Butterfly Meaning By Color & Type and the Butterfly Spirit Guide
There’s something otherworldly about butterflies, don’t you think? How do they capture our attention and imagination so easily? The butterfly has a long history of captivating humans, including as omens and signs. Our ancestors had some strong feelings towards these beautiful winged creatures – some good, some bad. If you’ve been seeing them everywhere lately, it’s time to learn the butterfly meaning. Here, we break the butterfly symbolism down by color and type, plus introduce you to this powerful animal spirit guide.
First, Why Are Butterflies So Special?
The butterfly is an insect that has the innate ability to metamorphose. As in, they start out as squishy, fat little caterpillars, spin themselves up in a chrysalis, and then emerge as something else entirely. I think this one thing alone is enough to make them God’s special creatures. But wait. There’s more. They’ve been around a long-@ss time – at least 56 million years, y’all. That we know of. So butterflies are prehistoric beings. Anything that’s been around that long has some mad adaption skills. And automatically garners my respect.
Here’s something else. Butterflies are just plain pretty. And playful, whimsical little things. They’re the fairy of the insect world, no doubt about it. You’ll find butterflies on every continent except for Antarctica. There’s literally over 18,000 species, and most people know exactly what a monarch butterfly looks like. This one particular butterfly has crossed oceans and naturalized over multiple countries and regions. I could go on and on about the amazing things this insect does.
History in Magic + Good and Bad Superstitions
Not surprisingly, butterflies have a rich, long history in magical traditions. And they also boast quite a few old school superstitions. Let’s start with the name butterfly. The term originated from the idea that these beautiful insects stole butter from churns. In Medieval Times, everyone was terrified of witches. Hundreds of thousands of people were put to death after being accused of witchcraft. And where there was a witch, there was an animal that was her familiar. The butterfly was once thought to be one of the witch’s familiar spirits or the spirit of the witch herself in shapeshifted form. Stealing butter was one of the many evil deeds on the witch’s resume. Learn more about the butterfly as the witch’s familiar here.
Fast forward a few centuries and European immigrants brought strong butterfly symbolism with them to the New World. If the first butterfly you see in the new year is white, this is a sign your year will be prosperous. If it’s black, this is supposedly a bad omen (in older times, that is). When a butterfly flies into your home, your loved one will come home soon.
Butterfly Meaning = Transformation, Radical Change, Whimsy, Finding One’s Bliss, and Renewal
First, let’s define the butterfly’s meaning in general. Because of the extraordinary process of metamorphosis, all butterflies symbolize transformation. Change is inevitable. And, while change can be a good thing, it can also be a slow and incredibly painful process. We don’t know what the caterpillar goes through when he metamorphoses into the butterfly. We understand the process, but we haven’t felt it from his perspective. But I have a good hunch that the transformations we undertake in life, the really painful (but beneficial) ones, are not too far off from the butterfly’s.
In addition to transformation, the butterfly symbolizes whimsy and finding one’s bliss. Are you running around on an empty fuel-tank? Do you give and give and give and receive nothing in return? The butterfly brings a change in your life, telling you it’s time to find your bliss. It’s time to find that something that makes your soul sing.
What does it mean to keep seeing butterflies?
We have to remind ourselves that not every animal is a sign. However, if you notice butterflies surrounding you at random places. Or seemingly following you on a daily basis. This is a big sign and you should pay attention to it. The butterfly frequently approaches humans to remind them to see the beauty in little things in life. And to bring attention to the areas in our lives that need to change in order for us to grow as human beings.
Does it mean something if a butterfly lands on me?
If a butterfly lands on you, the meaning doesn’t change. But the potency increases. Meaning, the butterfly is really trying to get your attention! And transformation, or abrupt change, is getting ready to happen in your life. It also means that perhaps you’ve been ignoring the change. Now it’s time to embrace it!
I’m seeing butterflies in my dreams. What does this symbolize?
Our dreams reveal our subconscious desires, needs, fears and phobias. If you’re seeing butterflies in your dreams, first take note of what those butterflies are doing. And what the environment is like in your dream state. Then apply the aforementioned butterfly meanings to your dream – are you ignoring a new path that’s opened up in your life? Are you being weighed down by others’ decisions? If you see a caterpillar, this no doubt means you’re weighed down by the past and need to open yourself up to what the future holds.
Butterfly Meaning By Color & Type
The butterfly’s message is abundant change, growth, and beauty. But some people wonder, does the butterfly meaning change if the butterflies are different colors or types? There are a few differences in symbolism. If we apply color magic properties to butterflies, we see the meanings clearly.
White Butterfly Meaning (Wood Whites, Cabbage Whites, Garden Whites, etc.)
The color white means purity, peace, and connection to the Divine. Seeing a white butterfly means your ancestor or spirit guide is nearby. It also could mean a time of change, one that purifies your soul and your life, is coming.
Yellow Butterfly Meaning (Yellow Sulphurs, Orange Emigrants, Sleepy Oranges, Etc.)
The color yellow is linked to the solar plexus, the sun, self confidence, happiness, and career success. So when you see a yellow butterfly it means you will have a change in careers or family life soon. And for the better – for your own peace of mind and inner joy.
Orange Butterfly Meaning (Monarch, Queen, Fritillary, Viceroy, Painted Lady, Etc.)
The color orange is linked to the sacral chakra, and therefore to creativity, fertility, inspiration, and to increase vitality. Which makes sense because orange butterflies like the monarch and painted lady are fertile creatures! The meaning of an orange butterfly may be that you’re on the brink of pregnancy OR getting ready to birth forth a new idea or project.
Conversely, orange butterflies of a bright shade also remind us to protect ourselves around potential predators. The bright patterns on butterflies’ wings work as a warning to birds and other predators, letting them know they are poisonous to eat. Monarch caterpillars actually chew on milkweed leaves, a poisonous plant, which makes the caterpillars themselves toxic to birds. If you’ve been feeling vulnerable lately, time to up your protective measures at home, at work, etc.
Black Butterfly Meaning (Swallowtails)
What does it mean to be followed by a black butterfly? There are a few types of black butterflies including the sootywing butterfly and black swallowtail. You’ll find other black butterflies come with other colors mixed in. Truly a thoroughly black butterfly is extremely rare. But this color butterfly brings change and transformation in one of the following areas: shadow work (deep emotional healing), magical skill, or banishing old habits and toxic lifestyles.
Blue Butterfly Meaning
Have you been needing peace or healing in your life lately? Praying for a change in a stressful situation? The blue butterfly meaning will cheer you up, because the color blue itself is a healing color. It’s linked to the ocean and emotions. And to the calming aspect of the water element. A transformation to your body, mind, or soul is imminent. One that leads to peace and a time of rest.
Brown Butterfly Meaning (Large Heaths, Gatekeepers, Skippers, Etc.)
Seeing a brown butterfly means the fae folk are close by. I’ve always associated butterflies with fairies, and the color brown is intricately linked to Mother Earth. Therefore it’s also a favorite color of animals and elementals. Skippers (a type of butterfly and moth) are particularly whimsical in their flight pattern. You are entering a time of transformation that leads to pure bliss on the other side.
The Butterfly Spirit Guide
What is a spirit guide, exactly? A spirit guide is a spirit on the other side that sometimes intervenes in your life to protect, nurture, and guide you onto the right path. Sometimes this spirit guide may take on the form of an animal. Or insect. In this case, we’re talking about the butterfly spirit guide. She’ll start to appear anywhere and everywhere to get your attention: in nature, on the TV, in songs, in books, online, and via conversations with friends, loved ones, and even complete strangers. Acknowledge the butterfly spirit guide’s presence and ask to be shown the next steps on your path.
The butterfly as a spirit guide brings a reminder to you to explore the lessons we’ve already discussed: renewal, deep emotional healing, transformation, whimsy, inner joy and finding your bliss. It’s time to shed your old skin, wrap yourself up in the Divine’s light, and emerge anew.