The butterfly has long been associated with transformation and with renewal or rebirth. The caterpillar spins its cocoon, sleeps away the long, cold winter, and in spring bursts forth newly made and transformed as a lovely butterfly.
In Japan, one butterfly stands for young womanhood while two symbolize marital bliss.
To the Aztecs of ancient Mexico however, the butterfly stood both for the souls of dead warriors who had fallen on the battlefield and the souls of women who had died in childbirth
In Christianity it likewise stands for the soul which has escaped the confines of the flesh.
The Greeks also believed that butterflies carried new souls from heaven whenever a child was born. Thus butterflies are thought of as spiritual creatures, as a symbol of the lovely weightlessness of the soul and its ability to continuously transform and make itself new.
Over time, the butterfly has also come to represent not only beauty itself but also the transitory nature of that beauty and indeed of all life. Despite their enormous variety and their delicate and detailed coloring, their embellishment in tattoo art may well rival that found in nature.
The butterfly is a versatile tattoo because it can fit so nicely on any part of the body. . Whether to the arm or shoulder, the thigh, the small of the back, or somewhere yet more intimate, the butterfly will add grace and charm.