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  • Spirit Animals: Is the Butterfly Your Animal Guide?

    February 12, 2024 7 min read

    Spirit Animals: Is the Butterfly Your Animal Guide?

    Jump to: Butterflies As A Guide | In Folklore | In Our Dreams | Symbolism  

    Symbolizing growth and transformation, butterflies are seen as a powerful species that undergo a complex life cycle. They travel thousands of miles to migrate and can fly up to speeds of 50 miles per hour. They are known for their resilience and the ability to adapt to their surroundings. 

    If the butterfly is your spirit animal, perhaps it is because you feel a deep and profound need for spiritual evolution and personal growth. And maybe just like the butterfly, you know that in your darkest moments, there is always the emergence of grace and beauty. And that sometimes we must go through personal pain to get to  freedom on the other side. The butterfly totem is a powerful guide to show us how to do just that and remind us that sometimes the uncomfortable moments in life are just temporary. And if we hold on long enough, nature will take its course, and will persevere and emerge into a higher, more beautiful version of ourselves. 

    If the butterfly is showing up in your life, or in your dreams, perhaps they are serving as your spirit animal, power animal, or animal guide. 

    The Meaning and Symbolism of the Butterfly Animal Spirit

    Many indigenous cultures worldwide highly revere the butterfly for its beauty, symbolism and spiritual significance. There is a legend amongst American Indians that states: If you desire a wish to come true, you must first capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to it. Butterflies can not make any sounds, so they can not reveal your wish to anyone but the Great Spirit who sees and hears all. 

    Different indigenous tribes have different beliefs and interpretations when it comes to butterflies, but some of the common ones include a connection to ancestors. It is believed that seeing a butterfly or having one land on or near you, is a message or visit from a loved one who has passed one. They are considered spiritual guides or protectors and seen as messengers from the spirit world, offering guidance and wisdom to those who encounter them. 

    Butterflies are sometimes used during ceremonies and healing rituals as symbols of transformation, healing, and spiritual growth. 



    The Metamorphosis of a Butterfly

    Butterflies undergo a complete metamorphosis. They have four separate stages in their life cycle; egg, larva, pupa, and adult. This transformation demands the desire and willingness to fly and be independent. And to ultimately leave behind a way of being that was limiting and no longer serving them. 

    As spiritual beings, we are here on Earth to evolve and grow. And whether we like it or not, personal transformation and spiritual growth often require that we step out of our “cocoons” or comfort zones.

    The caterpillar emerging from chrysalis and transforming into a beautiful fluttering butterfly is a metaphor for personal growth and transformation.

    Recently the monarch butterfly, the most common species, has become a recognized symbol for mental health awareness. The profound transformation and resilience even under the most significant changes, such as long-distance migration and habitat loss, makes the monarch butterfly the perfect representation for positive mental and emotional well being. 

    Butterflies As A Guide For Personal Transformation

    If you are drawn to the butterfly there’s a strong chance you are experiencing personal transformation. Perhaps you are feeling like the caterpillar in its cocoon state, and feel the need to withdraw and isolate, going within while you process whatever it is you are going through. Or maybe you are on the other side of your cocoon state and are ready to emerge, transforming into a more evolved version of yourself.  

    It is important to use your own intuition to help you decipher messages from your butterfly spirit guide. This is a deeply personal process and will have vastly different meanings for different people. Always trust your intuition. You may feel a deep connection with butterflies that may not be able to be rationally explained. Listen to your inner wisdom.

    If the butterfly is making itself known to you, spend time reflecting on how it is showing up in your life. Are they showing up in physical form? Or are they visiting you in your dreams? Or perhaps you are encountering them through art or symbols? If so, the butterfly may be trying to make a connection with you as your spirit animal. Pay attention to how they are showing up and what the significance is. How do you personally resonate with the qualities the butterfly inhabits? Qualities such as freedom, growth, beauty, and transformation. 

    If you are drawn to the  butterfly there’s a strong chance you are experiencing personal transformation. Perhaps you are feeling like the caterpillar in its cocoon state, and feel the need to withdraw and isolate, going within while you process whatever it is you are going through. Or maybe you are on the other side of your cocoon state and are ready to emerge, transforming into a more evolved version of yourself.   

    It’s important to trust your instincts and your feelings of connection with butterflies. If you feel a strong connection or find their presence comforting, they may be your spirit animal. Let them show up and offer support and guidance. 

    Call the butterfly in as your animal guide when you need help gracefully navigating difficult transitions in your life. 

    The Butterfly Totem

    Butterflies emphasize the ability to move from one state or perspective to another. They teach us the importance of breaking down everyday tasks into small activities that are easily accomplishable. And if we look at our lives in relation to a butterfly’s life cycle, they can remind us to stay present with the task at hand. Some days are meant for the most rudimentary of goals, like just eating your leaf. The butterfly reminds us to keep going no matter how small your advancement may seem.

    Some animal guides may visit us for a short period of time and then leave, but the butterfly is always present with us because we are always in one of its three stages, the caterpillar, cocoon, or the  butterfly stage. 

    When the butterfly comes into your life, you may be going through significant changes. And the butterfly totem points to internal shifts. These could be related to your own perspective on something, personal habits, or aspects of your personality. 

    Butterflies In Folklore

    Many myths about butterflies relate to death, the afterlife, and rebirth. The Aztecs believed that butterflies took the souls of warriors who died on the battlefield or were sacrificed and the souls of women who died during childbirth and carried them to their resting place. 

    In ancient Greek Mythology, the word for butterfly is psyche. The Greek goddess Psyche was represented by a butterfly and she was depicted in ancient art as a winged woman. Psyche’s Roman name is anima which means soul. A Roman sculpture depicts butterflies leaving the mouth of a dead man, which symbolizes their belief that the soul departs through the mouth. 

    Ancient Celts believed that butterflies are human souls of children in search of mothers. And in the 1600’s it was illegal in Ireland to kill white butterflies for this very reason. 

    In Chinese heritage, butterflies represent freedom and the release from reality and elevating oneself into a higher form of existence. 


    In Japanese heritage, the butterfly is said to help transition spirits in the afterlife. 

    The Sufis believe that the transformation is inevitable, just like the life cycle of a butterfly and sometimes the struggles in life are exactly what we need.  

    In Christianity, the butterfly is seen as a symbol of resurrection. 

    In the Jewish religion, butterflies are seen as a symbol of hope and new beginnings. The transformation that it goes through during its lifetime is a symbol of hope for the future.

    Butterflies In Our Dreams



    Butterflies are often associated with freedom and liberation due to their ability to fly. When a butterfly shows up in your dream, it may symbolize a desire for freedom or independence. They are also seen as symbols of beauty and joy and dreaming of them, may be a craving for more beauty and joy in your life. 

    In many spiritual traditions, butterflies are seen as symbols of spiritual growth, enlightenment, and higher consciousness. If a butterfly shows itself in your dream, it may be an indication that you are having a spiritual awakening or on path to personal evolution and higher purpose. 

    Dreaming of a butterfly could also be a metaphor for something in your waking life. It could represent a person or an aspect of yourself, such as your soul or psyche. 

    Butterfly Symbolism




    • Change
    • Beauty
    • Personal growth and transformation 
    • Resilience
    • Endurance
    • Hope
    • Freedom

    Animal Facts Featuring the Monarch Butterfly 

    Latin Name: Danaus Plexippus

    Size: Average wingspan is 4 inches

    Weight: Weighs less than half a gram 

    Ave Life Span: 2-6 weeks

    Location: North America

    Special Ability: They migrate great distances, traveling up to 3,000 miles.

    Estimated Population: As few as 233,000

    Endangered Status: The monarch is currently slated to be listed in 2024.

    Endangered Status: Vulnerable

    (SCALE: Least Concern→ Near Threatened→ Vulnerable→ Endangered→ Critically Endangered→ Extinct in the Wild→ Extinct)

    Additional  Facts About Butterflies


    • A group of butterflies are called a kaleidoscope.
    • There are currently more than 20,000 species of butterflies on the planet. 
    • They have ancestral roots that date back to prehistoric times, where they roamed and fluttered the Earth with the dinosaurs. The earliest butterflies and moths are estimated to have evolved around 150 to 200 million years ago during the Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous periods. 
    • Butterflies can be found on every continent but Antartica. 
    • They can travel up to speeds of 50 miles per hour.
    • They have 6 legs.
    • Their eyes are made of 6,000 lenses and can see ultraviolet light.
    • Butterflies taste with their feet.

    If you would like to read more of our blogs on other Animal Guides, check out the SnakeOwl, Eagle, Wolf, Deer, Fox, Cat, and Rabbit.


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