Absolem is the blue caterpillar from the Lewis Carroll book Alice in Wonderland, and the Disney and Tim Burton movies by the same name. Smoking a hookah as he perches on a mushroom, Absolem first engages Alice in a cryptic conversation that begins with the question, “Who are you?”
I have always liked the wise blue caterpillar. I loved him in the Tim Burton live action version. When I arrived at the family Halloween party last month, I was delighted to find my niece Ashley had created a replica of Absolem, and placed him in the Alice in Wonderland area in her home. He was tiny perfection, and I wanted him.
Absolem’s role in Alice’s life was to help her discover her destiny. I felt this little caterpillar would be the ideal companion for my journey next year, as my destiny continues to be revealed to me. Every year I receive a new word, a new symbol for the journey, and a song. For 2017 I’ve also been given a quote. Absolem isn’t my symbol. I’ll reveal more about that in January. No, the blue caterpillar has been given to me as my mascot, or talisman.
I was led to him as surely as Alice found Wonderland by traveling through the rabbit hole.
Early in the year, the world lost a great man when Alan Rickman passed away. More than an actor, Alan possessed creative genius and an expansive heart and soul. I was deeply saddened by his death. Shortly after he died, I found a quote of Alan’s that was destined to shape next year. “If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust.”
From those words a seed was planted, from which grew my word for 2017. I am honored to have Alan’s quote as the foundation for all that has arisen from it already, and all that will flow from it next year.
Alice Through the Looking Glass released in theaters this year, the sequel to Tim Burton’s previous film. In both movies, Absolem is voiced by Alan Rickman. It was bittersweet to hear his rich and distinctive voice giving life to the blue caterpillar who had transformed into a blue butterfly, knowing Alan had transitioned as well.
Then, the fabulous Halloween party, with the Tim Burton theme that Ashley and Debbie selected last year, months before Alan passed, has as a decoration the blue caterpillar sitting on his mushroom. He called to me throughout the day, in that unmistakable baritone. “Who are you? And where are you going? Can you make life a little more tender next year, and art a little more robust?”
He has continued to call to me.
Today, Absolem came home with me. My niece allowed me to purchase him, knowing I will cherish him. He has a new mushroom to perch upon, that I bought tonight at Target. Both will rest on my writing table, in my creative studio, where I can look at Absolem daily and feel inspired to carry out my mission for 2017.
I hope he asks me every day who I am.