“Love is like a butterfly,it goes where it pleases and it pleases wherever it goes”
“Love is like a butterfly, hold it too tight, it’ll crush, hold it too loose, it’ll fly.”
Recently I designed this new piece of jewellery for my silver fingerprint range. I based it on the butterfly. Little did I know that butterflies had quite so many symbolic meanings! It had occurred to me that everyone likes butterflies (except my husband who will not go into a butterfly house) – what person can fail to smile as a butterfly flutters by in it’s ephemeral, here today, gone tomorrow existence. I have a wonderful memory of seeing my daughters face watching as a butterfly emerged from it’s chrysalis – like magic.
People have often remarked to me how butterflies have always turned up at significant moments in their lives and looking through the many associations with butterflies it doesn’t surprise me at all.
Butterflies have different associations in different cultures. In China they are a symbol of long life while in Japan they are associated with marital bliss. They are often considered to be a sign of good luck.
Butterflies are a great symbol of change – how many of you remember the fantastic ending of the Very Hungry Caterpillar? The butterfly’s life cycle consists of four stages: the egg, the caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly. These have been compared with the life cycle of a human – in the womb, in life, in death and finally eternal rebirth. Butterflies are a symbol of the soul and resurrection in many cultures including Christianity.
Many cultures have associated butterflies with the souls of the departed. The Ancient Greeks called the butterfly, ‘Psyche’ which means soul and an Irish tradition holds that butterflies are the souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory. In Mexico, the migratory return of the monarch butterfly each year around the time of the Day of the Dead is seen as the souls of the departed returning.
Butterflies also symbolise change and transition, both inevitable and unexpected as we move through life.
When I designed my butterfly piece, I never imagined that it could be so symbolic. It certainly set me thinking about all the times a butterfly has appeared in my life. I wonder now what that butterfly was doing at my wedding! Indeed many people now choose to release a host of butterflies as a symbol at their wedding.
Whether you choose to think of butterflies as a symbol of the changes in life from child into adult, or as the souls of our dear departed, or just a wonderful sign of the beauty and variety of creation you can be sure you’re not alone!
An Indian Butterfly Legend
If anyone desires a wish to come true they must
capture a butterfly and whisper that wish to it.
Since they make no sound, they can’t tell the wish
to anyone but the Great Spirit.
So by making the wish and releasing the butterfly
it will be taken to the heavens and be granted.