Exploring the Transformative Properties of Imaginal Cells
March 20th, denotes the onset of the vernal equinox, which means Spring has officially sprung! In this post I share a bit of newly acquired scientific knowledge which seems to be particularly relevant at the onset of Spring.
The Transformative Properties of Imaginal Cells
I’m a writer not a biologist. But I recently learned a biology lesson that has blown my writer’s mind. When I hear the word “imaginal”, I think of imagination — of using ideas, vision and inspiration to create something from nothing.
Every story, essay, or poem I pen is fueled by my literary imagination.
But in biology, “imaginal” denotes a type of cell. And in nature, it is “imaginal cells” that are responsible for the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly.
Learning the HOW of this process left me newly awed by both The Creator & Creation.
We all learned in grade school that caterpillars eat for a season, form a chrysalis and later emerge as butterflies.
But there is NO structural similarity between the two creatures. That’s where imaginal cells come into play.
Inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar dissolves into an organic goop. Within that goop, imaginal cells, which were once dormant, kick into action.
Imaginal cells are seeds of future potential.
Imaginal cells are architects that create the blueprint for a flying creature.
Imaginal cells are biological construction workers that create a new form & structure.
And imaginal cells are remarkably resilient!
In a caterpillar, imaginal cells are initially treated as threats & attacked by its immune system. But they withstand the assault.
They connect with like cells.
Cell clusters are formed from these connections and those newly formed units resonate at a common frequency and exchange information back and forth amongst themselves.
This interactive cellular bonding continues until they cease being individual clusters & consolidate into ONE multi-cell organism.
From the many, they become one and a butterfly is born!
As a writer, I see my place in the world as an imaginal cell of story.
I’m a holder of seeds of imaginative potential who reflects on the lessons of our yesterday’s, chronicles stories of our today’s and infuses ALL of it with imagination and hope about who we can become in crafting a more loving, just, and equitable tomorrow.
Gaining this wisdom laden nugget of knowledge at the onset of the season known for new life, is what I believe to be a divine orchestration of synchronicity.