Butterfly Symbolism and
Meaning in Tarot
The butterfly, throughout ages and cultures is an inspirational metaphor for complete metamorphosis. Because of its impressively intricate phases of change as it transforms itself from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis and finally to breathtakingly beautiful butterfly.
It's a long process to reach that kind of striking beauty, and that tells a story about the evolution of the soul. In sometimes strained and unquestionably odd phases, the human soul makes its progress in much the same way as the butterfly. Just as the butterfly looks almost nothing like it does when it was a caterpillar, the landscape of the human soul also goes through the same kind of graduation in evolution.
Butterfly symbolism in Tarot is the same as it is in natural symbolism. Here are some symbolic suggestions that pertain to the butterfly:
The butterfly also talks to us about impermanence and the consistently forward momentum of life. All things grow, evolve and change. It's this inevitable cycle of life the butterfly perfectly symbolizes.
When we think of the butterfly and the Tarot, our first inclination might be to associate them with the suit of cups which represents dreamy, loving aspects of the soul and psyche. However, we find butterflies fluttering in the sword cards (in the standard Rider-Waite version).
There's explanation for this. As I discuss in the suit of swords, the element of air is symbolic of thoughts and thinking. As the butterfly is a creature of the air, their marriage with the suit of swords is a natural link.
When the butterflies fly into your awareness when reading the cards, it will have a message of metamorphosing thoughts. In this perspective, butterfly symbolism points to changing thoughts. Or butterflies my illustrate a great change in thought wrought from a period of inner reflection and contemplation
Butterfly in our Tarot readings will whisper messages like:
Here are the Rider-Waite butterflies in the deck.
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