For many, a tattoo is a statement of identity or a symbol of something highly valued. The butterfly is one of the most popular tattoos in the world, both for its obvious physical beauty and for its longstanding symbolic representation of femininity, nature or the soul.
In both Native American and Celtic folklore, the butterfly represents nature and femininity. For the Chinese, the butterfly once served as a good omen at weddings. The Greek word for “butterfly” is “psyche,” which also means “soul,” and early Christianity also used the butterfly as a symbol for the human soul.
Hundreds of varieties of butterflies are known, and each has its own eye-catching design and color scheme. This variety and vibrancy have made the butterfly one of the best-known symbols of beauty in the world. The butterfly is also light and fragile and has symmetrical wings, creating a symbolic representation of nature, the environment and the delicate balance of natural forces.
Many people are inspired by the transitive nature of the butterfly’s life cycle. From egg to caterpillar to adult insect, the butterfly constantly changes and evolves. Even as a caterpillar, it continuously sheds its skin to accommodate its own rapid growth. This process symbolizes the ever-present need for change and adaption in every aspect of human life.
References and ResourcesThe Children's Butterfly Site: Life Cycle of Butterflies and Moths
Insects.org: The Butterfly and Moth as Symbols in Western Art