Many of you realize that I have now become a published author. It is all about the monarch butterfly. As executive director of Happy Tonics, Inc., I have been fortunate to stay “tuned into” the life cycle of the monarch. I have come to understand the risks, biology, host and nectar sources, environmental behavior and a list that just keeps growing.
April 20 – In honor of Earth Day, Jim VanMoorleham and I planted five native chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) shrubs in area three, near the Memory Tree Grove, at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat. Black chokeberry is a deciduous, cold hardy shrub useful in landscape plantings, showing white flowers in the spring, colorful red foliage, and heavy dark fruit in the fall.
April 24 – Today I saw a white cabbage and a fritillary butterfly. The fritillary’s host plant is violet; flowers are in bloom. Butterfly sightings were posted to Wisconsin Butterfly Organization at http://wisconsinbutterflies.org/Individuals may record their butterfly sightings at this site. Kids would enjoy this activity as much as adults do. The project allows us to understand butterfly population trends.
I am happy to report that my book, “My Name is Butterfly,” is now available at Gadsden Public Library in Gadsden, AL. I am thrilled that libraries around the country are purchasing the book for children. Book postcards also went to the State Library Convention in AL where it was given exposure to other librarians.
According to ABC News, “A female Baringo giraffe calf at the Bronx Zoo was enjoying the warm New York weather over the weekend while frolicking with a butterfly that flew through her exhibit. The butterfly caught the newborn baby’s eye while she was nuzzling her mom and exploring her new home. The calf was born in March but has not yet been named, according to the Bronx Zoo. All of the zoo’s giraffes are named in memory of James and Margaret Carter, benefactors for the Carter Giraffe Building.” You can view the chase at http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/baby-giraffe-chases-butterfly-bronx-zoo-16151869
April 25 – My recipe for Squash Bread was a winner at the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College Sustainability Living Fair. The bread was chosen for Jiibaakweyang, We are Cooking Together, Flavors of Lac Courte Oreilles. I was delighted to share saved squash seed with attendees. The acorn squash grew in the Three Sisters Garden at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in 2011. Seed sharing is all about stories of where seed comes from. At the fair, Sheldon Spratford gave me beautiful corn husks. He reported that his grandmother grew the corn until the 1980s, when she passed away. He found one husk of dried corn at her house afterwards and saved it. Sheldon, an elder, mentioned that he has been growing the sweet corn since the 1990s. He mentioned that the corn is sweet and small. Happy Tonics will offer the seed at several environmental events in May. The Visitors Center/Store will be open for the season on Memorial Weekend. We invite you to stop by for sweet corn seed.
April 26 – Journey North reported that the monarch migration moved into five new U.S. states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Minnesota this past week. The cold snap is keeping monarchs away from Shell Lake; there is no milkweed up yet in the habitat. Let us hope that a warming spell will begin soon.
Carol Hubin reported on April 28 that milkweed is up on her property in Shell Lake. Keep your eyes posted. If you spot a monarch, please let us know if it is a faded butterfly or freshly born. Knowing the difference will allow Happy Tonics to record the following: Did the butterfly fly all the way from Mexico or is this the first generation of butterfly in the U. S.? Female butterflies will need milkweed to lay their eggs on. Female butterflies only live a few weeks after depositing eggs.
In 2012, we are going to count monarch eggs at the Monarch Butterfly Habitat and mark milkweed plants that have eggs. Wire cages with tags will be used to identify which milkweed plants have eggs. If you have any old tomato cages to donate or see a monarch sighting, please call Mary Ellen at (715) 466-5349.
April 28 – 5th Annual Earth Day Event in Shell Lake was well attended. We are grateful to Dr. John Anderson and Ginger Wilcox for leading us in a Native American Ceremony to honor donors. Butterfly friends came to celebrate the butterfly and conservation efforts on behalf of the butterfly. Happy Tonics hosted an informal potluck afterwards at the Visitors Center/Store at 25 Fifth Avenue, Shell Lake.
Read about the woman who lives alone in Northwest Wisconsin and whom is responding to requests to come to the East Coast next summer. If you only knew how far apart the different worlds are, you would realize how I don’t even want to go back there to traffic, people, noise and overpopulation and congested urban settings.
October 26, 2011 – 6 p.m. Hospitality House, 705 B Street, Minong, WI
Sponsored by Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites
Open to women who feel called to honor and respect water. Purpose: Support water issues that need our attention. To change negative impact on the world’s fresh drinking water supply for all living species all over the world. Turning our hearts and prayers toward positive energy and vibrations to heal water world wide.
Water Blessing Event
October 28 – 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Sponsored by the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. May we all stand together with a single intention for water matter where we are on the Earth at this time.
Water Sister Worth Cooley-Prost sent the following Messsage:
Dear Ones! At long last, the convergence of time, energy and Heart allows for this long-overdue message.
[A new friend and I] talked about indigenous understandings of Now, and how I can’t imagine how I’d be able to look around in these times if I hadn’t heard Don Alejandro speak 11 years ago, how the Mayan calendar isn’t about the “end of the world,” rather about the accelerating unfolding of a whole new Time that’s very different from all that’s unraveling now. (I really like Tom Kenyon’s metaphor about 2012 or whenever — he says when his odometer turns over 100,000 miles, he doesn’t expect his car to disappear!) I think our unexpected hour together was a Gift to both of us, and recalled again the Hathors advice about the difficulties of chaotic nodes: “be curious and expect miracles.”
Turtle Women Rising 2011 was in Olympia WA this year, from sunrise on October 7 through the afternoon of October 10. I have the bowl that held the Water on the altar at TWR 2008 and 2010, both here in DC. It’s lovely bowl, about 16″
across and a graceful low, open shape in that hint-of-palest-green often seen in thick handmade glass, with a swirl of slightly darker pale green. It was in one of Coldwater Creek’s crazy online sales about 2002, marked down from probably $125 (never could’ve afforded that) to about $35. I loved it (and had a lot more money back then!), and ordered it thinking it would be beautiful on our diningroom table with fruit or flowers or just air. When it came, I realized that our diningroom table was
neither big enough nor clear enough for the bowl, so for about 6 years it sat up on top of a bookshelf in the diningroom. Then in one of the final planning conference calls for the first TWR, Eli said they needed a bowl to hold the Water in the
altar tipi, and I said, “Eli, I have the bowl.” Near the end of the final day of TWR that year, I’d left the circle to smoke a cigarette and just put my chair at the edge of things when I came back in. I remember sitting there watching
everybody singing and dancing, and thinking, “I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can bring the bowl that holds the Water.” We used it again in 2010.
So last Friday, Willy put two chairs and a little round table that came from the side of the road several years ago in a special, leafy grove part of the yard before he went to work, and later my friend Margaret came over with her drum. The several pieces of cloth covering the table were made by Mayan hands, African hands, and Indonesian hands, and though I’m sure the the bright red fleece with Native American designs was made in China, it came to me from Council on Indian Nations a couple of years ago. The bowl took up most of the table. The things around it included several stones, a tiny bottle of rose
quartz chips, a little basket with Haiti beads, some lavender, a Fourth Wise Man figure, and seems like a couple of other things I can’t remember at the moment. (I’d meant to take a picture but forgot; it must not have wanted me
to.) After smudging us and everything else, we filled the bowl with Water from the house and opened the space with prayers to connect with TWR and with all healing Waters around the world. I asked especially that the spirits of all the men, women,
children and horses of the civil war be honored for their courage and sacrifice, calling them back from their journeys and the traumas endured, so they can heal and return Home… and that Mother Earth be healed in all the places that have
held their pain and fear and anger for all these 150 years, and that all the Waters that touch that land — rivers, rain, dew, fog, snow, tears past and future — carry that great healing also.
Margaret brought a really beautiful drum, and I used my Ocean drum for the first time. I’ve always wanted to be where drumming is — Native American, Haitian, African, and those astonishing sideways Japanese drums — but somehow never really felt called to drum myself. Then last summer I ordered myself an Ocean drum for my birthday — synthetic covering on one side, clear mylar on the other, and filled with steel shot. I’d experimented with it a little a couple of times since… tilting it from side to side makes sounds of waves and surf… but this was the first time I really used it. Amazing! Each of the
times between opening the space Friday and closing it Monday afternoon — and the next night when Moon was full somewhere behind thick clouds — it’s given me something new. The first day, when I opened my eyes after a few minutes, the
sky and trees were in my lap! (The clear mylar side is like a mirror.) Also, the steel beads often make a yin-yang pattern. The next day I also used the beater that came with it, and after a little while realized there were subtle musical tones at the edges; they’ve been clearer each time. Another time when I looked down, I saw the ripple patterns around my thumbs holding the
edges. Looks like I have my drum — who knew?!!
When we came back to the house on Friday, the mail had come, bringing the sage you sent, Mary Ellen… so that’s been part of each visit since. When I went back to the space the second day, there was a line of sand or fine dirt around the whole front edge of the table. (Another time I’ll tell you the story of the six deer who came in January after I’d asked my grandmothers for guidance and protection and that I be able to see them and hear them clearly.) We took everything back in but the cloth and bowl when we closed the space on Monday. I’ve left the bowl there for the three days of rain we’ve had, and tomorrow will give the Water to the Earth there and it will go back on the high shelf until whenever its next time is.
Margaret is coming again for Water Prayers at 1:00 on October 28, so we will be among you all around the world. These are some fancy, fancy times, aren’t they? I’m so grateful to be here, so grateful to both of you that you’re in my life and in my heart. I do want to be a Water Sister, please!
Saturday, July 30- There were thunderstorms surrounding the valley in late afternoon. Water sisters arrived at the Hospitality House in Minong. We began by dressing up in skirts. Sandy Stein mentioned that when women wear a shawl and skirt it represents mountains and being close to Mother Earth. A skirt worn in ceremony is respectful and helps women remember that we are feminine energy and connected to Mother Earth. We put our sacred items together to carry them out to the sand dunes. I had on my glass water pendent that Worth Cooley-Prost had made for me. Sandy wore her medicine bag. It is good for women to have their very own medicine bag. We have several small beaded butterfly medicine bags made by an elder Marilyn Vig, Rice Lake, WI. I will exhibit and offer them for sale in September at our online store at http://stores.ebay.com/happytonics
While still at the house we witnessed a rainbow. This was a beautiful sign.
Then it started to lightly rain again as we walked to the sand dunes. Sandy Stein said, “Rain is good.” I responded, “After all we are praying for the water.” We felt blessed as we entered Sacred Space and the rain began to lighten up and then stop.
Sandy, Deborah and Godavari met the sweet fern for the first time that is now growing over the dune and into the site. I love this fern, years ago I put my intentions on the fern and wished that the fern would climb the dunes from the other side. Each of them smelled the plant and were joyous when they smelled the sweet fragrance having never smelled anything like it before. I reminded water sisters that we needed to be silent as we entered Sacred Space.
We put our individual sacred items on the blanket alter in the sand. Before we began the Nibi Wabo (Water Song) each of us added our pure water to the water bowl to marry the waters. We tried to smudge but couldn’t get a match to light the sacred sage; it was too damp. We each took a pinch of tobacco in our left hand. In turn each spoke their intentions of remembrance before beginning ceremony and added a pinch of tobacco to the basswood Two Headed Bear Dream Bowl handmade by Frank Galli. The bowl was made especially for Water Ceremony offerings. Then I gave a short talk on the observations of water to the sisters.
Message: Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer is one of the Ambassadors of the White Buffalo Family in Oregon. She is with them now and doing ceremony as we stand in circle. Worth Cooley-Prost is traveling from Arlington, VA to the Carolinas. Worth is standing with us in ceremony at the same hour where ever she is. I remembered Shelley Ruth Wyndham, Cape Town, South Africa, who asked that she be remembered each time we stand in Water Ceremony. She is with us in ceremony. Mother Earth is going through a Great Cleansing and weather is and will become more violent. We are to stand firmly grounded to the earth and hold any fear in our feet which is solidly planted in communication with Mother Earth. We are not to let fear rise up through our bodies. We are not to be afraid when great and turbulent changes occur around us. We are to know that Mother Earth is protecting us. We are the Water Walkers, water sisters and water teachers.As women we are called to protect water. We are not alone. We are here to grow in healing energy work as we band together all over the world. Each of us in our own environment is here to teach others not to be afraid and to help people cross over the rainbow road after a storm. We are here at this moment to personally adapt to Climate Change and its consequences. We need to learn what our agricultural plant growing zone is and may be in the predicted future. We need to plant appropriately while we look towards the future. Current plant zoning is changing. In Northwest Wisconsin instead of planting the same species of downed trees ( Birch, Red Pine and Jack Pine) of the last storm in Minong on July 1, we need to look at a zone or two further south and plant accordingly. We need to personally adapt and teach others to adapt. There is no sense in old programming of being alarmed when our immediate world is changing and negatively lamenting the changes. If we survive I believe this is sufficient enough to be grateful. The solution: Think positive because we are still here doing our work. Adapt! This is the message.
Then we sang to the four direction, using our birch bark clapping sticks. The clouds were getting black and thunder clouds came closer. After concluding the Water Song we ended ceremony sooner, packed up our ceremonial objects and headed back to the Hospitality House. Before we left the sand dunes, Sandy put down the sacred items she brought to the ceremony. These were a shell and rock. I left a tear drop shell in a special place also which was significant because we were blessed by rain during ceremony.
Parched sand dunes from drought.
One of the observations I have noticed since I started working on water issues and Water Ceremony, with the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites, is that I am forever thirsty. Northwest Wisconsin experienced a seven-year drought . I am conscious of having a dry mouth and wanting to drink water.
I am grateful for all the rain in 2011 even though we have had to deal with strange, unpredictable and more frequent violent storms. Even the clouds have changed to forms I have never seen before. Now I keep a weather radio on.
I am secure in knowing that there is pure water at the artesian well in the woods where sweet water flows to the surface from deep within Mother Earth. What a happy woodlands it is that surrounds the artesian well. Even though the trip is long and I need to drive 60 miles round trip from Minong to Shell Lake and back, I am happiest when I am drinking this precious pure water.
After the Water Ceremony Godavari wrote, “Thanks so much, so very much, for having us at your place, especially right after the trauma of the storms, when it must have been hard for you to get ready. I like that it rained on our ceremony. In Siddha Yoga rain is auspicious (highly beneficial, a good omen) because it is a blessing upon the earth and its people. As you said, it is life itself. After our ceremony, I began drinking water with much gratitude, knowing we are blessed to have clean water on this part of the earth. And inside, I feel a purification beginning, which the water ceremony seemed to launch. Purifying me of anger and resentment, making space for greater love. So in a personal way too, I am grateful to you for leading us in honoring water, in honoring Mother Earth.
Note: Godavari means goddess of a holy river, and there is a River Godavari, as they call it there, near the Siddha Yoga ashram in India.
Worth Cooley-Prost says, “My part of Water Ceremony was brief and on the move, but held my Heart and I hope added something Good to the whole. My old (85 now!) friend Dot, who co-founded the Light Group in Kinston NC in the early 1970s, brought me a little container of water from there. (It used to be artesian well water, now it’s a mix of that and water from the Neuse River… anyway, Water from close-to-me Ancestors’ home since 1841 or so.) And our car smelled so wonderful with sage lit!
Tonya Whitedeer Cargill is a Clan Mother of the Bear Clan of Medicine Creek Metis in Laytonville, CA. She holds women’s circles and Grandmother Net of Light Ceremonies. She is one of the Ambassadors’ for the Sacred White Buffalo Family in Northern Oregon. She is currently working on a novel that is coming to her through Spirit. Tonya works with endangered species Medicines of the Green Nation and maintains a Medicine Walk open to the public to educate all those that come to her land named through Spirit as Medicine Creek. Visit the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites at http://waterblessings.org/
Mary Ellen Ryall is a Council Guide of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites and Executive Director of Happy Tonics, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) environmental education organization and public charity. Ryall is the author of My Name is Butterfly published in 2011 by Salt of the Earth Press. The book will be available on Amazon shortly.
The fully illustrated children’s book gives testimony of why native plants are important for pollinators. The charming book teaches about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly and its only host plant milkweed. Over the last eight years Ryall has planted milkweed at the sand dunes. Monarch butterflies flitted about the day of the Water Ceremony. This is another good sign that the monarch butterfly abounds in Minong in and near the sand dunes.
The new Salt of the Earth Press children’s book, “My Name is Butterfly” educates about the life-cycle of Monarch butterflies with a sense of wonder and discovery.
Shell Lake, WI – Thursday, June 30, 2011 – While children may find butterflies and their early life as caterpillars exciting to stumble upon in the garden, “My Name is Butterfly” will leave them with a new sense of these fascinating creatures. Mary Ellen Ryall writes and Stevie Marie Aubochan-Mendoza illustrates this beautiful little book that educates as it immerses the reader in the life of the Monarch butterfly.
The book was inspired by a butterfly birth the author witnessed in her own gardens several years ago in Mining, WI. “My Name is Butterfly” tells the story of a young girl who stumbles upon a Monarch caterpillar in her garden one summer day. From
there, she and the reader learn about the life-cycle of the Monarch as well as how to maintain a garden habitat that will keep these amazing creatures coming back year after year.
The Monarch butterfly itself is perhaps the most well-known butterfly of North America, but is also threatened by habitat loss. Deforestation in their overwintering grounds in particular has led to drastic reductions in the population. The Happy Tonics Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI as spearheaded by the author to benefit the migrating Monarchs and educate the public.
“My Name is Butterfly” is available through Amazon for online purchase, Happy Tonics Visitors Center for the Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Shell Lake, WI and the Visitors Center in Minong as well as at My Favorite Things in Shell Lake, WI.
The author Mary Ellen Ryall grew up n Saratoga Springs, NY. In pursuit of butterflies, she worked and traveled in South America in the 1970s. In the 1980s Ryall completed the Master Gardeners Program, University of the District of Columbia, and
became involved with community gardens. Living in southern Maryland in the 1900s, she wrote about the environment and founded Happy Tonics. Ryall moved to Wisconsin in 2000, graduating from the Woodlands Wisdom Nutrition Project at
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College in 2003.
The illustrator Stevie Marie Aubochan=Mendoza lives with her family outside the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, NV. She is inspired by the dusty, desert landscape and the secrets that it holds. When she isn’t painting dinosaurs and dragons, she
loves having tea parties and playing in the dirt with her young daughter.
NOTES: Cassandra Thompson was the girl model for the book. She has been a monarch butterfly advocate since her early years. Cassie grows milkweed for the monarch. I felt it was important that the story have a real butterfly girl in the story. She reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.
“What a wonderful, wonderful book!” Judy Ford, WI, USA and Mexico
“The little butterfly book is just darling. The text is smooth, informative and easy to comprehend. The illustrations are so sweet and the colors really pop.”
Ronnie Hohos, Fitchburg, MA , USA
“Thank you for the opportunity to own your sweet, informative butterfly book.” Gloria Thue, Spooner, WI
“Thank you for the lovely words! It means a lot to me that you like my artwork and I’m honored to be a part of your book. I started it while pregnant and finished it with my daughter sleeping in the next room so the butterfly will always have a special meaning for me now. I think what you’re doing is wonderful and I’m glad you can touch the world with your words and help people appreciate such beautiful creatures.” Stevie Marie Aubuchon-Mendoza, Las Vegas, NV, USA
“GOT YOUR BOOK TODAY AND I READ IT. I LOVE IT AND THE CHILDREN WILL LOVE IT. I HOPE EVERY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL GETS ONE.” Eunie Smith, Miami FL
“What a wonderful, wonderful book! Published!!! Hooray!!” by Judy Ford, Iron River, WI
Saturday morning, June 4, I drove up to Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Reservation in Hayward, WI and parked at the tribal college to wait for Sandy Stein, Secretary of Happy Tonics. Our plan was to meet up with up Mother Earth Water Walkers and join them.
First I must tell you that the old ravens that guard over the college let it be known I was there. They landed in trees near me and I bid them good morning as they cawed. These ravens have been in the forest near and around the tribal college for years, perhaps even generations. I know because they or their descendents were there when I graduated from the tribal college in 2003.
Sandy arrived and we put on our skirts over pants to show a sign of respect and then we headed to Hwy. E going in the direction of Reserve. We said our intentions silently and put down some sacred tobacco as we drove. I called WOJB the tribal radio station while we were on the road and a nice young man told me that the walkers were about at the hill headed for Reserve. What hill I thought? Northwest Wisconsin is all hills since the four glaciers passed through this country long ago. Sandy understood that the walkers stayed on the reservation last night in Old Post so she turned down a road that might be where they were.
And they were. The walkers of the southern direction have been walking since April 20th, carrying the salt water of the Gulf of Mexico to Bad River, WI where it will meet with the other waters from the Atlantic, Hudson Bay and Pacific on June 12th. The southern direction included Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin – The walk is ongoing until the water from the south reaches Bad River, WI
Not knowing how to join them in the well orchestrated walking event, she asked a driver with the back window displaying WATER WALKERS. His name is Brody and he said, “Jump in” and I did.
He and his wife Barb Baker-Larush have been on the road for a
long time and they were orchestrating the walk through the reservation. Sharon Day has been on the walk since April 20. It is so important that the water never stops. It has to keep moving until it reaches its destination being Bad River on June 12 where all water walkers from the Four Directions will converge; Pacific and Atlantic Ocean; Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.
The same respect is held for the Eagle feather staff that men usually carry to protect the water and the woman carrying the water. If a man or young male is not available than the water carrier herself has to carry the staff also. The staff is sacred.
To start my walk, Sharon Day, one of the main event organizers and grandmothers smudged me so I would be pure before I carried the copper pail with water gathered from many clean and fresh sources. Brody told me Sharon was in a hurry to get back home for a few days and had started to step up the pace so that walkers knew that it was important to help her in their own pace in order to help Sharon achieve her goal. She has been walking through many states and was near closing of her part
of the walk. I think that was probably spurring her on. I was impressed that a Grandmother could walk at a clip like this. It was almost like she was dancing the steps as she fast walked to the beat of drum music.
I had to hold on to the pail handle and walk at the same time as the walker started to pass it to me. I matched my steps with hers until she was sure I was walking on my own. I felt honored to finally be walking on this important journey. I have wanted
to be part of this walk since Grandmother Josephine Mandamin started walking with a vision of protecting and respecting water back in 2003 when she walked around Lake Superior. Brody told me the walkers stayed at his house last night June 2, in New Post. In the evening they sat around a bonfire to relax after a long day. I must say I never saw such fit Native American women as I did today. These are warrior women who have the heart beat to walk from their hearts. They are dedicated to bring this
important issue of fresh and pure drinking water forward for all species and for seven generations out. The vision is global.
Multinational companies don’t want us to know that they are buying up rights from countries to “OWN” the water. Colonization is still ongoing. Then the multinationals turn around and bottle the water and sell it back to the very poorest of the poor in
developing countries such as in Africa. It is unethical to dishonor water in this way. Water is a gift from the Creator not a commodity to be bought and sold.
While on the walk, I was happy to see Paul DeMain was there doing a live stream from News from Indian Country. We have worked together on several occasions over the past few years. His wife Karen was there too but we were concentrating on our roles
and didn’t have time to meet and greet. When I walked I felt empowered and in the silence all I could feel was my own breath and heartbeat. I remember there was drum music, sounds of singing birds, sights of cotton fluff blowing on the wind from cottonwood trees and fragrant green forests on both sides of the street. It was an honor to finally be part of this sacred walk. A young man, Conner Beauleu, held the staff and ran beside me was focused as we both were. He did two runs, one after the other, and was my silent strength. I am a 66 year old woman with mild emphysema and it felt so comforting to have a young warrior beside me. Such a noble young man true to his Ojibwe culture.
This was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I wouldn’t have the physical endurance to do the action miles that are required to fulfill the total trip through many states. I am a Council Guide for the Sisterhood of the Planetary Rites, founded in California by Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer. I carried a butterfly beaded medicine bag handmade by Marilyn Vig, an artist in Rice Lake, WI. Inside were the names women who sent emails saying they wanted to be with the water walkers in spirit. Their names are: Worth Cooley-Prost, DC, Anna Dunn, MN; Cassie McCrow, WI; Anna Merritt, WI; Grandmother Tonya Whitedeer, CA and founder of the Sisterhood of the Planetary Water Rites (SPWR) in CA; Kunda Wicce, Island near France; Sandy Stein and Mary Ellen Ryall, Happy Tonics, WI and SPWR, WI chapter participated in the walk; Ginger Wilcox, WI; Chris Doolan Ottose, WI and Akasa WolfSong were women who were spirit walkers. Inside the medicine bag was a prayer bundle of red cloth. Inside the small bundle was a pinch of sacred tobacco, made by Ginger Wilcox.
Sandy took lots of photographs which we will publish later because a CD needs to be made first and uploaded to my hard drive. I am so proud of her and her insight in knowing how important it was for me as an elder to walk in this unfolding vision. Women
are the protectors of water. I would like to mention that Worth Cooley-Prost is an artist in Washington, DC. We are water sisters through Facebook and have never met. Worth recently sent a beautiful water necklace that she was inspired to create through ceremony, moon and water. She doesn’t make her glass jewelry until she has been inspired by her rituals and ceremony first. Now I wear this water necklace to all water ceremonies. I was wearing the necklace today and as I walked with thoughts of all the women who have touched my life, I touched the medicine bag with sacred intentions within.
I gave the little medicine bag to Brody’s wife Barbara Baker LaRush. She will know who should hear the story when they sit around another bonfire.
When the outer shell of the pupa hardens it is known as a chrysalis (KRIH-sah-lis). The process of changing is known as metamorphosis (meh-tuh-MOR-fuh-sis). It takes approximately 10 days to two weeks before a butterfly emerges. A monarch butterfly goes through four unique stages in its life: egg, larva, pupa and adult butterfly. The caterpillar inside the chrysalis disintegrates into a green liquid which is mysteriously transformed into a monarch butterfly.
The Chrysalis starts off with a beautiful lime green color shell and has a striking band of gold near the top and three gold specks scattered near the bottom. According to Journey North, “The color itself comes from cardenolides in the milkweed that larvae eat.” What purpose the gold markings have is still unknown.
The caterpillar (larva) emerges from an egg in approximately four days. After a tiny caterpillar emerges from an egg, it is hungry and needs to eat the egg shell because it is rich in protein. The larva eats the egg in a circular pattern. Then the caterpillar climbs to the top of a milkweed leaf and becomes a munching machine. If there are other holes it may be remains of other eggs. It could be that a spider, mite or even a monarch caterpillar ate the eggs.
Caterpillars have lively colors with bands of yellow, black and off-white striped skin. A young larva may roll up in a tight ball if handled. Perhaps the caterpillar is trying to protect itself from being attacked. A caterpillar will grow beyond its skin five times and each time the caterpillar needs to shed its skin. This is known as molting. Stages between molts are called Instars. A caterpillar remains soft and vulnerable until a new skin has a chance to harden and it is best not to handle caterpillars because of molting.
There are several threats to the caterpillar. Tachnid flies look for a host for its own larvae and may lay eggs on milkweed or on a caterpillar. The parasitic wasp is also a threat. Additionally, there are various bacteria and viruses that could be harmful. Notice how big the caterpillar is in the illustration? The larva appears to be in its fourth Instar.
A caterpillar has three body parts: Head, thorax and abdomen. There are two sets of tubercles, one at the head and another at the end of the abdomen. The antennae like tubercles may confuse predators because the larva mimics two heads. The front tubercles aid in sensing and smell.
The thorax segment has three pairs of true legs. All insects have six true legs. There are four sets of prolegs or false legs in the abdominal segment. Usually these are visible as in the illustration. They look like pads and have little hooks that help the caterpillar attach itself to a leaf.
There are prolegs at the end of the abdomen in the illustration; the anal prolegs are used by the caterpillar to spin a white silk button. When a caterpillar splits its exoskeleton for the last time, the larva hangs upside down and starts to molt first starting with the head. When the old skin is near the rear end of the abdomen, a cremaster is exposed. This is a strong dark appendage that is uses to attach to a silk button that a caterpillar made before it started to pupate. The newly formed chrysalis will harden and hang upside down on the underside of a leaf or twig until a monarch butterfly is born.
I will be publishing the Chatbook over the next few weeks. Photos will be added later when I return to Shell Lake. I had first thought to publish this as a book but after talking with two readers, I have decided to publish the Monarch Butterfly Coloring Book separately. The text with photos will be published on Insectamonarca’s Blog.
A few years ago, the author Mary Ellen Ryall witnessed and photographed the birth of a monarch butterfly in her gardens in Minong, Wisconsin. The photographs are a witness to this mysterious event and depict the monarch butterfly life cycle and the relationship of pollinators to native plants.
The Xerces Society has determined that the Monarch’s migration as “an endangered biological phenomenon.” In NOVA’s film, “The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies,” Lincoln Brower, Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus, University of Florida, states that no one knows what that threshold is. He has observed the Mexican Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary over many years.
Brower has seen a shrinking habitat because of illegal logging. Monarch butterflies in Mexico have notably declined compared to when the wintering monarchs were first discovered in the Michoacan Mountains in 1974. The beloved international butterfly faces many threats throughout its migration and it is imperative to save the migration.
Within the pages, butterfly terms are highlighted and Spanish words for the monarch’s life cycle are included in titled pages. Do you have a butterfly garden? Would you like to grow milkweed for the monarch butterfly?
At the end of the Monarch Butterfly Chat Book, you will find a glossary of butterfly terms; works consulted; where to buy milkweed seed; explore other butterfly organizations; and books and Web site links for further butterfly studies.
I won’t post the end of the book or photos until I have the whole project published on the Blog first.