Butterflies in Mythology : “It’s time for butterflies and moths. In the afternoon, when the merciless sun seemed to dry up the last drop of dew on the hillsides, large, heavy sailboats could be caught. Elegantly and as if absentmindedly, they ran from bush to bush. Mother-of-pearl, glowing like burning coals, quickly and deftly passed from flower to flower. Cabbage butterflies, golden-white, lemon-yellow and orange, fluttered to and fro on their unkempt wings; with a rustle similar to a cat’s purr, tiny fluffy airplanes – fat-headed butterflies – glided, barely touching the grass; the red admirals sat on gleaming limestone slabs, glowing like Woolworth’s jewels, wings spread and folding like heat. At night, a real kingdom of moths boiled under bright lamps, and a mountain feast came on the big-eyed flat-footed pink geckos waiting on the ceiling – they were so intense that they barely moved. Green and silver oleander hawk butterflies flew out of nowhere and, in a fit of insane passion, hit the glass of the lamp, and with such force that the glass shattered into smithereens. Mysteriously, “dead” butterflies-hawks in red and black specks flew down, on their plush chest like an embroidered ominous sign – a skull with crossed bones. In the chimney, they got stuck in the grate, flapping their wings and squeaking like mice.”
Gerald Durrell. Birds, beasts, and relatives
Adorable and almost ethereal colorful creatures, slowly flitting from flower to flower, invariably evoke an airy feeling of lightness, joy, and freedom. For an innocent child, the butterfly personifies beauty, joy, and freedom, but weighed down by the burden of great everyday experience, people who have long lost the pink illusions of childhood see in this carefree insect only the embodiment of frivolity, carelessness, and inconstancy. A stupid night moth, headlong flying into the invoking light of the fire and scorching its fluttering wings in the flame, has long served as an allegory for a naive young man seized by blind passion: unhappy love painfully burns him, and vicious passion dries up the soul.
The love symbolism of a beautiful insect is widespread enough: in China, the butterfly is the emblem of lovers, in Japan – the emblem of the refined and charming priestesses of love – geisha, and two butterflies in the Land of the Rising Sun symbolize happy conjugal love.
In ancient Greek mythology, Psyche appears in the image of a beautiful butterfly – the personification of the burning passion of the female soul. In the religion of the ancient peoples of all continents, there is an amazing unanimity: they all saw in the butterfly a symbol of rebirth, reincarnation, and immortality of the soul. The basis for this symbolism was the extraordinary life cycle of our heroine: when the furry caterpillar rolled into a dark pupa, its state was mistaken for death, therefore the appearance of a bright winged butterfly from a dead cocoon amazed the imagination of the ancients and was perceived as a miraculous resurrection of the soul.
The perception of a butterfly as a human soul is characteristic of almost all peoples of antiquity, but there were great disagreements about who this soul belongs to. Christians believed that the souls of unbaptized babies who died were incarnated in butterflies; the Aztecs were sure that these were the souls of the dead brave warriors, and the Burmese believed that butterflies were not the souls of the dead, but of living sleeping people, leaving mortal bodies only for a while in order to take a break from the bustle of the world. A person wakes up only at the moment when the butterfly-soul returns to him, therefore it was strictly forbidden to wake up the sleeping man among the Burmese: if the soul does not have time to return to the body, then the suddenly awakened person will certainly die.
In Russia, there was a belief that the souls of the dead were reincarnated into night moths. For 40 days, they, as if saying goodbye, circle not far from their home, and after this period they ascend to heaven. In some regions of Russia, moths are still called “darlings”.
In iconography, the symbolism of the immortality of the soul is conveyed by the image of Christ holding a butterfly in his open palm, therefore, as an emblem of resurrection, it was often depicted on Christian tombstones.
In the visual arts, some light magical creatures are endowed with butterfly wings: Zephyr, the Greek deity of the pleasant western breeze; ancient Ora, personifying the seasons; Celtic elves and fairies, etc.
In the mantle, especially among the British, the main attention was paid to the coloring of the butterfly’s wings. The villagers of foggy Albion wondered about their own fate for the coming year by the first butterfly encountered in the season: the white wings of an insect prophesied a bright and joyful life for them; golden – wealth; brown – disease, poverty, and hunger; and black wings of mourning foreshadowed imminent demise.
In the era of the gloomy Middle Ages, when wild superstitions flourished, many bad omens associated with butterflies appeared. It was considered a bad sign to see three butterflies together, even worse – to meet a daytime butterfly at night. However, a large lilac hawk moth sowed real panic horror in the medieval world. This devilish butterfly was popularly dubbed the “Dead Head”, and a meeting with her promised imminent death. It is not difficult to understand the reason for the superstitious fear of this monster from the kingdom of insects: on its chest, a lilac hawk moth bears the emblem of death – a clearly distinguishable image of a skull, and from its melancholy squeak that raises the soul of an impressionable person, frost tears through the skin.
In feng shui (Chinese home improvement art) symbolism, butterflies symbolized love and joy. The butterfly, placed on the coat of arms, symbolizes, according to ancient medieval heraldic books, frivolity and inconstancy, and is also a symbol of victory over the enemy with the indicated shortcomings. And the chrysalis of a butterfly, according to the same sources, means immortality. In the 16-17 centuries. the butterfly was the emblem of impermanence.
The theme of metamorphosis arose in archaic ideas about the transformation of the human soul into a butterfly, moth, etc. At the same time, one day butterflies, moths, and other ephemerides are becoming widespread symbols of the brevity of life and happiness.
In antiquity, the symbols of a butterfly and a scorpion were common (the attributes of Psyche and Mercury, respectively). And it is not without reason that the butterfly was an attribute of the psyche – the “soul”. Indeed, even in Japanese mythology, the soul was represented in the form of a butterfly. And if during his lifetime the soul left the human body or went on its last journey, then these wanderings were depicted in the form of a butterfly fluttering.
In late medieval painting, a butterfly (“soul”) in the hands of a baby Jesus, a grasshopper, a ladybug (an attribute of the Mother of God) were both religious symbols and signs of enthusiastic admiration for the beauty of the real world.
In Asia, butterflies were worshiped as the progenitors of the world, and Buddha turned his last sermon to one of them.
The inhabitants of the magical world of elves and fairies, representatives of the air element and air magic, were depicted as butterflies. They live in more subtle dimensions, and although our world is too rough for them, fairies sometimes appeared in it.
In Eastern traditions, the butterfly was more of a female symbol and a sign that happy married life, light, and joyful relationships await her.
From the Toltec traditions:
“Knowledge is a butterfly. Butterflies are heralds, or, better to say, guardians of eternity. For some reason, or maybe for no reason at all, they are the keepers of the golden dust of eternity, which they carry on their wings. Butterflies have been close friends and helpers of magicians since ancient times.”
Rhythmologically, a butterfly is a sign that your energy is now growing, increasing. Of course, this means having the potential to do and have more – events, money, relationships. The more butterflies, the greater the growth potential. Try to rejoice at everything that comes to you, to thank the world from the Soul for all this.
It may have several aspects that your subconscious mind wants to express and with the help of which it is in contact with you and the outside world. Most often, the butterfly totem is additional, local, it refers to your specific chakra, the energy level of manifestation and realization. He loves the higher chakras more, starting with the heart. But sometimes it brings signs and is a prototype of what is happening with your energy in the first three chakras.
When the image of a butterfly comes to you, you may feel that now you want to live more easily and happily. Or your subconscious mind advises you to do just that. If it concerns relationships, then it is easier to perceive them, to play, spin, dance. Enjoy the present moment, a brief moment of love and perfection.
Let your Soul sing, bathe in happiness, enjoy the poetry of the moment. If you lack these qualities and abilities, you can use an amulet or talisman – a butterfly.
If in a difficult period of life a butterfly appears in you, then most likely the time has come for transformation, metamorphosis. You are already internally ready for the next stage of your development. Maybe it’s time to get out of the cocoon of your limiting beliefs and start dancing your dance of life. Go towards changes, they are always for the better. If at the same time, you use the image of a butterfly totem, its symbolism in the form of an amulet, a talisman, then the process of change for you will be less painful and without any injuries.
Butterflies make our life brighter and more colorful. When a butterfly becomes your totem, pay attention to how many reasons there are in life for joy. Feel the lightness. Hope for change and don’t be afraid to change your life at the earliest opportunity. Remember that change is always for the better. Butterfly magic helps us understand that transformations are inevitable, but they don’t have to be traumatic. She will make the process of change in your life pleasant and joyful.
Butterfly as a Logo
If you use butterfly symbols in your corporate identity, then your business may be related to:
- with the air element, transfer of information, knowledge;
- with the sphere of beauty;
- with shows and entertainment, including in the field of relationships;
- with a mystical and esoteric sphere,
- with psychology, the theme of the Soul and its transformation.
In these areas, the butterfly can be realized in full, on the semantic correspondence, on the one hand – facilitating the process of work and bringing joy from changes. On the other hand – transferring the development of the organization from one stage to another.
Often, subconsciously, the head of an organization that chooses a butterfly for a logo in an inappropriate field of activity would like to be easy in attracting clients and customers – so that they fly to him like butterflies to the light. But in fact, it often turns out the other way around, his own company is the butterfly, and the fire is some idea or concept that drives the business. It’s good if the company doesn’t turn into a fly-by-night.
In any case, with such a symbol, it is necessary to tune in to gradual and phased development, to serious changes in business, this applies to the market, finance, product concept. It is also relevant for you to manage marketing by stages of the life cycle of services and goods.