Everyone, who wants to endow tattoo with certain meaning, tries to find in it some of his personality aspects or personal view of the world. Actually, each tattoo has a large number of meanings, particularly butterfly tattoo meaning demonstrates a great variety of symbols. Butterfly became a traditionally well-known women’s symbol long ago, embodying all tender and positive women’s features.
In general, the picture of a butterfly in various countries and by various peoples at various times had different meanings. Thus, in Mexico the butterfly became a symbol of honoring the memories of deceased loved ones, who have gone after the mortal life to heaven, and a picture of the human soul. In Japan, this animal is associated with lightness, grace, and is a symbol of womanhood. In Roman culture, the butterfly in any form was considered the messenger of war.
In ancient time, the South American tribal people saw in the butterfly a symbol of trembling fire, the spirit of the stars and souls of women, who died after giving birth. The Aztecs believed that souls of warriors fallen in battle, turned into butterflies — so beautiful, weightless and carefree. People of Ancient Greece also imagined the soul in the form of a girl with butterfly wings. And in Romano-Scandinavian myths the butterfly became the image of the air element. Therefore the forest spirits — elves — looked like tiny people with butterfly wings.
Christian religion admits the butterfly as a symbol of resurrection and rebirth of an immortal soul. Slavic people also associated this fragile animal with the soul, but often the butterfly was considered a death prophet. Regarding the modern times, it may be said that in some circles there is a conception of a butterfly image as a symbol of all careless girls.
As you can see, the butterfly tattoo meaning has been inextricably connected by the wise eras with the concept of the human soul and female principle, surrounded by beauty, tenderness, lightness and grace.
Tattoo in the form of a butterfly embraces the signs of eternal life and transformation, because the life cycle of this creature consists of three stages “larva — pupa — butterfly”. It comes into the world, dies, and then begins its life again in the other form.
Men use the picture of a butterfly rarely enough, nevertheless it occurs on them too. At the same time a butterfly never lost its popularity among women because such a cute creature gives only joy, and is a sign of summer beginning. This small tattoo on the body will look delicate, simple, colorful and beautiful.
No doubt that the strongest associations with butterflies are grace, beauty and transformation. Of course you know about the impressive metamorphoses happen to this beautiful creature. It starts as an egg (birth), stepwise transforming through larva (dependence, socialization), caterpillar (independence) and cocoon (withdrawal) to the unfurling glorious creature (rebirth, awakening) — within just one month. What a hard and intensive way of transformations for such a tiny fragile creature! And the whole cycle takes only a moment — if we were to go through such changes, we’d go crazy!
The whole process has much in common with evolution of the soul, its way from almost nothing to beauty and wisdom. Thus the first meaning of the butterfly tattoo comes out — transition and changes in your life. And of course, we couldn’t forget about special butterfly symbolism in different cultures.
In Japan, butterfly is a symbol of tender beauty and feminine elegance — Geisha is commonly identified with butterfly.
In Christian culture the butterfly is a symbol of eternal life and rebirth. Not only Christ resurrection, but an awakening for the true spiritual love that lives inside us. Butterfly is also a symbol of the immortal soul. It is depicted on ancient Christian tombs, and Christ has been portrayed with a butterfly in his arms.
Psyche (the word is translated as “soul”) from ancient Greece is depicted as butterfly, too. Moreover, it is always strongly connected to Eros (Greek god of love) and the love they shared.
Similarly, in Celtic culture butterfly is a symbol of beauty, love and dignity. And it also symbolizes the soul in Celtic mentality.
In contrast to the previous meanings, in Chinese culture butterfly is associated with good luck, joy, abundance, health and blessing. And here are the most popular butterfly tattoo designs and their meanings.
Tribal butterfly tattoos have special design patterns and meanings depending on the region of origination. Though nowadays most of them remain unclear, there is a meaning they all share — connection to the Nature and a particular culture. As all the Celtic tattoos, butterfly tattoo is deeply connected to spirituality and paganism, as well as Irish culture in general.
Gothic butterfly tattoo is an interesting design, combining the most feminine symbol and dark undertones of the afterlife. In common, it represents a loss of innocence and independence. Ulysses butterfly tattoo is a beautiful design with no special meaning, though this butterfly species is under protection in Australia. No doubt, that Monarch butterfly tattoo is the most popular and well-known. These butterfly species is associated with the return of the souls of the beloved deceased.
Rebel flag butterfly tattoo may have different meanings depending on what historical events mean for you. It may be the symbol of racism and hate, or it can represent strong connection with the American South. In most designs, these tattoos differ slightly from the original Rebel Flag and include some feminine patterns, being worn by women who are proud of their Southern heritage.
Butterfly tattoo is the most feminine tattoo ever, so it’s not surprising that some issues about women’s health influence the design. One of the most familiar symbols for the fight against breast cancer is pink ribbon — this pattern is often included in the breast cancer butterfly tattoos. The tattoo itself represents hope, rebirth and victory.
Butterfly and dragonfly tattoo incorporates all the meanings for each pattern: transformation, subconscious and meditation, freedom and prosperity, inner space.
As other skull tattoos, butterfly skull tattoo represents the past life and human mortality. But in common, it is linked to the transformation and rebirth after a tragic event, like the death of a loved one. It also may symbolize life changes and quitting bad habits.
Butterfly tiger tattoo perfectly represents the duality of human nature — the ability to be as strong, powerful and passionate as tiger on the inside, being as gentle and fragile as a butterfly is on the outside. The other meaning has butterfly fairy tattoo. It is connected to femininity, rebirth, transformation, and freedom. And of course, like all the fairies tattoos itself, deep bond with the Nature.
Just like the tiger butterfly tattoo, dragon butterfly tattoo launches two patterns with totally different meanings. A dragon is a symbol of masculine qualities, power and strength, and butterfly is mostly a feminine symbol of innocence and tender beauty. They both in one tattoo represent a balanced duality of the bearer’s nature. But on the other way, in many cultures, both a dragon and a butterfly are symbols of prosperity and luck.
Of course, the other meaningful combination that comes to mind is butterfly flower tattoo. Depending on the flower and its color, this tattoo may have different meanings: red rose represents passion, love, and transformations; apple blossom signifies changes, luck and prosperity.
A lot of meanings are connected with a star, from good fortune in finding your way home. In plenty of stories and myths star is represented as a guide for the lost ones. Thus, butterfly star tattoo represents spiritual and mental guidance.
The other interesting meaningful design is an angel butterfly tattoo. Angels are guardians of the mankind and messengers of God. United with a butterfly in one design, they symbolize the protection of an innocent soul. Bearers of this design usually see themselves as protectors; they feel like being tasked by a higher being to guide someone who’s emotionally fragile.
Eyes have always been considered as windows to our souls. So it’s not surprising that butterfly eyes tattoo represents ’look within your soul’. This tattoo is the most common for people who overcome, or are fighting life changes that made them re-evaluate the whole life, for example, addictions or death of the beloved one.