Jul 14, 2010

"What Is...?" Wednesday

The Symbolism of the Butterfly

A quick-list of Butterfly symbolism:

~ Resurrection
~ Transition
~ Celebration
~ Lightness
~ Time
~ Soul

In Greek myth, Psyche (which literally translates to mean "soul") is represented

in the form of a butterfly. Appropriately, Psyche is forever linked with love as she and Eros (Cupid the Greek god of love) shared an endlessly passionate bond together...both hopelessly in love with the other. American Indians call upon the butterfly for guidance in change, color, and happiness.

It's believed that the butterfly can offer many lessons to people. The butterfly reminds people to make changes when opportunities arise. Her flying, which can look like a dance, serves as a reminder to avoid taking matters too seriously. The butterfly’s senses of lightness and joy are reminders to dance because dancing brings joy. The Chinese believe that a jade butterfly symbolizes a marriage of souls, making it an excellent gift for the groom to give to his bride.

The butterfly is a powerful symbol for transformation, leaving the safety of the cocoon in it's new form. This is an excellent image for anyone contemplating, or in the midst of a major change. It is a strong symbol of metamorphosis, with distinct stages.... It is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises. Change and transformation are inevitable for us all  but it does not have to be traumatic. Butterfly symbolism is also closely tied to the idea of spirits and souls. It has been used in many religions and cultures and even tarot decks (butterflies can be seen in the lower right hand corner of The Star card, in the Thoth Tarot deck as well as used in many other tarot decks too.)

A lot of people speculate where the name comes from and the answer is quite simple....  In England where the english name comes from, the most common butterfly is a small one with pale yellow wings. It also is oddly attracted to the scent of milk. So you can imagine back a hundred years ago, seeing a women out on the porch churning butter in an old wooden butter churn and several of the yellow insects are fluttering around...  So naturally, they got named "butterflies".

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

Beautiful post...And from a favorite book since college (almost25 years ago!): "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly."(Richard Bach)...Happy day, Liz!