Butterfly tattoos

The butterfly has always been admired for their beauty as one of the most magnificent creations on Earth. A wide variety of butterfly tattoo designs are available at the professional tattoo parlor which can be altered according to your desire and need. The main reason is the human/butterfly connection that has existed for centuries and recanted in the mythologies of many ancient civilizations. It's a widely held belief that that butterflies are the physical symbols of the human soul and just as the night butterfly is attracted by flame, the human soul is attracted by heavenly truths. For many peoples the short life of the butterfly is symbolic of the different stages of life that a human being goes through. It also symbolizes the change to a heavenly body from an earthly one. There are more than twenty five thousand different types of butterflies in existence so there are plenty of designs to choose from - certainly enough of them to express your own individual style.


Butterfly tattoos meanings:

  • The everlasting life, stemming from it's various stages of life: Birth (the caterpillar), Death (the chrysalis), and finally, Resurrection (the butterfly)
  • Transformation, regeneration, change or flight - The metamorphosis of a butterfly from an egg, to a caterpillar, to pupa and then to a beautiful adult butterfly can be symbolic for someone that has had a drastic change in their lives. Having a tattoo of a butterfly symbolizes a new life, a new beginning after having gone through some rough times.
  • Spiritual Evolution - In stage one the caterpillar spends its time totally engrossed in eating, this stage is compared to our physical stage of life where, like the butterfly, we eat and keep moving. In stage two the cocoon represents the cloth people were wrapped in after death, and the final stage is the emergence of the butterfly, the butterfly represents the resurrection into a new state of life, free of any material worry.
  • Freedom - Since butterflies are aerial beings and love to fly, it can also be a sign of being free.
  • In some cultures it means good luck when a butterfly lands on you. An Irish blessing goes: "May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun, and find your shoulder to light on To bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond."
  • Marital bliss and harmony - In China it is believed that they will bring happiness to married couples
  • Joy and happiness - Asians keep many pictures and paintings of butterflies to have a happy home
  • Delicate beauty: a butterfly is small and very delicate, but also very colorful and full of beautiful details. On the other hand, it is not so delicate like most people think: contrary to the widespread belief, you can't kill a butterfly by touching its wings.
  • For some people a butterfly means peace
  • Beauty and grace - In Japan they are a popular symbol for young girls who are emerging into beautiful young women
  • A human soul - In Christianity a butterfly stands for the soul that has escaped the confines of the flesh while in Greece a human soul is born each time a butterfly emerges from its cocoon
  • Sleep and dreams
  • In some cultures the butterfly is the symbol of the female fertility and is thought to be the bringer of children

Butterfly tattoo design and colors

The butterfly is one of the most beautiful metaphors that can be symbolized as a tattoo on the human body. Many individuals like to have colorful butterflies applied to many differing parts of their body. The basic quality of a butterfly tattoo is that even if you place it at any part of the body it always appears to be delicate and attractive, which increases its popularity manifolds. These tattoos also vary in sizes depending upon the body part you want to get it tattooed, like an ankle butterfly tattoo is smaller while the back butterfly is bigger in size. Most of the professional tattoo Artists have the know-how on this one and you have to ask them the best body part on where to put your very own butterfly tattoo if you are not sure about its placement. Lower back butterfly tattoos are usually larger, more stylized butterfly images that stretch across the lower back, one of the most popular places to get a tattoo nowadays (but also known as a tramp stamp). Actually, butterfly tattoos lend themselves very well to this location. The butterfly image is very symmetrical, so the middle can easily be lined up with the spine, the wings extending on either side. This makes the butterfly wings longer and more stretched out than they would be in nature, but the image can be very attractive.


While getting a butterfly tattooed you can use a wide array of colors with no restrictions, as a butterfly is associated with colors and life. The individual can pick the color combination of their own choice as it will add to the uniqueness of your personality and creativity. One thing to be kept in mind is that you should not use clashing colors. Follow a definite line of choosing a base color first and then the other colors you want to incorporate. You can also take help of the professional tattoo artist to help in choosing colors which compliment each other. Some butterflies look better in black because it accentuates the area in which it is placed, especially if it's on the lower back or the stomach.


Different methods are involved to make the butterfly tattoo more intricate and beautiful. The main focus is laid on the designing of its wings with intricate patterns that makes each butterfly unique and special. The patterns are changed keeping in mind the personality of the individual and they may also include different signs, words, symbols, flowers, hearts, scripts, letters, crosses - or everything else.


How big should it be?

Butterfly tattoos are a good choice for a first tattoo because the design doesn't need to be big to be striking. A small butterfly tattoo (life sized or smaller) on an ankle or shoulder can be a pretty and graceful accent to your natural beauty. Big butterfly design Honestly, a big butterfly can look pretty ridiculous. Butterflies are usually small, delicate, and beautiful creatures and trying to blow them up into mega insects doesn't always work. However, there are some designs out there that can work well blown up big and beautiful, but in general you probably want to lean on the side of smaller is better for this design. Small butterfly design. There are some tiny butterfly tattoos out there that look more like mosquito's than beautiful butterflies. Going to small is definitely not doing the butterfly justice. This is a great tattoo to get and you should take advantage of the beautiful, colorful and intricate quality this design possesses. Going too small won't cut it. Conclusion: Lean towards a smaller sized butterfly as opposed to something big, but don't make it tiny! Play around with different small sizes and you should see the correct size "pop out" at you when the proportion is correct, and the detail is present.


Butterflies in mythology

  • The Ancient Greek word for "butterfly" is ψυχή (psȳchē), which primarily means "soul", "mind"
  • In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love.
  • The butterfly is called 'hu tieh' in Mandarin language. The word 'tieh' translates as seventy years, and because of this the animals are taken as a symbol of long life.
  • In feng shui applications, the use of butterflies is considered the same as the use of the birds symbol. Both butterflies and birds are flying free, and this speaks to the deep human longing for a free and joyful life close to sky/heaven. Since love is the most transformative feeling that makes people feel like flying, the butterfly is the most common symbol used as a feng shui cure for love and romance.
  • In southern Germany, some say the dead are reborn as children who fly about as butterflies, resulting in the belief that they bring children.
  • The Irish believe that butterflies are the souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory.
  • The Aztecs believed that "the happy dead" visited their relatives in the form of beautiful butterflies to assure the family that all was well. These butterflies flew around the house and around bouquets of flowers, which were carried by Aztec men of social rank. Also, in Aztec mythology Itzpapalotl ("Clawed Butterfly" or "Obsidian Butterfly") was a fearsome skeletal warrior goddess, who ruled over the paradise world of Tamoanchan, the paradise of victims of infant mortality and place identified where humans were created.
  • The Mayans looked upon butterflies as the spirits of dead warriors in disguise descending to earth.
  • A dying man in the Solomon Islands has a choice as to what he will become at death and often chooses a butterfly.
  • Soul of Witches. Butterflies symbolize witches and fairies, but they also symbolize the soul of witches. Both butterflies and witches have the ability to change their form; butterflies change in the course of their development, witches allegedly can change at will.
  • The Serbians look on the butterfly as the soul of a witch and believe if they can find her body and turn it around while she is asleep, the soul will not be able to find her mouth and reenter, and the witch will probably die.

Bad omens

In Scotland it is unlucky to keep or kill butterflies. In England it is unlucky to kill the first butterfly you see, and it is a bad omen to see 3 butterflies together. Ithe Middle Ages a large number of butterflies together were seen as a forecast of epidemics or wars (not a good idea for a tattoo). The Celtic people believed seeing a butterfly at night was a prediction of death to follow. In Bulgaria, the sight of a dark coloured butterfly meant sickness was soon to follow, while in other parts of Europe this same butterfly was an omen of thunderstorms to come. In some parts of the USA a white butterfly meant an omen of death if it entered your house and flew around you, while in other parts a white butterfly in your signified a pending wedding. To those recently divorced both examples apply.


Other meanings

The butterflies have a connection to the Holocaust. Concentration camps contained barracks designated for children and the walls of these barracks are covered with butterflies. Hundreds and hundreds of butterflies, all scratched into the walls with fingernails and pebbles. It turns out that the children, knowing they were going to die, decided to leave a message of hope. Although their bodies would not survive, their immortal souls would live on in the form of butterflies.


For more legends and myths about butterflies visit our blog (english version)