseeched it to help her and to save him.

And as she prayed, and as she cried, she gradually became calmer. The cross now seemed like a great figure with outstretched and protecting arms. And then she saw the cross offering help and salvation to her son wherever he might be. The great arms of the cross seemed to signal to her that no matter how intense the tragedy might seem, her son was safe somewhere, in some other realm perhaps, or on some other plane. But wherever, he was protected. He had been taken and was being looked after with tenderness and love and understanding. His small precious self was being honored.

As the mother half knelt before the imagined cross, she felt peace growing within her. She glanced down again into the swirling waters of the pool and there she saw the radiance in the water increasing to a dazzling point and in it she saw the wonder of her son and as she did so she cried out. “Oh thank you God – thank you for letting me have him with me for a little while. He was a gift beyond gifts…”

And as the mother gave thanks, weeping with a strange but deep gratitude at having had this wondrous child, she felt herself begin to accept his death. Despite the deep wound in her heart, it was beginning to be acceptable because of her child’s abiding beauty.

“Something that good we cannot keep,” she surprised herself by saying. “Something that good is like the butterflies in the field that flit here and there and then are gone.” And now the mother understood the loss of her son and began to accept it more because she felt his beauty.

And the moment she did this, she heard a child’s merry piping voice behind her. It came from a place at the edge of the woods where her son had just emerged from the forest, a beautiful butterfly perched on his shoulder.

“Mommy!” he called out happily. “Mommy! Look at the butterbug! A butterbug landed on my shoulder and he rode with me all this way!”

There was indeed a delicate fragile-winged blue-violet butterfly on her son’s shoulder. It was the butterfly that had alighted there when they were playing and the child had had the presence of mind not to try to catch hold of the little creature, but to let it just ride on him, free and trusting, as a traveler in the sun. It had accompanied him on his walk through the woods to his mother and was still perched there trustingly.

“Look, the butterbug didn’t fly away!” said the child.

“And neither did you,” whispered the mother, bewildered at the shock of seeing her son and overwhelmed by the simplicity of it all. “…neither did you…”

Once again she was crying but this time in joy and wonder.

But despite her relief she was careful not to grab her son to her too quickly, or to hug him too profoundly or to grasp him to her, for to have done so would have been to make the butterfly fly away forever, and he had brought this creature all that way because of his childish understanding of it. He had known enough not to hold the butterfly. He had understood more than she herself had understood…

The mother smiled through her tears. Butterflies are like children, she thought, they cannot be held too tightly. They are here through their own grace, their own will, and they can fly away again at a moment’s notice. But if we love them and we let them alight upon our shoulders easily and without grasping, they may remain with us for quite a while. They are indeed a gift…

I would love to hear any thoughts you have after you read this story. You can reach me at Pat@PatCarrington.com or comment below.


  1. A wonderful story. It made me realize I should treat a new love in my life like a delicate butterfly. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I have been saving this story to read at a time when I wasn’t bombarded with other “stuff”. I just gave myself the gift of reading it. And, what a fabulous gift it is! Beautiful and poignant message. I just LOVED it — thank you so much for writing it and, especially for sharing it, Pat. What a talent you have. I hope you have an easy move and that your new place has a sacred space for your very inspired words.

    • How lovely Bev that you feel this. And yes, I thank you for the words about my move in the Spring/Summer – those things can be casual or they can be BIG in our lives, and this will be an important move all across the country to another climate and in many ways to a new way of being which I expect to be very close to what you are wishing for me. Thanks!

  3. Butterflies are Free; and I LIKE BUTTERBUGS BETTER! I wear my butterfly earrings when I want to feel at peace with the loss of loved ones. I am so happy that all the near misses of my children, raising 3 boys and a girl, resulted in happy endings. I will be adding Butter Bug stories to my Jelly Bean Book. It had blank pages before I started to fill it with sweet sayings and memories of 8 precious grandchildren. I have a few bits to add. I will write anew as I remember my children’s antics. I will call the memories of my heart stopping moments with my four, Butter Bugs, the slippery scares that tested my faith. Thank You Pat for putting a peaceful spin on some of the twists of their childhood on this mother’s heart.

    • Oh Clare, I love the idea that I put a peaceful spin on your good-endings and that perhaps my story inspired you to combine your creativity with your love for your children and grandchildren – a wonderful combination. Thank you so much for letting me know about it.

  4. This was a very touching story. I was drawn in with both the boy and the mother and am ready for more stories from your series. Thank you for your generosity in publishing this story and so much else.

  5. What a lovely story and I absolutely loved it!!!! Thank you Pat for sharing!

  6. May our butterflies remain with each of us forever. May many more mothers and “others” have the opportunity to become aware of the wisdom of this message-filled story. Pat, please let your wisdom continue to flow. More please.

    • Jane, I thank you for your lovely words about this little story that I myself sometimes reread with a sense of an entirely new message being given to me. Other stories of this series will indeed be shared in the future.

  7. Thank you so much for this uplifting story, Pat. I am grateful to you for sharing this gift. It was glorious. More, please.


  8. Dear Patricia,
    I loved this story and would really like to read more Stargate stories from you. What really touched my heart, because I fully agree with you, was the following:

    “Butterflies are like children, she thought, they cannot be held too tightly. They are here through their own grace, their own will, and they can fly away again at a moment’s notice. But if we love them and let them alight upon our shoulders easily and without grasping, they may remain with us for quite a while. They are indeed a gift…” What I understood was: “Children are like butterflies. They cannot be held too tightly. They are here through their own grace, their own will and can fly away again at a moment’s notice. But if we love them and let them alight upon our shoulders easily and without grasping, they may remain with us for quite a while. They are indeed a gift…

    Thank you.

    • Helena, what a sensitive awareness you described of the meaning of this story – a meaning which I like to renew in myself from time to time. For me it applies to all our close relationships, not just the one of mother to child – all people are butterflies in a sense, entitled to their freedom, and they are only “ours” when we allow it.

  9. A Wonderful Gift indeed, Pat: thank you!!!

    • David, I thank you greatly for sharing with me your appreciation of the message in this little story. I know you realize that this gives me an incentive to share many more of my Stargate stories and I will, from time to time, do so.

  10. Dear Patricia. I just loved your story. I am totally inspired. Thank you. “Imagination is the vehicle of the Will”. I’m doing a Caregivers course and learning a lot about children, story telling and imagination. Butterflies and moths are very special to me – metamorphasis/change/Beauty. Also your story tells me when we let go resistance, everything just works out fine. I look forward to more.

    • Fatima, I wrote you a quite long reply but it didn’t post and- got completely wiped away. I was talking about resistance and how its absense opens up life to us. Right now I myself must let go of wanting to get back (to have not have happened) the wipe-out of what I wrote, and it feels peaceful, like gliding on a barge down a gentle stream. Yes, non-resistance is an answer to so much…

  11. Wow! I loved it so much that I’m going to share it with my friends. It was beautiful! The fiction writer within you that is shy needs some tapping then your stories will really take off and touch many more hearts.

    • Oh Tomas – that’s a great idea! Tapping for my freedom to be me… Beautiful idea – and yes, I will do that tapping. And I will be sending these Stargate stories out from time to time into the world through the internet – one by one – and I can see their meaning growing as they are shared. It’s as those the stories were little beings who gained their strength from contact with other good beings known as humans. I remember that as a child I used to attend, once a year, a stage performance of the play “Peter Pan” And at a certain point during the play the actress who played Peter would come to the front of the stage and beg the children in the audience to clap to show that they believed in fairies – in order to restore the little Fairy, Tinker Bell to life. And as we clapped the spotlight that played the part of Tinker Bell as she flitted about the stage – and which had grown very weak and was fading fast at that point in the play – became brighter and brighter as we clapped – and it was our belief in fairies that restored little Tinkerbell every time that play was performed. I think my little stories will grow with all your energies directed their way – I can almost see them smiling right now and saying, “You finally let us out, Pat! It’s about time!” So thank you, Tomas, for reminding me.

  12. Oh my.
    My daughter Sandi, lost her “baby”, her 23 year old son Brian, in April of this year to a house fire (along with her home and everything in it).
    I immediately thought of Brian as I read this and wonder if I should share it with Sandi.
    What do you think.?
    Unlike the woman in the story, Sandi will not be getting Brain back, but the picture it paints is so beautiful.

    • Pat,

      I have a similar “what do you think?” question as Christina’s. My friend’s daughter, in the swirl of addiction; her mother, my friend in her own swirl of intense fear for her daughter — I also wonder about sharing your story.

    • What a beautifully written and thought provoking story. Who knows this may be the start of a children’s book for parents. 🙂 I shall be looking out for the next story.
      Thanks for sharing

    • Since my comment and question of November 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm has been ignored, I request that it be deleted/removed. Please.
      Thank you.

    • Dear Christine,

      I cut off answering here in the East last night but can do so now. Actually, I don’t think this story will do much for Sandi but I am not sure it will hurt her either. She needs to actually establish a deep contact with Brian, one that is lasting. I dont mean a conventional medium’s reading but some deep therapy work along the lines of sensing his presence and communicating on some truly meaningful level with him. If you want my suggestions along these lines you could email me at pat@patcarrington.com and maybe we could have a brief phone conversation in which I could explain what I mean by this. I’m standing by to be of help.

  13. Hi Pat. I just feel spellbound by your story. While reading your beautifully worded story I could feel different felt sensations in my body. I could so very easily relate to every word of your story but not sure of my reaction at the end of the story in reality. What a beautiful message so simply put. Its an awakening for alk of us !!. I am so very grateful to you for sharing this story with us all. Wiukd really love to read many more through your generosity. Thank you so very much Pat

    • Stephani, yes and dialoging is what I would like to do much of on this site. I agree with what you saw in the story. Ity seems to speak to us on many levels – how fascinating it is that just little pictures on cards can evoke so much from us! Thanks greatly for your comments.

    • Bina, it is comments like yours that are deciding me to post as many of these little stories as seem appropriate, it is so great for me to be able to share them and they take on a new life when I do. There is transformation in shared energies… Thanks for letting me know what you felt.

  14. Linda, Columbia SC

    Thank you for the lovely story. I sit here as the holiday season approaches knowing that my youngest child, her husband and my two grandchildren will not be with me this year. As sad as it makes me, I strive to find the joy of the holiday season itself and am glad to have health, a loving husband and FaceTime! One day we hope to be close again. Children are indeed like butterflies and I will be filled with joy when this butterfly flies home. Until then, I will find joy and happiness in my many other gifts from God.

    • Linda, what lovely comments. We all have to reapply these principles from moment to moment, to remember them, to remind each other of them. I wish you a lovely holiday with your capricious “butterflies” – I hopewe all have them in our lives, and I guess our lesson is to join in the energy of their freedom WITH them.

  15. A wonderful delight to see that you are a very special story teller, Pat. Your writing is superb! The mother and the boy were each led to circumstances because of their beliefs and thoughts about their situations. The boy was openhearted, fear-less and one with nature. The mother was frought with fear, leading her to the whirlpool and her belief that her son was the golden light inside. Our thoughts and beliefs lead our realities and our circumstances. Much to dialogue about here. Thank you.

    • Wonderful to hear from you Stephani! If you are the Stephani I know who lives near here, let’s have lunch again soon and “dialogue away” the time. If you are another Stephani, we can dialogue online to our heart’s content. I would love to do that.

  16. Beautifully written, Pat. Thank you for sharing this. Yes, you have the gift. What a surprise to discover the fiction writer within you.

    • The fiction writer within me is very shy and not exactly sure of my direction there – but now I take courage and will be publishing more of these stories. Thanks you so much for the great encouragement.

  17. What a very beautiful story you wrote! It’s creative, powerful, very moving and inspirational! You did an amazing job creating this lovely story.

    Thank you for sharing!

  18. Really touching and truly beautiful message within your story thank you hugs Mair x

    • Mair, how wonderful to reconnect with you over the “high seas” as they say! It means much to me that you, and others, like this little story because now I know that I can post other of my Stargate stories on my newsletter. I get something out of re-reading them myself and love to write them.

  19. My emblem is a blue butterfly and I love this story in its simplicity and acknowledge the importance of our totems in our lives as all native peoples do. I can ‘see’ the cards you drew out and love your interpretation of them. Many thanks.

  20. lovely messages within your story Pat

    • Robert, I am so encouraged by your comments and now some others have responded too more of these Staregate stories will be oublished in my newsletter and each time I think I will publish the pictures of the Stargate cards with the story itself. Thanks so much for taking the troiuble to write to me about this..

  21. A beautiful story, Pat! It leaves me with a sense of wonder, acceptance, and willingness to observe/participate/receive life without grabbing. That is something to strive toward. Thank you. Barbara

  22. Loved the story! Can we have more, please?

    • Lucas, I am so happy that you loved the story, and particularly that you asked for more. I have a number of these Stargate stories that I’d simply love to share but I wasn’t sure if my subscribers would be interested in them. Now that I get such encouraging feedback, t I will be posting more – happily! Thanks for writing.

    • What a beautiful story Patricia – you are an amazing storyteller I felt the Mother’s pain and then the joy. Thank you

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