Butterflies: Harbingers of Death

by MSO
Colourful butterfly flying away

Although many cultures believe the butterfly is a symbol of death, it can also be a symbol of change, resurrection, transformation, celebration, young love and the soul.

Although they are bright, beautiful, and can be seen fluttering from flower to flower, the butterfly is a symbol of death. There are numerous types of butterflies and moths that have, for one reason or another, earned a reputation as a death omen.

In Maryland, if a white butterfly enters your house and flies around you, it means death is on its way. Some people believe that if a moth lands on the mother of a newborn child, her child will die shortly after.

In Europe there is a moth called the Death’s Head Sphinx Moth. Many Europeans believe the moth represents death because of the outline of a skull on the back of its body. Throughout Europe, the moth was thought to be a symbol of an approaching war, illness or death. The moth is an omen of death if it appears in a candlelit room and puts out the flame of the candle.

In France, it is believed that the dust from a moth’s wings could cause blindness if it entered the eye.

In Poland, where the moth is known as the wandering death-bird, its cry was heard as a voice of anguish or the moaning of a grief-stricken child.

Italian-Americans view the appearance of a moth in their home as a sign of the impending death of someone they know.

Samoans believe if they captured a butterfly it meant they would be struck dead.

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