by Jackie Ravenscroft
A quarter of adults in America consider themselves to be superstitious, often looking out for signs, portents, and symbols to make predictions about what is to come. Many superstitions have no scientific grounding and are based on folk tales and stories that have been passed along generations.
Some superstitions do, however, have some basis in fact, particularly when it comes to superstitions about the weather. For instance, it is said that if the first butterfly you see in the year is yellow, then the weather will be sunny. This may well indeed indicate that spring is on the way. Butterflies have inspired many superstitions, and many of them truly lift the spirits.
Butterflies and Spirits
In ancient Greece, the word they used for “butterfly” was the same as the word for “psyche,” meaning the soul – they believed butterflies to be the souls of departed family members. The Irish also believed that butterflies were the souls of the dead. A brown-colored butterfly in particular is thought to be the spirit of a loved one visiting. If a butterfly flutters around while you are in a graveyard, it could be the soul of the deceased that is now free to fly and soar.
Different colored butterflies have different meanings too – a blue butterfly symbolizes acceptance and a transformation from the physical presence to the spiritual self. A black butterfly is associated with the message of rebirth. In nature though, the color of butterflies can often be a warning to predators that they are extremely poisonous.
Butterflies in the Home
Having a butterfly come into your home has a different meaning depending on where you’re from. In Chinese culture, a butterfly visiting is considered to be a good omen – a dark-colored butterfly symbolizes luck in business and a bright-colored butterfly means luck in romance. In the state of Maryland, a butterfly in your home is an omen of death, but in Louisiana, it means that fortune is going to come to the homeowner.
There is often a scientific reason, however, that butterflies come into the home – they are getting ready for hibernation. Recording sightings of butterflies is a wonderful way of helping children learn about the world around them. Getting involved in science boosts creativity and sparks the imagination of curious minds. Investigation and examination-based tasks are valuable life skills to learn and can help in many academic fields.
When a butterfly comes into your home to hibernate, it is important that they are kept cool, or they may wake up prematurely. Put them gently into a cardboard box and leave them in a garage or outbuilding when you put the heat on indoors.
Butterfly Landing on You
It is said that if a butterfly lands on your leg, it is a sign that you are going through a period of self-development and that your unconscious mind is open to this. It also shows that you are trusted with delicate and sensitive things. Sometimes a butterfly will land on you because it is looking for salt and they are attracted to your sweat.
When this happens, just let the butterfly rest on you a little while and enjoy its beauty.
Butterflies have been fascinating people for thousands of years. Whatever stories and superstitions you believe, butterflies are wonderful insects to see and a reminder of how fragile our world really is.