Butterflies are true wonders of nature. They live a short life but incredibly full of events and undergo a drastic transformation in a relatively limited period of time. This is why butterflies are often associated with rebirth and resurrection. In Christendom, butterflies represent the resurrection of Christ and his ascent to heaven.
Butterflies are also symbols of love and spirituality. The Greek word for butterfly is psyche and comes from the homonymous goddess Psyche, the goddess of the soul.
Psyche is often depicted with butterfly wings and, according to Greek mythology, she fell madly in love with Eros, the Greek god of love, desire and affection, whom she married. You may know Eros better by his Roman name, Cupid.
Meaning of butterfly tattoos
Butterfly tattoos can be placed in many places on the body, the most popular being the upper arm, back, foot, shoulder and lower back. They exist in a multitude of different colors including pink, blue and black. In Asian culture, seeing a black butterfly is a sign of the imminent or recent death of a loved one. Butterflies have a large number of meanings, including:
- Resurrection and rebirth
- The transformation
- Spirituality and soul
- Connection with nature and natural elements
Variations of designs
The designs of these tattoos can include many elements:
1. Tribal butterfly tattoos
Tribal motifs have a particular cultural significance in the different regions from which they come. Today, the exact meaning of each tribal symbol is quite vague, but the designs of tribal butterfly tattoos generally represent a connection with nature or with a particular culture.
2. Celtic butterfly tattoos
Celtic butterfly tattoos are deeply rooted in spirituality and paganism. They represent a strong connection with natural elements and a link with Irish culture.
3. Gothic butterfly tattoos
This tattoo design is a wonderful way to add a Gothic touch to a very feminine symbol. To do this, we add darker background touches to the fragile butterfly. Gothic butterfly tattoos usually represent loss of innocence and freedom.
4. Ulysses butterfly tattoos
This butterfly comes from Australia and is protected by law against hunting and poaching. Although it has no symbolic meaning defined like that of the monarch butterfly, the Ulysses butterfly is often incorporated into tattoo designs for aesthetic reasons.
5. Tattoos of southern rebel flags with butterflies
The Southern rebel flag has many different meanings, depending on the meaning given to its use during the events of history. For some, it is a symbol of racism and hatred but for others, it represents a strong connection with the south of the USA. These tattoos offer a feminine variant of the traditional southern rebel flag and are generally worn by women who are proud of their southern heritage.
6. Monarch butterfly tattoos
Of all the butterfly species, the monarch butterfly is by far the most popular. In Mexico, it represents the return of the spirits of deceased loved ones, celebrated on the Day of the Dead throughout the country. Moving a monarch butterfly is bad luck because, if you do, you will disturb the ultimate resting place of your dear deceased.
7. Butterfly tattoos against breast cancer
Since butterfly tattoos are almost exclusively worn by women, it is not surprising that many women’s health campaigns use these designs. The little pink ribbon is widely known to symbolize the fight against breast cancer. Breast cancer butterfly tattoos represent hope and rebirth after the devastation produced by the disease. They are often worn by women who have survived breast cancer and / or their loved ones.
8. Dragonfly and butterfly tattoos
The dragonfly is a creature that belongs as much to Air as to Water. Air represents transformation and Water symbolizes the subconscious and meditation. Like the butterfly, the dragonfly represents freedom and prosperity. A tattoo design that represents these two insects symbolizes inner peace.
9. Butterfly and skull tattoos
The skull tattoos represent the past life and the mortality of the human species. It is tempting to see the tattoos of butterflies and skulls as something morbid and sad but, in reality, these drawings symbolize the growth and transformation that can follow a tragic event, like the death of a to be expensive. They also represent life changes and turning your back on the past.
10. Butterfly and tiger tattoos
The tiger is a symbol of power, strength, passion and sexual prowess. Tigers tattoos represent the deep desire that exists in man to be wild and indomitable. A butterfly and tiger tattoo represents the inner strength and latent power existing in a seemingly fragile creature.
11. Butterfly and fairy tattoos
When accompanied by fairies, butterfly tattoos represent femininity, rebirth, transformation and freedom. These two beings are elements of nature, which is why people who wear tattoos of fairies and butterflies also feel a deep connection with the natural world.
12. Butterfly and flower tattoos
The most common embodiment of this design is the butterfly and rose tattoo. The type and color of the flower will change the general meaning of the tattoo. A butterfly on a red rose will represent the passion, love and transformation of your love life, while the presence of an apple blossom will symbolize a change in luck and prosperity. Generally, tattoos of butterflies and flowers are a representation of your love life.
13. Butterfly and star tattoos
Stars have multiple meanings, most of which are related to luck and the ability to find one’s way. Historically, the stars have been used as guides to reach their destination or help with quests, while the butterfly represents freedom, nature and soul. The designs of butterfly and star tattoos represent guidance in a spiritual quest.
14. Butterfly and dragon tattoos
The tattoos of dragons and butterflies represent the interaction between strength and power on one side and innocence and beauty on the other. The dragon is generally associated with masculine qualities while the butterfly is seen as a feminine symbol and considered innocent and delicate. In a certain sense, we can say that a person wearing this tattoo design identifies with the way in which these two forces balance and complement each other. In many cultures, both the dragon and the butterfly are seen as symbols of prosperity and luck.
15. Butterfly and angel tattoos
Angels are the guardians of humans and the messengers of God. Given the spiritual meaning of the butterfly, a tattoo design that represents these two elements will symbolize the protection of innocent souls. Those who wear this tattoo generally see themselves as angels or protectors and feel that they have been called by a higher being (be it God or the forces of the universe) to guide and protect someone emotionally more fragile.
16. Butterfly and eye tattoos
In many cultures, the eyes are the mirror of the soul. A butterfly tattoo that represents a pair of eyes symbolizes the ability – or the need – to focus on yourself and “look into your soul”. Usually, the people who wear this design are living – or have experienced – a big change that made them reflect on their life and reassess their priorities. For example, someone who has fought an addiction. This means that, in a certain sense, the wearer of this tattoo is on the path of transformation.