Animal Symbolism: Meaning of the Butterfly


Every day this week I’ve seen many, many butterflies — and most of them have been yellow (my favorite color (o:). I believe they’re delivering a message to me! Here’s what I found out about the shamanistic meaning of the butterfly. Peace, Cynthia

Symbolic Butterfly Meanings


Interpreting animal symbolism is a powerful way to connect with nature, and learn lessons from her creatures – lessons that we can apply to our own lives. Observing the butterfly and learning her symbolic meanings offers us an opportunity to apply her movements to our own lives. For example, we can relate the butterfly’s stages of life to our own life-phases…growing pains, times of ravenous hunger, times of vulnerability, moments of miraculous expansion. The more we seek symbolism in nature, the more we realize we have a lot in common with animals, insects and life in the wild realms. Indeed, we are intimately connected with the animal queen/kingdom – inseparable from nature and her movements.

Overwhelmingly, cultural myth and lore honor the butterfly as a symbol of transformation because of its impressive process of metamorphosis.

From egg, to larvae (caterpillar), to pupa (the chrysalis or cocoon) and from the cocoon the butterfly emerges in her unfurling glory.

What a massive amount of transition this tiny creature undergoes. Consider for a moment the kind of energy this expends. I daresay if a human were to go through this kind of change we’d freak out!

Imagine the whole of your life changing to such an extreme you are unrecognizable at the end of the transformation. Mind you, this change takes place in a short span of about a month too (that’s how long the butterfly life cycle is).

Herein lies the deepest symbolic lesson of the butterfly. She asks us to accept the changes in our lives as casually as she does. The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and her body.

This unwavering acceptance of her metamorphosis is also symbolic of faith. Here the butterfly beckons us to keep our faith as we undergo transitions in our lives. She understands that our toiling, fretting and anger are useless against the turning tides of nature – she asks us to recognize the same.

As mentioned, tapping into animal symbolism is akin to tapping into our own souls, because we are inseperable from nature and her creatures.



Butterfly: metamorphosis and transformation

Scientific research has shown that the butterfly is the only living being capable of changing entirely its genetic structure during the process of transformation: the caterpillar’s DNA is totally different from the butterfly’s. Thus, it is the symbol of total transformation. Butterfly represents a need for change and greater freedom, and at the same time it represents courage: one requires courage to carry out the changes necessary in the process of growth. Its Medicine is related to the air and the mental powers. It teaches us to find clarity in the mental processes, to organize projects or to figure out the next step in our internal growth. If Butterfly is your Power Animal or if you feel in any way attracted to it, this means you are ready to undergo some kind of transformation. Examine which stage calls your attention the most: the egg is the beginning, the birth of some project or idea. The larva is the decision to manifest something in the physical world. The cocoon has to do with “going inside”, either through insight or the development of the project or idea. The breaking of the cocoon deals with sharing the splendor of your creation with the whole world. Once you understand the stage you are on, you can discover which is the next step.


Article By Janet Robson, Darlington UK

Animal Spirit Guides : The Butterfly

Animal Spirit card for Autumn/Winter

To our past ancestors, the animal held great spiritual power and symbolic meaning. In Native American culture, mythology and ancient civilizations, each animal is embodied with its own symbolic meaning and held its own unique spiritual power.

A particular animal crossing your path had deep significance to your life and indeed a strong message to impart. The presence of animal wisdom may appear to you in a dream, on the physical plane or intuitively.

The Butterfly

The butterfly is the symbol of metamorphosis and transformation.

The symbol of new life, letting go of old cycles and finding your true inner expression.

The butterfly calls you to expand your awareness, spread your wings and call forth your inner joy.

Let go of limitations, and free yourself to express your own beauty within.

It is the time of spiritual transitions. Symbolic of moving from one phase of life to the next reaching higher, reaching outward, leaving the safety of the cocoon and finding your own place among the flowers of life.

Allowing the wind to carry you forward to your goals and dreams. A time of self-discovery rebirth. The butterfly shows you the beauty within.

Go forth with joy.


I recognize my true beauty within,

I value and cherish all that I am.

I have the power to transform my life.

To experience true joy.


12 comments on “Animal Symbolism: Meaning of the Butterfly

    • uhmmm….I love your comment Kathleen. I’m experiencing the same thing. It’s cold now where I am — in fact we had a light dusting of snow yesterday (which is very rare for this time of the year). Yet I still saw a yellow-green butterfly yesterday. It was such a joy to see, and I too felt loved from the Most High :). Thanks again my sister sharing your experience. Namasté

  1. Its new years day and we woke this morning to a beautiful butterfly on the ceiling above our bed…I was surprised at its presence at this time of year. We will consider its message carefully and with thanks. Such a lovely positive experience xxx so happy

  2. I’ve just encountered so many different symbols of a butterfly. It must mean something. I guess I’ll just have to wait to find out what.

  3. I. C a butterfly in the house thought nothing of it all windows were open next couple of days i c the butterfly on the sky light it was there for a couple of days then c it flying around going to different room eventually flew but since has come in the house and left again this has been going on a few days now he/she is hoovering outside the windows.
    I do believe a sign of something
    Good i hope

  4. pls,sir,for five months now,buterfly use to come to me for more than 10 times even to pester or rest on mine head even today,but i use to chase it away,Pls,what is the meaning,i need your advice

  5. After reading all this I am still left confused. See I had a beautiful butterfly in my window inside my home. No windows or doors open ever. The next day I miscarried???

    • Are you pregnant again Angie? This symbolises hope and resilience. Yesterday, I felt so sad about my 18year old daughter who has Downs Syndrome leaving school and having no prospects or opportunities, as I cried I turned to the window, where there is a large tree, I saw not one but 4 butterflies on a tree that hasn’t had any on it for over 15 years! I suddenly felt hope x

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