Spirit Animal Butterfly
Gifts: Transformation. Timing. Being present in this moment. Beauty. Grace through change.
Challenges: Too much flitting around (lack of focus and stability). Lack of groundedness. Fear of change. Fear of missing out.
For many people, Butterfly is the ultimate symbol of change and transformation. The image of a gorgeous butterfly emerging, fully formed, from the cocoon, ready for flight, is an inspiring and appealing one. Seeing yourself as the butterfly waiting to emerge is validating and comforting. No matter what’s happening on the outside, knowing that there is a butterfly in you trying to come out gives you hope and reassurance.
And yet what many people forget—or choose not to remember—is that the process of emergence is actually a process of radical transformation, one that changes every single thing about you—a literal death and rebirth. In the caterpillar, we do not recognize the egg. In the butterfly, we do not recognize the caterpillar. Are you willing to destroy what you are to become who you were meant to be? Are you willing to let the caterpillar die so that the butterfly may be reborn?
The answer is not an easy “yes.” Butterfly aficionados can tell from the appearance of the caterpillar what the butterfly will look like. You cannot tell from who you are now what your inner butterfly will look like. And that creates fear. If you let this self die, what if you don’t like your new self as much?
If Butterfly is your spirit animal, you are learning that transformation requires death and destruction. At the same time, avoiding transformation results in death—a more permanent one. While Caterpillar must be destroyed for Butterfly to emerge, blocking Butterfly’s emergence literally kills Caterpillar.
Butterfly teaches you that the natural cycle of destruction-and-emergence is one of growth and evolution. It is also one of timing. While you cannot stop the process without killing it, you similarly cannot speed it up. If you force Caterpillar out of its cocoon too soon, Butterfly will die.
With Butterfly as your spirit animal, you are susceptible to too much flitting around, manifesting as a lack of focus, stability, and groundedness. An extreme expectation of change may push you to flit from one thing to the next without focusing on any one thing for long enough to bring it to fruition.
When you think of a butterfly, you probably picture it flitting from one flower to the next, not resting too long on any one flower. This is true, but Butterfly’s lifecycle is so much faster than yours that you can’t take its timing literally. The lesson is transformation and timing, not the specific amount of time. Butterfly gifts that are unbalanced in this way can stimulate a fear of missing out. Remember that forcing the cocoon open too soon kills the caterpillar and the butterfly.