Chrysalis & Imago
The word Chrysalis is derived from the Greek word χρυσαλλίς meaning chrysallís. It stands for the stage of the transformation of a butterfly, where the butterfly develops inside its pupa. In the Temple of Chrysalis, the “Chrysalis” stands for the entire occult philosophical system, the great transformation process, including all of its stages.
When we think about butterflies, we often contemplate the symbolism of fragility and gentleness. However, when you closely inspect the chrysalis (the stage in the development of a butterfly where the change from a caterpillar into a fully grown butterfly) you can see that we’re dealing with something much more dreary. Yet, even in its abysmal gruesomeness, it’s something magical and truly symbolical.
Although the Chrysalis refers to the pupa stage of the butterfly, the stage is anything but static. Regardless that to the outside world the cocoon seems to remain still and almost lifeless, a significant transformation is taking place. During this stage the caterpillar performs one of it’s most complicated acts, finalizing its metamorphosis. After which an adult butterfly is ready to emerge into the world.
During the chrysalis the caterpillar, well, for all intents and purposes almost completely liquifies. Only the most critical portions of the caterpillar remain, for example, some of the nerve tissue remains, but does go through a re-wiring. There is no in-between form for the caterpillar and the butterfly. There won’t be a slow gradual development from child to adult, as we’ve come to expect from mammals. No slight changes in physique or appearance. The feet of the caterpillar do not grow into the legs of the adult butterfly, the wing’s do not simply sprout from it’s back.
For the caterpillar to hatch as the butterfly we’ve come to expect when thinking about one, the caterpillar has to cease to exist. The caterpillar dies to be born again. It is as close to a real-life phoenix as we can get.
This is the foundation of Chrysalis. To be reborn, you have to leave the past behind, the circumstances and things that have lead you to your current state, created the present you. The type of you, that you aren’t necessarily happy with. Of course, it’s not a requirement for being a Chrysalid, you can also be happy with what you got already.
Change can be painful and it’ll require effort. The more shattered you are, the more pieces you have to gather and patch them together. If you carry all the impairments with you, you have to also carry all the consequences of these impairments. The wings of the butterfly wouldn’t be strong enough to carry the body of the caterpillar. In the same manner, a person cannot carry all their impairments with them through their own transformation. You simply won’t be strong enough to carry all your impairments with you. They’ll only hinder your journey.
Because an integral part of Chrysalis is having to learn how to discard it is an important and magnificent process, even in all its beautiful hollowness, oppressiveness and weariness. It is the opposite of hiding under covers in a fetal position, waiting for someone to come along and fix all the things for you. It is a series of tough, ironclad decisions. Changes in the way you discuss things in your head, what words you use, what significance you assign to them. Chrysalis can be a total dissection of your identity, the slaughter of your own character, changing your name, along with everything else. Radical change requires radical actions. There can be no rebirth without death.
I have gone through multiple bigger moments of chrysalis in my life. The most significant of those was a process that took years. A process, during which, I left my relationship, my hobbies, my hometown, changed my appearance and changed careers. When listed like this, these things can sound very mundane and easy things to alter, trust me they were everything but that. For example, I did not only leave a monogamous relationship, I entirely questioned my role in a romantic and sexual light. I shrugged off the expectations and taboos and began to live a life that would satisfy my sexual needs and fully match my drive.
I had to kill a lot, figuratively. In a sense, I feel like what I used to be had died. If not all of it, at least parts of it. Those were the parts that would have eventually lead me to my early demise in the physical world. This stage, in which I got rid of these parts, caused severe depression and a total breakdown. During this stage, I also discovered the origins of the Temple of Chrysalis.
The hardest part was to destroy the ingrained thought processes and to recognize, that I would never be able to satisfy everyone. For me, the most important tools to break the ingrained thought process for myself were the healthy dose of selfishness and learning how to look at the world through a more solipsism lens. Those were the tools I was able to destroy the walls of my cocoon and break free.
Chrysalis doesn’t mean the change is going to be pleasant. It can be a struggle that takes years. It won’t be for everyone. For some, it’ll be easier just to remain as they are. Remain in that violent relationship, remain in that boring horrible job, remain in your bed. If you’ve chosen to do so for decades, the journey might be a bit longer for you.
And even after the transformation is complete, the new life doesn’t just suddenly happen. A butterfly, once emerged from its cocoon, is exhausted. It’s still soaked in the remnants of its past form, it won’t be able to fly immediately. In this fashion, we can’t expect to just walk into the life we want to live instantly after our transformation, it’s not going to be handed to us on a silver platter. After the transformation, you must nurture yourself and the things that bring you closer to what you want to be. At this moment, you can feel the kaleidoscope of Lamproptera showing up in pleasurable experiences, whispering to you from that glass of champagne you’ve chosen to have in the celebration of what truly matters – you. Parthenos, another one of the kaleidoscopes, begins to stabilize your brain chemistry, slowly, but surely. Dryocampa aids you in dealing with the sacrifices in your relationships, while also guiding you towards new, healthier relationships. Ceranchia blows the wind of gentle compassion and leads the light to warm your skin. Trogonoptera helps you to go through the meaning of your suffering. It teaches your system the lessons that you need so that the previous misery would never enter your life again.
Then, when we have finally dried our wings from the body fluids of our former life, we can spread them to their full glory and flash their magnificence to the world. In the way we want. And then, we may begin our journey toward making ourselves eternal.
Thus the one who encounters a large, colorful butterfly in his life, captures the memory on its retina. Hence one encounter after another brings one closer to the books of the world.
Every person has an Imago, an ideal self. The term is multidimensional. Imago is the version of you, where all the pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place nigh perfectly, and where the mind and the vase which carries it are in harmony with one another.
Imago summarizes all that you are truly capable of. Imago is you at your most perfect, according to your own standards. Once contentment and joy fades and you begin to thirst for a larger change, a new Imago awaits you in your future, where its task is to lay its eggs in the shape of new ambitions.
The Imago is a state, in which a Chrysalid can smoothly shape her state of mind and her surroundings even in bleak times, thus remaining stable. The Imago is not free of problems, but the Imago is aware. She can leave behind her victim mentality and strive to improve her surroundings. She is aware of reality, and therefore able to shape her own reality and interlace it with the realities of others. Through this awareness the Imago radiates magical power and godliness, and therefore the Chrysalid is surrounded by the aura of the Prefulgé.
Each one of us holds this godliness within. It is merely slumbering in its shell, waiting to hatch in Chrysalis. A Chrysalid strives to awaken this godliness from its sleep.
The Imago is communicative by character. This means that the Imago often attempts to reach its host and create a connection. It is our responsibility to recognise these signs, and by following them, connect to our inner Imago. The connection is created through both a physical and a mental transformation. Therefore Chrysalis is the path to the Imago.
When speaking about the members of the Temple of Chrysalis, the Imago refers to a Chrysalid, who has understood the principles of Chrysalis and used them to reach her ideal self. The Chrysalid has, in a sense, found the connection to the core of her mind, and become one with her godliness. In other words, the Imago-Chrysalid is the incarnation of her Imago. A God on earth.
Gods are eternal, and so one of the criteria for reaching the Imago is to do something that immortalises a human. Immortalising does not necessarily mean fame, but leaving something of oneself on earth in a way that is particularly impactful. For example, the Temple of Chrysalis is part of my Imago: a new system, which may yet have a larger impact on the world than we can imagine.
The Imago may go through countless chrysalises throughout life, and Imago doesn’t necessarily mean being complete. At this point however, a human might exhale in relief, knowing that she’s left a legacy on earth.