Want help? Roll your mouse over the digital art panels for a few thoughts about the symbols involved. Click here to visit the online artist portfolios. From the drawing board: the latest news! Click here. Behind the scenes stuff: you're in the symbolism reference section. Email the artiste, click here.
Secure shopping details here.
Need help? answers? Click here. Local artists, local bands, musicians, music stores, art stores and more! Click here. To go back to the index page, click here.
Thoughts: Chess, a game. Movement of pieces. Black and white, good and bad. Two Knights.
The white picket fence is an old American dream from the 50s: to own, to have, home sweet home with a white picket fence.





Click here to return to the symbolism dictionary.
Definitions are supplied to demystify symbolism (and the artwork in this studio).
Click here to return to the online symbolism dictionary.


Rebirth/transformation (mainly). Why? The butterfly starts life as an earthbound caterpillar, goes into a cocoon, dies to that life and then emerges as a brilliant butterfly. This is such a notable part of the life span of the butterfly that it becomes a focus for the symbolism. Connotations are more like something that happens just once, as compared to the PHOENIX--a continuous never-ending rebirth process. The quick and fluttering life span of the butterfly in addition to the beauteous aspect of the insect also lead to its use as symbol for beauty and a commentary on the very transitory nature of that beauty. But that's just my thoughts, there are some VERY good thoughts on the subject below :)
Posted: September 05, 2003.
Revised: April 19,004.


Shortcut links to the (expert) quotes below:
Biedermann: Dictionary of Symbolism
Vollman: The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols
Estés: Women Who Run With the Wolves


Dictionary of Symbolism, p. 52-53
(Greek psyche, Latin papilo) A symbolic creature in many cultures, standing in some contexts for beauty and metamorphosis and in others for the transitory nature of happiness. "The miracle of its successive life stages, of metamorphosis from the larval existence of the plodding caterpillar to the delicate beauty of the butterfly, has moved us deeply, becoming a metaphor for the transformations undergone by our own souls: this is one source of our hope that we may one day leave behind our terrestrial prison and ascend into the eternal light of the heavens" [Aeppli]. This is why butterflies often adorn old tombstones. As it's Greek name indicates, the butterfly, like the BIRD, is an analogue for the human soul (another meaning for the Greek word psyche). In its "flightiness" it resembles elves, genies, and cupids. Pixies, like dream or fantasy figures, are often depicted with butterfly wings, as is HYPNOS (Latin SOMNUS), the god of sleep. In depictions of the earthly PARADISE, the soul placed by the Creator in Adam is sometimes shown as having such wings.

In Japan the butterfly is a symbol of young womanhood; two butterflies dancing about one another mean marital happiness. In China, on the other hand, the insect symbolizes a young man in love and is portrayed drinking from the (female) FLOWERS and blossoms; however, if the woman he loves dies, she may be represented coming out of her grave as a butterfly. In combination with the PLUM, the butterfly symbolizes longevity and beauty; when used punningly (tieh is the word for "seventy"; hu-tieh, for "butterfly") it expresses the wish that the recipient might reach the age of 70 (and is often paired with a cat, mao, which is also the word for "eighty"). In ancient Mexico the butterfly (in Aztec papalotl, suggestive of the Latin papilio) was one of the attributes of Xochipilli, the god of vegetation, but also symbolized flickering firelight and was associated with the SUN. The goddess Itzpapalotl, a butterfly surrounded by STONE knives (itzli), was a night spirit associated with fiery STARS and also a symbol of the souls of women who had died in childbirth.

There is a line of Japanese poetry expressing sorrow over the lost pleasures of the past, a response to the maxim, "The fallen blossom never returns to the branch"; "I thought that the blossom had returned to the branch--alas, it was only a butterfly." (See also JOAN OF ARC.)
Posted: September 05, 2003.
Expanded: March 06, 2004.

The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Dream Symbols, p. 86
One's own transformation (from CATERPILLAR to butterfly); also the image of inspired lightness and the soul of the child. The image of the butterfly is that of "spiritus," the connection between mind and soul. In this sense, it is a symbol for enthusiasm and salvation/happiness.
Posted: January 17, 2004.

Women Who Run With the Wolves, p. 211
Butterfly maiden is the female fertilizing force. Carrying the pollen from one place to another, she cross-fertilizes, just as the soul fertilizes mind with nightdreams, just as archetypes fertilize the mundane world. She is the center. She brings opposites together by taking a little from here and putting it there. Transformation is no more complicated than that. This is what she teaches. This is how the butterfly does it. This is how the soul does it.

Butterfly Woman mends the erroneous idea that transformation is only for the tortured, the saintly, or only for the fabulously strong. The Self need not carry mountains to transform. A little is enough.
Posted: October 29, 2003.


Want to know more? Go out and pick up a copy of the book(s) quoted and expand your mind :) These are MY teachers, the people who teach me about symbolism :) I hope the supplied definitions help you understand the art found on this site.

Flights of fancy found here :) North American artist online art studio.

 Online fine art studio -- Artist website -- Established: July 04, 2000.


 Content © Chris Eisenbraun (unless otherwise noted); all rights reserved.