Butterfly

Litha season of the Butterfly

Butterfly

Symbolizing time, growth, expansion and transition, butterflies are one of the animal symbols of Litha,  Summer Solstice.  Butterflies represent, grace, elegance and lightness.   Celebration, vulnerability, expression, and resurrection are other butterfly meanings.

The butterfly is one of nature’s most perfect examples of change, transformation, and growth. Because of this, it has long been the subject of magical folklore and legend in a variety of societies and cultures. Irish folklore holds that the butterfly is related to the very soul of a human being. It’s considered bad luck to kill a white butterfly, because those hold the souls of deceased children. The butterfly is also associated with the fire of the Gods, the dealan-dhe.   It’s important to keep an eye on butterflies, because in Ireland, they’re known for the ability to pass easily between this world and the next.

Butterfly

The ancient Greeks and Romans also held butterflies in metaphysical regard. The philosopher Aristotle named the butterfly Psyche, which is the Greek word that means “soul.” In ancient Rome, butterflies appeared on denarii coins, to the left of the head of Juno.  Native American tribes had a number of legends concerning the butterfly. The Tohono O’odham tribe of the American Southwest believed that the butterfly would carry wishes and prayers to the Great Spirit. To do this, one must first catch a butterfly without harming it, and then whisper secrets to the butterfly. Because a butterfly cannot speak, the only one who will know the prayers that the butterfly carries will be the Great Spirit himself. According to folklore, a wish given to a butterfly is always granted, in exchange for setting the butterfly free.  The Zuni people saw butterflies as indicators of future weather.  White butterflies meant the summer weather was about to begin – but if the first butterfly seen was dark, that meant a long stormy summer. Yellow butterflies, as you might suspect, hinted at a bright sunny summer season.

Butterfly

The Luna moth, which is often mistaken for a butterfly but technically is not one – represents not only spiritual growth and transformation, but also wisdom and intuition. This may be because of its association with the moon and lunar phases.  In the Appalachian mountains of the United States, it is believed that if you are able to count the spots on a fritillary’s wings, that tells you how much money is coming your way. In the Ozarks, the mourning cloak butterfly is seen as a harbinger of spring weather, because unlike most other species of butterfly, the mourning cloak winters over as a larvae and then makes its appearance once the weather gets warm in the spring.