Black Butterfly

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Back To Black

The art is a little dark looking but the post regards my totem for the day, yep, a black butterfly. I was certain I looked this up last year when I saw one? lol I found a great article on the meaning.

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Black Butterfly Meaning

By Rutuja Jathar

The black butterfly meaning and symbolism changes from one culture to the other. In all, it is somewhat similar to the meaning of black color.

Morning light, silken dream to flight
As the darkness gave way to dawn
You’ve survived, now your moment has arrived
Now your dream has finally been born

Black Butterfly, sailed across the waters
tell your sons and daughters
what the struggle brings
Black Butterfly, set the skies on fire
rise up even higher
so the ageless winds of time can catch your wings…

Most of you must have heard this beautiful song by Deniece Williams. The above mentioned verse itself explains a lot about the symbolism and meaning which can be related with black butterflies. As we know, all the types of tiny and beautifully colored butterflies have always been associated with grace, elegance and beauty. Naturally, butterflies are used for symbolizing femininity, style and charm.

On the other hand, the black color is associated with numerous human emotions and qualities that are often overpowering. These qualities are – power, authority, sexuality, mystery, sophistication, elegance, style, anger, fear, unhappiness, evil, depth, sadness, death, mourning, remorse and the unknown. I think, the same symbolism of black color is likely to have been linked up with butterflies; which created the theory of black butterfly meaning. Nevertheless, the symbolism and the constructs that are related with black butterflies, have alluded many of us, at least once. So, now is the time to find out what black butterfly actually means in different cultures.

Symbolism and Meaning of Black Butterfly

As far as lepidopterology (a scientific branch that studies butterflies and moths) is concerned; the black and deep colors of butterflies are a result of the melanin color pigments present in them. Let’s look into the symbolism of black butterfly.

Metamorphosis: In many cultures, it is believed that black butterflies are the symbol of transition, renewal or rebirth. It is also believed that black butterflies could be a symbol of rebirth of something or people. They are also symbolized for longevity and shift in the power. In short, black butterflies are supposed to be the sign of positive change in the present situation.

Death Warning: In various parts of the world including Central America, Philippines, China, black butterflies are considered as a symbol of death. Hence, according to these people, a black butterfly or moth in the house is the warning of death of a member of the house. They also appear in the house when someone in the house has already died.

Dead Souls: According to the fascinating (and a bit scary) lores of the land of the Celts or Ireland, black butterflies are nothing but souls of the deceased people. According to Irish people, when deceased people fail to discover their Afterlife, they turn into a black butterfly. Hence, these butterflies can enter the house or properties where they once belonged as a living soul.

Witch Camouflage: The infamous witches are also associated while explaining the meaning of a black butterfly. According to the folklores, witches transform themselves into black butterflies so that nobody can recognizes them while stealing various foods that they need to eat! This is especially evident with reference to black butterflies or moths that appear in or around the houses at night.

Fire Goddess: According to Aztec mythology, Obsidian Butterfly or Itzpapalotl was the warrior goddess of fire and infant mortality. In historic documents, Itzpapalotl is associated with moths, deer and black butterfly. She is described as the star demon who devours people during solar eclipse. According to iconography, she camouflages in the forms of various creatures and insects so as to stay unrecognizable.

Positive Symbolism: No matter whether you believe in the black butterfly symbolism or don’t; you can still take out a few positive meanings from the aforementioned butterfly symbolism. At least that is what most of the people do while getting butterfly tattoos. You see, in most of the stories, black butterfly is associated with change, transition, freedom and rebirth. It is symbolized as death – assume it as the death of all the bad things and misfortunes!

All these things are both mythical and real. Mythical – if you want to take them in the negative manner; and real – if you want to take them in a positive manner.

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11 thoughts on “Black Butterfly

  1. Lovely art and really interesting to read the symbolism associated with the black butterfly. Hope you are well. Brightest Blessings 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Sindy. I love the symbolism and the art. I often see black swallow tails and ..shoot, I can’t remember the name of the black and white on I see. Some weird name like wiedermyers. I don’t see solid black ones that I can recall. I always love the message of death/rebirth/transformation. I will probably start seeing black butterflies now! Sychronicity and all. Although, as fall arrives, they will be gone. There is always next spring!! Thanks for sharing this Sindy. ❤

  3. Amy Campion says:

    I think the negativity becomes less striking when we consider the symbolism in less binary terms, and recognise that death is a part of the cycle of life, not the end point of a linear concept of life. To me, black often represents the unknown, and ultimately the Great Mystery – that which is intrinsically unknowable. While mysteries can be scary, it is our reaction, our human feelings, that render these negative or not. This is of course still incredibly relevant and part of the human condition. But I for one am all about breaking down these entrenched cultural perceptions that associate black with negative ideas. This belief system contributes not only to racism (does a person with darker skin feel they should be associated with the negative?), but also sexism (women being traditionally associated in Western culture with dark, night, passive etc) and even more fundamentally with our very core spirituality – as long as we see darkness as something that should be “abolished” by light, we deny a fundamental part of our souls, and of the very heart of nature. Black is also associated with the subconscious, our vast personal, cultural and human wisdom that we have yet to become consciously aware of. This is indeed a sacred thing.

    In the infamous words of Bob Theile,
    “I see skies of blue,
    And clouds of white.
    The bright blessed day,
    The dark sacred night.
    And I think to myself,
    What a wonderful world”

    Keep up the great work of expanding our perceptions my dear Butterfly friend!

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