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.
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.
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.
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
- Butterflies in the Art Nouveau period indicated a rejection of industrialization
and a desire for man to get back to nature.
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
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