Butterfly Tattoos and Tattoo Designs


The Symbolism, Meaning and Mythology of the Butterfly Tattoo Design

Few images are more popular in the world of tattoo design then the butterfly. Whether free in nature or etched high on the crest of a feminine shoulder, the beauty and significance of the butterfly tattoo remains unsurpassed. Few would dispute the splendor in symmetry, color, form, flight or diversity of these creative designs. As butterflies begin their sojourn to summer habitats from around the world, thousands of different types, from the Black Swallowtail to the familiar Monarch will light up the sky with wonder from the Pacific coast to New England and beyond. Along the way, they will lay their eggs and when the eggs hatch into caterpillars, the whole cycle will begin again. This is the magic of their perseverance and the message in their ability to transform. This magic is embodied in the butterfly tattoo design you choose for your permanent body art collection.

insect, flirty, pretty, celestial

butterfly, feminine, pretty, black

insect, tailbone, symmetrical, wing

Why are Butterfly Tattoo Designs so Popular?

Butterfly tattoo designs are more popular then flower tattoos, animal tattoos, dragon tattoos, fairy tattoos or any other tattoo design subject. These amazing creatures captivate our imaginations and have attracted countless individuals to permanently decorate their skin. Perhaps it is the infinite variety in pattern and color that makes them so popular. Maybe it is the way their bright and beautiful wings show a flash of color as they take flight and dance with a freedom and lightness that we can only imagine. Whatever the reason, butterfly tattoo designs look great on the skin. Whether you choose a butterfly as a lower back design or a small one as a ankle design, the butterfly makes a colorful statement. Often people choose a tribal butterfly tattoo. These black images can feature elaborate organic or celtic patterns. Sometimes butterflies are seen with flowers for a stunning lower back or tail bone tattoo. The shape and symmetry of the butterfly have inspired tattoo artists and illustrators to create an incredible array of amazing designs to choose from. Butterfly designs are as varied and individual as the insects they are inspired by. They have as much personality as the people who choose to wear them.

butterfly, lower back, feminine, bright

butterfly, lower back, feminine, wings


Butterflies and Fairies - A long history together.

Butterflies have long been associated with Fairies. Who knows whether fairies borrow butterfly wings or butterflies borrow little fairy wings. Either way, we generally see fairies with the wings of a butterfly. Often in tattoo design, paintings, pictures and illustrations we can see butterflies and fairies together. Some artists have the idea that the butterfly best represents the multicultural aspects of Nature itself. Perhaps this represents the human desire to create harmony with nature. Perhaps it represents a desire to fly with the freedom and beauty of the butterfly.

blossoms, leaf, floral, pretty


insect, flirty, pretty, wing

The meaning of the Butterfly Tattoo Design

Children and adults watch with fascination as butterflies paint our world with the color and design, but there is more to the butterfly than mere symmetry of wings or kaleidoscopic beauty. When choosing your butterfly tattoo, you may want to consider what it symbolizes, what statement you are making, or what it is saying about you. Because of their temporary beauty and the dramatic transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, butterfly images have taken on many different meanings. To most people they represent change and growth. The mystery of how a caterpillar changes in to a butterfly during it's time in the cocoon has sparked stories and myths that are as varied and interesting as the patterns that they so beautifully display. As well as representing metamorphosis, butterfly tattoo design can represent freedom, the existence of life, life after death, and divine love. The diversity and the symbolism in the butterfly tattoo abounds.

Here are but a few of the hundreds of myths, folk-tales, and symbolic meanings surrounding the butterfly and the butterfly tattoo design.

  • In Germany the sighting of a butterfly can been regarded as an Omen of birth.
  • The Maya describe butterflies as spirits of the dead in disguise as they return to earth.
  • They say rain is coming in western Pennsylvania when the chrysalis hangs on the underside of heavy branches.
  • A butterfly flying in one’s face indicates the coming of cold weather, and the Zuni believe that the appearance of butterflies indicates mild weather.
  • Butterflies can also represent abundance. The Hopi, Zumi, Navaho, Pomo, Piute, Apache, tribes in Mexico and even prehistoric tribes used butterflies to represent the harvest of summer. The Hopi ‘Butterfly Clan’ allegedly conducted a ceremonial dance called "Bulitikibi," Butterfly Dance, as a plea to the gods for a good harvest.
  • Butterflies have also been know to symbolize witches due to their inherent transformative abilities and the magic of the witch. The Serbians see the butterfly as the soul of a witch and their concept of the soul may explain why many medieval angels have butterfly wings rather than bird wings or feathers.
  • Displaying classic qualities of beauty and grace, the butterfly represents male and female sensuality and femininity. Artists sometimes include butterflies to add a feminine touch to artwork.
  • Butterflies are the classic metaphor of transformation and ultimate freedom, as well as impermanence and fragility.
  • Arapaho Indians allegedly interpret the symbol for butterfly as the Morning Star.
  • Butterflies in the Art Nouveau period indicated a rejection of industrialization and a desire for man to get back to nature.
tribal, butterfly, lower back, feminine



These are just a few examples of the hundreds of metaphorical, mythological, symbolic and tribal meanings of the butterfly tattoo design. We continually add more meanings to the list with the passing of each century. Consider these deeper meanings when you consider choosing a butterfly tattoo design for your skin gallery. Whether you choose the widespread wings of the classic Monarch for your shoulder or a whimsical butterfly dressed in purple for your tailbone your butterfly design will have a meaning and symbolism you can wear on your body.

tribal, butterfly, flower, sexy


insect, lower back tribal, tailbone, flirty

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