For centuries, butterflies have long been appreciated for more than just their beauty. Across continents and cultures and generations, they’ve been recognized for their stunning appearance, admired for their vibrancy and colors, and appreciated for their resiliency and endurance.
They represent a beautiful and unique balance of life. Although they are delicate in shape, structure, and build, they are equally resilient beyond measure. As a butterfly begins its life as a caterpillar, it later enters its stage of transition within its cocoon, and emerges, transformed, as a new entity.
As caterpillars, they represent grace and calm, as they know when their time has come, they accept it, and they move on into the next stage of their life. They willingly enter the transition between life stages with an acceptance and fearlessness that many of us wish we had. In both forms, they are resilient creatures, who embrace and accept their own life changes. They are known for their ability to endure environments deemed too harsh or violent or cruel for them, as they exist in a vulnerable state.
Not only does the caterpillar graciously accept the transition that comes with its existence, but it re-emerges into the world in a more beautiful form. It is a form that quite literally can take flight into the world, gaining a new freedom it has never before experienced. This is similar to how many of us view the passing of a loved one- not that they’re gone, but that they are taking flight into the next stage of life and afterlife. The wings of the butterfly can be seen to parallel the wings of an angel.
All in all, butterflies often symbolize change, transition, life, and spiritual freedom. Some believe that their appearance after the death of a loved one is an intentional sign. It can be seen as a message that someone recently passed has found their way into the next stage of life, that they have accepted their mortality, and moved on into heaven’s graces. Their image is more than simply superficial, which is why it is a well-loved choice to decorate the urn of a loved one.