Tuesday, 31 May 2011

imaginal cells

The February 22 earthquake has catapulted us into different times.
Suddenly we find ourselves on a new path; a new Lyttelton is about to emerge.
Nature shows us how this emerging process happens.
Look at how the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly. Understand the role of the imaginal cells. 

Butterfly and moth lifecycles

Adapted from Nori Huddle

The caterpillar’s new cells are called ‘Imaginal cells’.
They are so totally different from the caterpillar cells that his immune system
thinks they are enemies…and gobbles them up…

But these new imaginal cells continue to appear faster and faster!
Pretty soon, the caterpillar’s immune system cannot destroy them fast enough.
Then an amazing thing happens!

The imaginal cells start to clump together.
They all resonate together at the same frequency.
The clumps of imaginal cells start to connect,
passing information from one to another.
This web suddenly realizes all together
that it is something wonderfully different from the caterpillar.
They have become a butterfly!

Each new butterfly cell can take on a different job.
There is something for everyone to do.
Everyone is important.
Each cell begins to do just that very thing it is most drawn to do.
Every other cell encourages it to do just that.

Are you an imaginal cell?

Written by Margaret Jefferies, chair of Project Lyttelton


  1. This story, although very inspiring, of imaginal cells may be completely fictitious - I have only talked to one entomologist and, apart from the one story author requoted, have found no substantiation for these ideas. It's a lovely story - I could retell it if I had some verification that it is not fabricated with added wishful thinking - do you have any evidence that this is true?

  2. No, I don't. I'd love it if you did the research and let me know.
    However stories are powerful - and you can read this one symbolically if you can't sit with the lack of verification. When stories resonate there is a truth in there whether it can be verified as totally factual, because we don't really know what everything is anyhow.