The butterfly is a universal symbol of transformation, rebirth, and new beginnings. It can also symbolize the soul and can be a comforting spiritual symbol for connecting with loved ones who have passed. I have had more than one person tell me that this print has helped bring a sense of peace that their loved one is safe, at peace, and still with them in spirit.
The Tiger Swallowtail has two color morphs, black and yellow. This yellow butterfly is a female, which can be told by the little blue moon-shaped spots on her wings. Against the loose and free watercolor spiral in the background, she is a cheery reminder that in our hearts and thoughts, we are always free.
The spiral in this painting is a universal symbol for growth and expansion. And the color yellow invokes the emotion of joy.
Butterfly symbolic meanings:
Inspiration, intuition, higher consciousness, transformation, resurrection, flashes of insight, power of beauty, strength in vulnerability.
Specific butterfly species may carry additional meanings. Here are my thoughts on the Tiger Swallowtail in particular:
Tiger Swallowtail Totem: Integrating One’s Power
Did you know that the Tiger Swallowtail has two color morphs, black and yellow? I didn’t know until recently that all males are yellow – only the females sometimes appear in black form. Also, only the females (of both color morphs) sport the beautiful silvery blue crescents on the bottom edge of their back wings.
It speaks to me of the special connection women have with the moon. And whether you’re a man or a woman, the ability to balance and honor both the solar (masculine, proactive) and lunar (feminine, intuitive) aspects of your inner being.
Yellow. The color of the sun. Warmth, light, vitality, action! Yellow is also the color most associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the power center of the body.
Black. The color of night. Rest, dreams, that which is hidden. This is the realm of intuition, and regeneration.
With its vivid black and yellow stripes and dots, the Tiger Swallowtail speaks to us of integrating these two aspects of our selves. Black on yellow, yellow on black, rhythmically interspersed with each other.
This is the rhythm of the universe. Day, night. Inbreath, outbreath. Wake and sleep.
Traditional cultures honor this rhythm. They set aside time to rest, time to pray, time to heal.
Our society tends to put a premium on action, at the expense of rest. It’s a 24/7 world now, and many of us push ourselves ruthlessly to keep up.
Do you find yourself running on caffiene-laced fumes? Routinely pushing through to find your second wind?
It’s good to test our limits once in a while, but we weren’t made to do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We think it’s a sign of strength. But sooner or later people who do this hit the wall. Burnout. Adrenal exhaustion.
Tiger Swallowtail reminds us to honor our natural rhythms.
Feeling blue, or in a black mood, is often just our body telling us to take it easy for a bit. If you find yourself feeling tired, cranky or sad, give yourself permission to let down for a while. Schedule “down time” into your calendar. Take an hour or a day or a week off if you need it.
No offense to men, but I think women have to be especially aware of our body’s need for rest at certain times. By honoring it, we honor ourselves.Yes, it means acknowledging that we are vulnerable.
But when we embrace that vulnerable side of ourselves, love it, and give it what it needs…
Wow! That’s allowing ourselves to tap deeply into our power to revitalize our lives…so we can take wing as the beautiful souls we truly are.