Butterfly Tattoos a Symbol of Rebirth

On June 13, 2012, in Butterfly Tattoos, by Tristan G

Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it became a butterfly.
-Anonymous

Butterfly Tattoo - ArmWhat other creature symbolizes change and rebirth more than the butterfly? It starts out as a lowly caterpillar, crawling on the ground. If it survives this dangerous existence, it makes a cocoon and stays in there silently, slowly transforming from its ugly duckling stage into a creature that is different completely than what it was. When it comes out, it has transformed into a beautiful butterfly, flitting from flower to flower in a delicate dance that delights anyone who watches.

When we look at the butterfly’s existence and compare it to our own lives, the symbolism is very powerful. Anyone who has gone through a life changing event such as a major accident or illness, the death of a loved one, a divorce, been a victim of a crime, or changed careers and come out stronger on the other side can identify with the butterfly. Anyone who loves them for the sheer beauty of their fragile existence, or who appreciates their colorful wings and whimsical nature can identify with the butterfly as well. Whatever your reason, butterflies are universally loved and as a result are a very popular tattoo.

Butterfly Tattoo Legends and Meanings

It should come as no surprise that just about every culture around the world has a legend revolving around the butterfly.

The Native Americans believed that if you had a wish that you desperately wanted to come true then you first had to capture a butterfly and whisper your wish to her. Since butterflies make no sound, she couldn’t tell the wish to anyone except the Great Spirit. After you whispered your wish you had to set her free, and she would take your wish up to the heavens to be granted.

Many cultures believe that butterflies carry the souls of the dead. Sometimes they are viewed as messengers for the dead as well.

In Japan butterflies are used to represent spring, young love, and happiness in marriage. Many Japanese family crests use the butterfly in some way.

In ancient Ireland it was illegal to kill a white butterfly, since they were thought to be the souls of dead children. Butterflies are associated with many things: rebirth, feminine beauty, perseverance, love, freedom, and joy are the most common.

Butterfly Tattoos

Butterflies are probably the most requested tattoo by women, although men do get them as well! They’re often placed on shoulders and ankles, although they look beautiful almost anywhere. Many people have gotten entire back pieces done just in butterflies, and the effect is stunning.

Butterflies can be stand alone tattoos, or you can get them resting on flowers, flitting next to fairies, swirling amid cherry blossoms, or anything else your imagination can come up with. Getting butterflies centered in a tribal design is also quite popular, especially on the lower back.

Whatever your reason for wanting a butterfly tattoo, don’t fall into the “I’m just like everyone else” trap just because you’ll have one.

Butterfly Tattoo in legs

Butterflies are universally admired and symbolize wonderful things. They’re a great example showing the fragility and shortness of life, and it’s important that before you get one you figure out what they mean to you. Conversely, they don’t have to mean anything! Plenty of people get a butterfly tattoo simply because they’re beautiful to look at, and that’s just fine too. You can bet that the butterfly wouldn’t care either way.


See pictures & Read more about fairy tattoos.

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