Butterfly symbolism represents change, beauty, and joy. Butterflies are delicate creatures that carry different meanings depending on the culture you find their significance.

What Do Butterflies Symbolize?


The most obvious symbolism found in butterflies is transformation, as butterflies go through metamorphosis and change from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Seeing a butterfly can indicate that you are about to go through a transformation of your own.


Butterflies are delicate creatures. Their wings are something of ethereal beauty, but a single finger can easily crush them, and they only live for a few days as a butterfly.


Butterflies are spirits of those who have gone before. If you see a butterfly near where you buried a loved one, it can be a sign that they are living in another universe, their spirit immortal.


If you are struggling to conceive, seeing a butterfly can be a sign that fertility is coming. Butterflies only congregate in areas of plenty and are known as a strong symbol of fertility.


A butterfly symbolizes joy because coming out of its cocoon is truly a joyful experience. Problems can occur during metamorphosis, and not all cocoons turn into butterflies. So, if the butterfly has survived the transformation of metamorphosis, it is a joyous event.

Butterfly Symbolism in Different Cultures


Butterfly symbolism has always been important to the early residents of the Americas. In Mexico, the Aztecs viewed butterflies as the spirits of dead warriors, treating them with respect and admiration.

Native America

In Native American lore, butterflies are known to represent transformation and hope for the future. Some tribes even believed that their ancestors communicated with the living through butterflies.


In Celtic mythology, butterflies represent the soul, specifically those waiting to get to heaven. In their folklore, an individual becomes a butterfly after they die, waiting for rebirth into the next life.


In sub-Saharan African culture, butterflies symbolize female puberty and the beginning of societal change. They commonly appear in songs, stories, and other forms of art common across the southern part of the continent.

Ancient Greece and Rome

Across the southern part of Europe, the butterflies were ruled by a Goddess named Psyche. While she is a woman, she is often depicted with butterfly wings and is known as the guide of the soul.


In China, butterflies are a symbol of balance, freedom, beauty, and elegance. Two butterflies appearing together is a symbol of eternal love and a healthy relationship to come.

Butterfly Color Meaning and Symbolism

Red Butterflies

There are many different breeds of red butterflies, and seeing one symbolizes power in your own life. Red has long been a color that signifies passion and energy; seeing a butterfly of this color is no different.

Yellow Butterflies

Yellow is a color that has symbolized happiness and money in many cultures. When you see a yellow butterfly, it is usually there to remind you to think of all the happy parts of your life and make sure you have time to experience joy.

Green Butterflies

Green is a color that represents growth, renewal, and fertility. In Indian cultures, it is also a symbol of the heart.

Spotting a green butterfly may mean it is time to grow a current relationship and form a new one. It may also be a sign that you need to work on self-growth within your spiritual journey.

Blue Butterflies

Blue Butterflies are a bit rarer, and the color blue is usually thought to represent loyalty. Encountering a blue butterfly may be a sign that you need to work on your loyalty to your friends through a focus on communication.

Orange Butterflies

Orange butterflies are quite common, namely the Monarch butterfly, which looks similar to autumn leaves. Since orange is a color of creativity, joy, and health, when you see an orange butterfly, it is a reminder to listen to your body.

Purple Butterflies

Purple is a unique color as it is a combination of both blue and red. Seeing a purple butterfly symbolizes peace, as well as nobility and wealth. In Indian culture, purple also symbolizes your intuition or subconscious.

White Butterflies

White butterflies have long symbolized innocence, beauty, and purity. They are often associated with angels and are thought to carry the souls of those who have gone before and have become angels.

Brown Butterflies

Like green, brown is an earthly color that can also indicate stability in life. If you come across a brown butterfly, it was likely sent as a symbol to remain rooted and not let yourself get carried away.

Black Butterflies

Black butterflies, while symbolizing elegance and beauty, can also be known in Native American teachings to represent illness. If you see a black butterfly, it could mean a change is coming in your life and not a good one.

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