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The universe has a way of sending us messages when we least expect it, and if you keep seeing a particular thing over and over, you might wonder if it means something for you. In the case of white butterflies, here’s what this animal symbolizes, plus what to do about it.
What do butterflies symbolize?
Butterflies are most commonly associated with the process of transformation and rebirth. From caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, the process of metamorphosis has long inspired and amazed people.
As ecotherapist Anna Cariad-Barrett, DMin, M.S., MFT, previously explained to mbg, “Butterflies show us how we can go within ourselves to dissolve old forms and morph, rebuilding and evolving ourselves.” They’re a reminder of the importance of surrender and trust, as well, “as part of the essential process of growth and renewal,” she adds.
And so to see butterflies frequently, then, is most generally thought to be a symbol or metaphor for growth and transformation, whether you’re in the midst of a transformation right now or the universe is encouraging you to level up.
How white butterflies are different.
White butterflies, like any butterfly, do have to do with themes of transformation, though according to animal spiritualist Jordana Van, there are some distinctions. “White is correlated with Heaven or however we picture the afterlife; with the infinite; and with fresh beginnings—new life after death,” she says, adding, “We associate it with angel wings, lightness, and freedom from burdens.”
And butterflies, Van says, seem to float on the wind. “Similarly, we can ‘float’ from wonderful thing to wonderful thing in our own lives if we learn how to process the dark and heavy things we experience and move through life in ways that are aligned with our spirits or higher selves, which are also symbolized by the color white,” she explains.
5 spiritual meanings behind a white butterfly.
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When it comes to interpreting messages from the universe or your guides, it’s important to keep in mind any personal associations you have with certain animals.
As Van explains, “If you already have something in particular that comes to mind when you see a white butterfly, then that is the first thing you should consider when asking yourself what it might mean. Messages are often extremely personal to the recipient, so a symbol that has a general meaning that may apply to most other people may not apply to you at all.”
That said, here are a few common interpretations of seeing white butterflies:
White butterflies can often be a simple message of comfort to someone, particularly if they’re mourning. According to Van, “Signs like this are a wonderful balm to the loneliness we so often feel after losing a loved one. They tell us that though it may appear otherwise, we aren’t alone.”
Van says this is the most common meaning of seeing a white butterfly, and it doesn’t ask anything of you but rather is “simply intended to provide comfort,” she notes.
Just as white butterflies go through a transformation to become their most evolved form, so too must we. Van notes they can often symbolize healing, whether it be physical or spiritual, and can even be the universe encouraging us that healing is possible.
“If you think about the lightness and grace of the white butterfly, it speaks to what we most want for ourselves when we are sick: a return to freedom and lightness of body and spirit,” Van tells mbg, adding, “White butterflies’ specific message of healing has to do with really, truly delving into the darkness that is weighing you down. A butterfly can’t grow its wings and achieve its freedom until it goes through total transformation in its chrysalis.”
White butterflies are also linked with creativity, the sacral chakra, and the process of creation itself. As Van puts it, “We ‘birth’ creative projects using the same energies that are involved in the birth of a child.” And because butterflies are creatures of the air (which is associated with communication), they may be asking you to express yourself through creation in some way.
White is, in actuality, the absence of color. As Van tells mbg, sometimes white butterflies can be telling us that our lives feel colorless, like we’re going through the motions. “Butterflies feed on nectar, which is sugary, and so sometimes white butterfly tells us that we need to add some sweetness back into our lives,” she explains.
In this case, white butterfly is asking you to figure out what it would take to feel happy in your life and be willing to take the risk to get it.
Last but not least, Van notes that white symbolized authentic spirituality. She explains that in some cases, white butterfly can represent that you’ve connected with someone or something that will help you on your spiritual journey, or you yourself are working to deepen your spiritual practice.
What to do if you keep seeing them.
Depending on how you interpret the message you’re getting from white butterflies, you may wish to take some different courses of action. If the butterfly is offering you a sense of comfort, for example, there really isn’t anything you have to do upon seeing it.
However, if you’ve been going through a time of hardship, sorrow, etc., Van explains that white butterflies can be encouraging you to face your darkness. “Facing it, feeling it, being in it so it no longer frightens us and holds us back is generally the scariest freaking thing we will ever do, but it’s where our ‘treasure’ lies. It’s how we heal,” she says.
And thinking about the themes of transformation and creation, of course, white butterflies may also be pushing you to level up or evolve, particularly in terms of your spirituality.
On a more practical level, if you keep seeing white butterflies in your garden and they’re wreaking havoc on your vegetables, Van explains that this can actually be an opportunity to problem-solve in a creative way, figuring out a solution to benefit both your garden and the butterflies. “Plant nasturtium in the same bed as your cabbage, kale, etc. It adds an aesthetic element to your garden, but it also grows quickly, and cabbage butterfly caterpillars love it—[which] means they’ll tend to eat the nasturtium and leave your veggies alone,” she notes.
To that end, the message may be that a seemingly insurmountable problem has an easy solution, Van says. “Instead of treating the problem as something that must be attacked and destroyed, how can you add something to the situation that will bring everything into balance?”
If a white butterfly appears in your dream.
Going back to Van’s aforementioned point about understanding your own personal interpretations with certain animals or symbols, that idea still applies in your dreams.
As Van previously explained to mbg, “Dreams are much more personal than we realize, in which case, the symbol is supposed to get us to look at what is going on in our life and ask ourselves if it mirrors what happened in our lives the last time we experienced that animal in the aforementioned fashion. If so, what issues from that time might still need to be resolved?”
If you tend toward the belief that dreams contain messages, they can be another way that the universe speaks to us. And so if white butterflies keep showing up in your dreams, any of the aforementioned meanings could be applicable, just coming through to you in a different way—while you’re asleep rather than awake.
If you’ve seen white butterflies enough to be more than just coincidence, there could very well be a spiritual message for you. Only you can truly know what that message is, but rest assured these creatures represent, overall, positive signs of transformation.