Tattoos are more than just pretty designs engraved in flesh. For many, a tattoo is a statement of identity or a symbol of something highly valued. The butterfly is one of the most popular tattoos in the world, both for its obvious physical beauty and for its longstanding symbolic meaning.
In both Native American and Celtic folklore, the butterfly represents nature and femininity. For the Chinese, the butterfly once served as a good omen at weddings. The Greek word for “butterfly” is “psyche,” which also means “soul,” and early Christianity also used the butterfly as a symbol for the human soul.
Hundreds of varieties of butterflies are known, and each has its own eye-catching design and color scheme. This variety and vibrancy has made the butterfly one of the best-known symbols of beauty in the world. The butterfly is also light and fragile, its wings symmetrical, lending the butterfly image perfectly to a representation of nature, the environment and the delicate balance of natural forces.
Many people are inspired by the transitive nature of the butterfly’s life cycle. From egg, to caterpillar, to adult insect, the butterfly constantly changes and evolves. Even as a caterpillar, it continuously sheds its skin in order to accommodate its own rapid growth. This process symbolizes the ever-present need for change and adaption in every aspect of human life, from relationships to personal growth.