The Wasp and the Butterfly: Flight of Healing and Hope


Juan Blea’s world view was a Spanish one up to age five. In order to translate across cultures, he creates a metaphoric token that can be understood by both cultures. In Butterfly Warrior Blea gives us an allegory taken from an Aztec myth of soldiers killed in battle who then return as butterflies. The opposing force becomes the wasp.

The crux of Blea’s book is that “As cultural identity decays, so does psychological health,” as Juan Blea explained to the SW Writers Group in Albuquerque during an August 2006 meeting. His entire book balances on the two metaphors of the wasp (non-psychological health) and the butterfly (psychological health). He traces deterioration and gives us a kiss of hope at the end.

Butterfly Warrior is a book of power, wit, and poetry. Slim, as most allegories are, yet such a soul-tickler that you’ll be thinking about it for some time to come. A whole new take on Santa Fe, acculturation, and where we are headed in the grand scheme of themes.

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