THE BUTTERFLY AS A DREAM IMAGE
The butterfly is a symbol of spiritual growth and transformation, moving from one phase to another. The life cycle of a butterfly is perfect as a metaphor and an archetypal symbol of transformation or rebirth.
A similar belief endures in Guatamala, where flying insects are linked with the stars.
In Greek mythology, Psyche--the soul--is often represented as a butterfly.
A butterfly's beauty and grace make a perfect emblem of a woman in Japan, and two butterflies dancing together symbolize marital happiness.
In China, butterflies are associated with the pleasures of life and high spirits.
On the negative side, a butterfly may symbolize superficial mentality and ambition, or flitting from one thing to another, never satisfied.
In Christian art a chrysalis is a symbol of death.
In the Celtic tradition, butterflies at night symbolized death.
Both Australian Aboriginals and Central American, think of butterflies as the souls of the dead revisiting earth.
The Samoans believed that if they captured a butterfly they would be struck down dead.
The Aztecs associated the butterfly with women who had died in childbirth.
For the Mexicans, butterflies are the symbol of the "black sun" passing through the underworld during its nightly journey.
In Latin America the butterfly is used to describe a prostitute, flitting from one man to the next. The Spanish word for butterfly is mariposa.
Resource: O'Connell, M. and Airey, R. (2006). The Complete Encyclopedia of Signs and Symbols. Hermes House.