If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, perhaps you like to imagine that their spirit is visiting you when a butterfly crosses your path. I know I do. It turns out that there is a good reason for that.
According to the smart folks at Baylor University, since Ancient times, the winged form of a butterfly was a symbol for the human soul. You can see this symbolism in Ancient Egypt, the Ancient Greek civilization and in Native American cultures, among others. One example comes from the The Aztecs, who believed that happy dead, in the form of beautiful butterflies, would visit their relatives to assure them that all was well.
In Andalusian Spain, an heir was expected to throw wine over the ashes of the deceased as a toast to the butterfly that would escape with the soul.
Butterflies are also symbolic in Christian imagery. In depictions of the Garden of Eden, the soul of Adam is symbolized by a butterfly, or drawn with butterfly wings, and the Gnostics depicted the Angel of Death by showing a winged foot stepping on a butterfly.
Sara Dykman, in Bicycling with Butterflies, must have felt blessed indeed with all the “souls” she witnessed on her 10,000 journey following migrating Monarchs. Have you started reading yet?
I’m inspired to hang out with butterflies, and this weekend I plan to head to the Butterfly House at the Miller Nature Preserve, part of the Lorain County Metroparks. Visiting the Butterfly House is free and open to the public from mid-June through Labor Day. I can’t wait!
For more inspiration, plan to keep reading all about butterflies with us this month. Until next time, keep looking up! ~Carol