Butterfly Symbolism: Everything You Need to Know

Butterfly Symbolism relates to where an encounter with a butterfly signifies deep religious or spiritual meaning. The symbolism meaning may be the same or vary between different cultures and regions.

In this post, we comprehensively cover butterfly symbolism across all kinds of encounters, cultures, colors and omens.

What do Butterflies Symbolize?

Butterflies are totem creatures which symbolize personal transformation. If you consider butterflies to be your spiritual animals then you must be keen on areas of personality or life that are need of profound transformation. When you are frequently seeing butterflies in your life you may need to ask yourself whether there are any changes that you may be in need of making to have a life that is in alignment with your inner truth. Just as butterflies undergo metamorphosis and transition from different stages, the stages symbolize your personal life transformation.

Butterflies Represent Transformation

Butterflies represent several emotions. They are a symbol of joy and lightness. If they do appear in your life as a totem or a spirit animal then it’s time to look at those conflicting issues in your life with a different perspective and more lightness. Additionally, if you have a connection with this power animal, it will bring bliss and joy to your life. Majority of butterflies do have bright colors which are usually associated with brightness and aliveness. The interpretation of this can be taken as a way to lighten and make your life more colorful.
Butterflies also represent rebirth and a new beginning. The rebirth may be in the form of new ideas, new behaviors or even changes in personal relationships. Butterflies are also seen as a symbol of the soul quite often in traditions across the world

Can Butterflies Symbolize Death?

Though the majority of butterflies symbolize joy and happiness or some vibrant messages, there are some butterflies allied with bad omen especially death. For example in Maryland, the presence of a white butterfly hovering inside your house is a symbol that death is coming. It is also believed when a moth comes into contact with a mother with a newborn child, the child dies after a short period

Butterfly Symbolism and Culture

Cultures are very diverse. What one community believes about a particular subject might be very different when compared to other communities. Butterflies represent different symbols in different cultures mainly depending on the location

What Does the Butterfly Symbolize in Chinese Culture?

Butterflies symbolism is very diverse and varies from one culture to another. In Chinese symbolism for examples, butterflies are seen as symbols of immortality. They have been a popular symbol in China for centuries hence they are taken as a symbol of long life. In Chinese culture, butterflies also represent young and undying love between lovers.

What Does the Butterfly Symbolize in Bengali Culture?

Butterfly play a key role in Bengali culture specifically their wedding. It is believed in Bengali weddings that butterflies make young men and women get more excited. Butterflies symbolize marriage in their culture and are present in nearly all the stages of Bengali weddings. Right from the invitation cards to gifts you will find butterflies decoration. The wedding venues are also decorated with butterflies in Bengali cultural weddings

 

What Does the Butterfly Symbolize to Native Americans?

It is very difficult to talk about Native American rituals and mythology without mentioning butterflies. They are thought as spiritual creatures who bring dreams in our lives. Due to this babies will be sung lullabies with butterflies depicted so as to invoke sweet dreams.

Butterfly also represent a rite of passage for young women in Hopi tradition. There is usually a butterfly dance and when a butterfly appears during the dance, the passage is deemed successful and the young women can now assume the roles of women and learn some traditional songs

To the Navaho community, a butterfly is an emblem of rebirth and happiness.

Colors

Different butterfly colors have various symbolic meanings in different cultures and different parts of the world

What Does a Black and White Butterfly Symbolize?

A black and white butterfly is said to have spiritual symbolism. In this state of metamorphosis, it signifies personal life transformation. This is usually when there are a lot of changes needed in your life. Black and white butterfly also signify general body health and fitness

 

What Does a Black Butterfly Symbolize?

Black butterflies are the least common butterflies in comparison with butterflies of the other colors. They have an impression that all is not going to be fine and that something bad might happen.

It is believed by many people that when a black butterfly is seen as the first butterfly of the season, the season will be characterized by thunderstorms and heavy rainfalls

Black is color of misfortune and death omen as such black butterflies are considered to signify imminent death or misfortune. Many people in many cultures don’t like to come across them due to this symbolism. However, the ‘death’ can have several interpretations based on what the specific person believes and may not be necessarily the physical death. Some people will interpret the death to mean an end of a project or an idea, end of a job or even a relationship

It is said that once in a while there is darkness before the dawn. This way, black butterflies are seen as symbols of renewal, rebirth or transition. Encountering a black butterfly may imply that you are about to become renewed in one way or the other

Black butterflies in some cultures are associated with witches. Odd legends have it that witches transform into black butterflies and fly around homes in such of food to steal

Celtic and Irish legends suppose that black butterflies are souls of dead people who are unwilling or have been unable to join the afterlife; instead, they come back to visit their favorite places where they lived while still alive

Finally, black butterflies are taken to symbolize that change in power is about to occur

What Does a Blue Butterfly Symbolize?

Blue butterflies are usually associated with the blue feeling by many people. This is the feeling of feeling low, depressed, or sad. The blue butterfly is in some cultures considered to be a vindictive spirit or malicious. However, there are some who consider it as a sign of life

Most cultures consider blue butterflies as symbols of honor, great energy, and general acceptance. Sighting one gives you confidence that what you are doing is going to bode well for the people and you will face no resistance

Blue butterflies are extremely rare in many parts of this world. They are thus taken to symbolize good luck to those who come across them. Some people even see them as wish-granters. It very common to see someone making wishes after spotting a blue butterfly

A blue butterfly also brings a calming and relaxing effect on a person who sights it. It often symbolizes happiness and joy

What Does a Red Butterfly Symbolize?

Red butterflies symbolize different thing depending on culture and region. Certain Inherent American tribes see the red butterflies as a sign of powerful spirit or soul. Also, red butterflies are seen as foreshadowers of important news. In some regions, red butterflies are symbols of intense passion and romance. In Scotland, it was at certain point in time believe that a red butterfly was a witch in disguise. As such the red butterflies were symbols of evil and represented danger. In Korean superstition, touching a red butterfly and then touching your eyes has a detrimental effect on your vision. It can even cause blindness

To some people, red butterflies are a symbol of anger. Seeing a red butterfly should bring caution and make you pay extra attention as they are signs of something is about to come. In most o times what is about to happen is usually something which is not very desirable

 

What Does an Orange Butterfly Symbolize?

Just like butterflies of other colors, an orange butterfly possesses various symbolic meanings. Firstly, an orange butterfly is a symbol of passion and aggressiveness. The passion is not definite and can be either positive or negative. A sight of an orange butterfly is a reminder to us to maintain focus and not deviate from our set objectives and plans and carry them to completion

The orange butterflies are also associated with life, sun, and consciousness. Coming across one is a sign of heart transformation and healing which is about to happen to a person who has been anxious or rather depressed. An orange butterfly is the best spiritual animal to come across when you are experiencing anxiety in your life

Orange butterflies also encourage us to cheerful, outgoing and or sociable. When you see one it is an indication that you are likely going to have visitors soon at your place. On the other hand, it may mean you will be the visitor and get invited to a social event. This happens mostly if you see the butterfly flying around your compound or inside your house

Lastly, many people consider an orange butterfly to represent rebirth. The rebirth is in the form of coming up with new ideas about a particular object or task. This leads to shifting in how you perceive something

Events

When butterflies appear at different events in day to day activities, they normally carry with them different symbols as highlighted below

What Does it Mean when you see a butterfly at a funeral?

A butterfly at a funeral is a symbol that carries several meanings. First, it is taken to be the soul of the deceased who has come back to say goodbye to their loved ones for the very last time. This happens especially when the dead person was very close to his family. The family members feel consoled and reassured after seeing the butterfly as they confirm that their dearly departed is contented in the afterlife

On the contrary, a butterfly at a funeral may the soul of the deceased who has come to haunt those who they were in bad terms before their death. It may mean also the dead person has been unable or is unwilling to join the afterlife

What does it mean if you see a butterfly at night?

It is very uncommon to see butterflies at night as unlike moths they fly during the day. This implies that seeing a butterfly at night is very symbolic. It symbolizes the coming of dark moments such death

What does it mean when a butterfly follows you?

Butterflies are creatures associated with luck. If you notice a butterfly following you is a sign warning that something good is going to happen to your life. This is should be a wake-up call to you as you might be ignoring something that might be advantageous to your life. The butterfly is us in way urging you to take the opportunity before it is too late.

We’ve also written a comprehensive guide on what it means when a butterfly lands on you if you’d like to learn more.

What does it mean when you dream of butterflies?

Dreams are the way our subconscious minds communicate to us using symbolic language. The typical interpretation of dreaming about butterflies is imminent transformation. To fully understand the implied transformation it is important to note the stage of the life of the butterfly in your dream. Butterflies have three life stages namely: caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly itself. Each stage will represent a unique form of transformation in your life. In close association is the transformation the rebirth and energy transmutation which can also be an implication of dreaming about butterflies.

Butterflies in dreams can also be a symbol of full self-expression and freedom. This is a sign of about to get break free from your personal captivity such as a feeling of fear, anxiety and being able to express yourself in public

We’d love to know about your experiences. Please comment below with your encounters with butterflies to help understand what they meant and how they will affect us moving forward.

Moth Tattoos and their Meaning

A quick search on the internet and it becomes very apparent how prevalent moth tattoos have become. And although the reason behind the tattoo will vary between the individual there are some undoubtedly common themes throughout.

Moth tattoos can represent a number of themes, including new life, faith and sensitivity. We’ll look at these themes in depth to determine what compels thousands of individuals to get moth body art.

Transformation

If you ask any tattoo artist they’ll all too readily tell you that butterfly tattoos are common. Almost a little too common. And while the butterfly and moth both represent very common themes there are some clear distinctions that fuel the reasoning for a moth tattoo.

One of the main considerations here is the imperfections moths represent. Butterflies are always seen to be such a perfect creature with an optimistic meaning attached to it. The darker connotations associated with moths means that they are commonly used to represent that change is necessary with life, but not always perfect.

Ceasing the day

We only live one life, we need to make the most of it. As we’ve mentioned when observing luna moth symbolism these insects emphasise the finite nature of life. Moths (particularly the luna moth) have a short lifespan and live their lives purely to reproduce. In the case of the luna moth, they don’t even eat!

Having a moth tattoo serves as timely reminder that we need to make the most of our short time on this earth!

Moth tattoos could represent faith

Tattoos of a moth often have a religious meaning. Moths live their life constantly pursuing the light of the moon, of which they are eternally attracted to. As a result of this, they have always been seen as somewhat of a spiritual symbol.

Just as the moth unquestionably seeks the light a moth tattoo serves as a reminder that we should also keep loayl to our faith, even in the darker times. There’s always light at another point of our journey.

Moth Symbols in Hinduism

Moths are well discussed and highlighted throughout a range of Hindi texts across time. Although these are open to interpretation, we’re aiming to devise a clear connection between these fascinating insects and the spiritual world.

Fire in Hinduism

Before we can understand Hindu moth symbolism we must understand the meaning of fire. Fire is one of the most sacred elements of Hinduism, and is mentioned throughout Hindu texts as a power of both nurture and destruction.

In the Rigdev, there are many mentions of the fire god Agni. Agni is a god of high importance, well renowned for his eternal wisdom and his role in connecting mortals to gods. When darkness is overthrown by the light of fire, Agni is born.

Agni’s destruction is feared, and he is cited multiple times in the Rigdev as eating corpses with his flames. This impure form of Agni, known as Kravyad, instills fesr into all of humanity.

Moths and Hinduism

We’ve referenced throughout previous guides the attraction that moths have to light, and the symbolism this evokes. The blind faith that fills moths with purpose all too often leads to their demise.

Given the symbolism and importance of fire in Hinduism,  a moth could be interpreted as a medium between the natural and physical worlds. As the moth charges towards the light it is ferociously engulfed, bringing it back into the natural world. Given the common interpretation of moths as souls of the deceased, it seems possible that this could be the case.

What Does it Mean When a Ladybug Lands on You?

When a ladybug lands on you, be sure to celebrate the good times and embrace the good fortune coming your way. Ladybugs fill us with infectious joy, and it is only in our best interest to share this joy with the special people in your life.

 

A Ladybug Landing On You Brings Good Luck!

Ladybugs are popular creatures within almost every culture, but particularly through Europe. In fact, the Turkish name for a ladybug actually translates to ‘good luck bug’. In Croatia the ladybug is the official logo of the lottery!

 

The actual explanation for why ladybugs are considered lucky is unknown, however many believe this relates to a few factors. One is that the ladybug, unlike many insects such as mosquitoes and fleas, is harmless to humans. The other has more religious origins, with Christians throughout history praying to the Virgin Mary after having a ladybug land on them. They would ask Mary to protect their crops and land, and saw a ladybug as the vehicle in which she would answer.
It’s a little known fact that the ladybug would actually help the farmers by devouring thousands of aphids a day.

 

Feng Shui

Ladybugs, like butterflies, are a popular symbol in Feng Shui. This however seems to be a western creation, with the ladybug not native to China. Feng Shui traditionalists believe this has happened as a byproduct of the concept gaining traction in North America, where the ladybug has long been a symbol of fortune.

 

Although it has become popular to include a ladybug symbol as part of your interior decorations, remember to use it sparingly! Too much clutter will damage the chi energy of your home.

 

Ladybugs and Love

The striking red polkadot pattern of the ladybug makes it symbolic of love. Asian literature throughout the years has noted that a ladybug encounter spreads the message of love. When a ladybug lands on you, it will fly to your true love and whipser in their ear. A blossoming romance may be close by!

 

Have you had a recent encounter with an insect? We’ve got guides covering every symbolic meaning from moths to ladybugs!

 

What Does it Mean When a Butterfly Lands on You?

When a butterfly lands on you – think of your inner spirit! From the Aztecs to the Celts, the butterfly has always been a representation of our spiritual side. The Greeks went a step further than this, and actually use the same word (psyche) for both the butterfly and the soul.

With such a connection to spirituality, is every interpretation of a butterfly landing on you positive? We’ve created this guide to explore the symbolism behind this special moment.

Dreams

Native Americans believe that butterflies bring dreams, and that having one land on you will bring dreams to your sleep. They believed a butterfly to be a way of greater powers communicating with us.

This is commonly seen among Blackfoot Indians of Northwest America. The Blackfoot Indians would use a butterfly in paintings to notify travellers that the messages of their paintings were inspired by the Great Spirit. This symbol meant the painter’s body was encompassed by the spirit, and meant it held profound significance.

Transformation

Transformation is prominent throughout the life of a butterfly. We can see it undertake a metamorphosis to become a beautiful, free spirited member of Earth. Could a butterfly landing on you symbolize imminent change?

We should always be wary that what doesn’t change becomes lethargic and still. As we see with the butterfly, change could result in significant joy, despite initial hardships.

Joy

Personally speaking, I always feel a sense of joy whenever a butterfly lands on or near me. It fills me a warmth of connecting with a creature that is gifted such a short life on this earth.

Many cultures also believe that a butterfly encounter brings joy, and have always treated it as a beautiful omen. It does not have the strong purposes we see in other insects such as the moth or bee, rather flutters around enjoying everything life has to offer. Don’t treat a butterfly with apprehension, embrace its presence and you will find its joy is contagious!

Your Soul

The Aztecs believed that the last breath of a dying human took the form of a butterfly. They weren’t alone here, with similar sentiments seen in Chinese, Celtic and Greek culture just to name a few.

Most cultures believe the butterfly, like the moth, represents the soul of a deceased loved one. When a butterfly lands on you it’s worth considering the context – who could be trying to communicate with you from the spiritual world? Are they trying to protect you from something?

You can read more on lepidoptera and the soul in our post on symbolic meanings.

Still trying to work out what it means to have a butterfly land on you? Comment below and we’ll see what we can do!

 

Why are Moths Attracted to Light?

You’ve seen them charging at your fluorescent lights, at your lamps, even at open flames! A moth’s attraction to light is profound – so what causes this?

We did some research into this throughout the week, and we’ll use this week’s post to discuss moth meanings based on their attraction to light, while also exploring more scientific explanations.

What Makes Moths Attracted to Light?

We’re probably all familiar to the old saying ‘like a moth to the flame’ – where one with blindly follow someone without concerns of the consequences. While we are usually able to diagnose these issues within humans, moths are a different kind of beast. Although there are a plethora of theories attempting to explain why moths blindly charge towards light, we haven’t quite had anything conclusive.

One of the most common theories is that unnatural sources of light throw out a moth’s internal navigational system. The theory is supported by what is believed to be a moth’s transverse orientation. This relates to some species of insects flying in a constant angle relevant to natural light sources, namely the sun and moon.

Many entomologists believe that an artificial light throws out of a moth’s navigational system. The second light source, which is also closer, distracts the moth and gets it caught in a continual charge towards the light. Makes sense right?

But what about natural selection? Fires have been around for over 400 thousand years. Shouldn’t the moth have evolved to a level where it can determine different light sources?

Further to this, there have been studies (most notably by PS Callahan) into moths being sexually attracted to flames. Sounds bizarre, but Callahan theorised that the candle flame acted as a sexual mimic of the infrared wavelengths from the sex scent of a moth.

Moths, Light and Symbolic Meanings

The moth’s persistence to head towards the light has several symbolic meanings. Many believe the light to be metaphorical for the right way, and associate a moth’s travels into the light as a reminder for us to do things for the greater good. This also ties back to quiet achievement, as moths focus on a singular purpose that is achieved in absence of the need for violence and hardships.

Through the light, a moth also reminds us of how the reliance on material goods is petty. All we need in our lives is purpose, an inner light that can guide us through any situation.

Many cultures also tie back moth’s attraction to light back to intuition. With a constant purpose towards the light, you can rely on a moth to bring you security and comfort in knowing the right way.

Moths and The God Delusion

Evolutionary Biologist Richard Dawkins uses moths to exemplify his issues with organised religions. In his book ‘The God Delusion’, Dawkins mentions that moth’s celestial navigation causes issues for the species when artificial light is concerned, meaning many species of moth have fried in flames.

Dawkins likens this to what he considers a need for humans to head towards psychological evolution. He believes religion to have been a by-product of the human race’s evoluritionary process.

It’s rather ironic consider how often moths are associated with faith!

Bogong Moth Symbolism

The Bogong Moth is native of Australia, serving an important purpose in Aboriginal culture. A small moth with dull brown wing patterns, it was a major source of food – particularly in colder areas such as the Snowy Mountains.

We’ll use this week’s post to review the symbolism of the bogong moth, tying this back both to Aboriginal culture and common symbolic meanings.

Origins

The name ‘bogong’ comes from the now-extinct language of Dhudhuora. In this Aboriginal language, ‘bogong’ translates to ‘bigfella’. Given the modest wingspan of the species (5 centimeters) this has always been a little confusing!

In Victoria, Mount Bogong has been named after the bogong moth, as have a series of peaks in the Kosciusko National Park.

Use in Aboriginal Culture

Bogong moths were considered a viable food source by the Aboriginals, particularly to those of New South Wales’ Southern Highlands where they were in abundance.

The bogong moths were usually caught in groups, due to their tendency to rest upon each other.

Aboriginals cook the moth and mash it into a paste, known commonly as ‘moth meat’. It is believed to have a wholesome, nutty taste, rich in protein and fat.

Stories of the Bogong Moth

A common story in Aboriginal culture tells of it once being covered in a range of vibrant colors, similar to that of a rainbow. However during heavy snowfall it was consumed by snow, and when it managed to escape it had left behind all of its colors. As the snow melted, these vibrant colors turned into spring flowers.

Bogong Moths Symbolize Intuition

The bogong moths have extremely enhanced senses, particularly their hearing. This enhanced, ultra-sonic hearing ensures that they can avoid predators such as the bat, because they are always aware of their presence.

This is believed to symbolize our own intuition. It is important with us to make decisions we believe are right and remove any external pressures.

If you encounter a bogong moth, think about upcoming decisions. They serve as a reminder to always go with your gut!

Atlas Moth Symbolism

The Atlas moth is one of the most impressive specimens of the Lepidoptera order. They are brightly colored with an incredibly wide wingspan and striking wing patterns.

All species of moths have significant symbolic meanings, and the Atlas moth is no exception to this. We’ll review what encounters with this interesting moth entail, its origins and their cultural significance.

atlas moth symbolism
Image source: Wildcat Dunny (Flickr)

What’s in a Name?

The name origins of the Atlas moth are often disputed. One line of thought from sources such as Natura is that their name id derived from their wing patterns, which could be seen as to resemble a map.

Other sources believe that the name originates from the giant Greek God Atlas. Atlas was the ancient Greek God of endurance, who was condemned to hold up the earth for all eternity.

Wingspan and Patterns

Contrary to popular belief, the Atlas moth is not the worlds largest moth in terms of wingspan. This title is claimed by White Witch moth, whos wingspan has been measured at 11 inches (compared to the Atlas moth’s 10 inches).

This impressive wingspan still evokes symbolism. The Chinese believed the Atlas Moths wings resembled that of a snakes head, due to its bright colors and contrasts of orange and black. In Cantonese the name translates as ‘Snake’s Head Moth’ – further reinforcing this.

Snakes hold quite a strong symbolic meaning across cultures. They are typically symbolic of rebirth and immortality due to their ability the shed skin and heal. Snakes are also often represented within Asian temples such as Cambodia’s Angkor, where the snake was seen as a spiritual guardian.

Colors

It is worth noting the symbolic signifcance of the atlas moth’s strikingly colorful wingspan.

The dominant color of the atlas moth is orange, which holds many positive connotations. Orange is seen by the human eye as a warming color, giving a pleasant sensation that’s not as aggressive at the color red. As a result of this, we generally associate the color orange wit joyous elements, such as those of sunshine, warmth and the tropics.

In Chinese culture the color orange is used to portray spontaneity, something the Atlas moth has in abundance!

The Atlas Moth and Mothra

We’d all be familiar with the Godzilla franchise created by Toho. But are we as familiar with Toho’s other creations, such as Godzilla’s arch-enemy Mothra?

Mothra is a giant but peaceful moth, who only fights to bring peace and harmony to earth. With abilities such as spitting silk and lightning charges from her wings, Mothra has been Toho’s most popular creation (outside of Godzilla of course).

Interestingly enough, the creation of Mothra is believed to be inspired from giant moth species, most notably the Atlas moth. This was however a rather loose interpretation, given Mothra also had blue eyes, a larger head and talons.


Need more information? We have guides on all things moth symbolism

Symbolic Meanings of the Death’s-Head Hawk Moth

Just by looking at a death’s-head hawk moth, you know that they mean trouble. With a distinguishable skull pattern across their wings and the ability to squeak loudly if disturbed, this species of moth is often associated with the most sinister of connotations.

A species native to Europe, the death’s-head hawk moth has found itself in many works of note. From German artworks to the works Edgar Allen Poe, the species has always found itself close to the supernatural. And who could forget its ominous presence in the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’!

How does the death’s-head hawk moth compare to other moth symbols in our guide, and where did it originate from?

 

deaths head hawk moth symbol

 

Greek Origins

There are three main species of death’s-head hawk moths. They are the Styx, Atropis and Lachesis. All three terms are derived from Greek mythology and their meanings are profound.

Atropos

The Acherontia Atropos is a large species of moths, with a wingspan often reaching lengths of 5 inches. They are identified by their brown and yellow wing patterns, and are often found raiding bee’s hives at night in the search for honey.

The species name was derived from the goddess Atropos, who was one of the three goddesses responsible for fate and destiny. The ancient Greeks believed that Atropos created the mechanism of death upon mortals.

This ties back seamlessly with previously explored moth symbols of death upon one’s self and loved ones.

Lachesis

Native of South Asia, the Acherontia Lachesis has unique patterns across its wingspan, not nearly as dense as those of the Apropos moth. They cover almost all areas of Asia, including recently becoming established across parts of the Hawaiian Islands.

In Greek mythology Lachesis was the sister of Atropos, who with Clotho formed the Moirai (the incarnations of destiny). Lachesis determined the life of a mortal, and had control of their destiny.

Styx

No, we’re not talking about the rock band here!

The acherontia Styx is also common through Asia, and are known to be quite the pest in South Korea due to their ability to pierce and damage the yuzu fruit (which is similar to a mandarin). Their hind wings have a distinctive skull-like pattern with the foreign being striped – similar to that of a tiger moth.

 

Styx has a significant place in Greek Mythology. The River Styx formed the boundary between the Earth and the Underworld. It was an essential feature of the afterword (similar to the Christian version of hell), and by name association this links the species to the common moth symbol of the afterlife. This moth symbolism is common amongst many religions, as we can see in our guide to the spiritual meaning of moths.

Cultural References

The death’s-head hawk moth holds negative connotations among the superstitious. This can be traced back to the 1600s, where the Brits believed the first instance of the moth was noted at the death of King Charles I.

 

Although it’s been used in art and various works of fiction it’s undoubtedly most recognised from the fictional horror film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. They used the moths to play into the macabre elements of the film – knowing that the patterns of the moth resemble the dead. There are also similarities between a moth’s metamorphosis and that which key villain Jame Gumb was attempting to do. He was wanting to transition from something ugly and insignificant into something he perceived to be more beautiful. This emulates that of the moth, whose transformation from a caterpillar to something more beautiful is a common symbol as we’ve seen in previous guides.

 

 

Interestingly however, the moths actually used in production were not deaths head hawk moths! They were tobacco horn worm moths, painted by the film’s prop artists by gluing fake manicure nails onto their wings.

 

Have you had an encounter with a death’s head hawk moth? Comment below to let us know what you thought it meant!

 

Moths in Chinese Culture

Eastern cultures generally have a very different way of viewing the world than we do in the western world. Consider eastern music for example. While we are used to using semitones as intervals eastern scales typically break these into quarter tones to produce a completely different sound.

While in America our first instinct may be to kill moths we encounter, the insect has an important connection to humans with Chinese culture. We’ll review how moth symbolism within Chinese cultures is unique, its origins and the learnings we can take from it.

The Qingming Festival

Held in April, the Qingming Festival (known in English as the ‘Tomb-Sweeping Day’) is a day for remembering ancestors. Qingming is a public holiday throughout China where relatives pay tribute to lost relatives through song and dance, dedicated family events and even offering tributes (wine, chopsticks, etc) at their tombstones.

Qingming was established in the 8th century and has been a public holiday in China since 2008. It’s also practiced in Taiwan and parts of Singapore.

Qingming and Moths

The Chinese have long found an abundance of moths to be synonymous with Qingming, and the signficance is profound. The Chinese believe that moths represent souls of loved ones we have lost. Reports are also often heard of moths landing on photos of deceased relatives.

The killing of a moth is generally frowned upon in China, but it is a considerable taboo during Qingming for this reason.

So, you might ask, where does this spiritual connection with moths originate?

Taoist Origins

One of China’s most prominent religions is Taoism. Taoism focuses on being one with nature, with natural law being the key to one’s salvation.

Taoism places significant importance on paying respect to deceased elders, mainly due to their belief that they continue to look over us. Although ancestral worship is not an entirely unique practice within any religion it is particularly emphasised in Taoism and Confucianism.

As the connection with nature is so imperative, the possibility for a loved one’s soul to take the form of a moth is a relatively common belief. This emobiment is rooted deep within Taoist beliefs, and goes a long way to explaining common encounters with moths at funerals or shortly after one’s passing.

Do you have anything to add on Chinese moth significance? Comment below to let us know!