Moths can be tricky insects to give meaning to. In folklore, they are typically seen as symbols of death. Another thing that happens is moths are constantly compared to butterflies, and it has been said that butterflies are ‘fairies’ and moths are ‘witches’.
However, moths have a huge amount of symbolism. They represent enlightenment and faith, they are symbolic of positivity and change. They can teach us a lot about ourselves.
If this sounds like something you can relate to, carry on reading!
Moth Spirit Animal
As a spirit animal, the moth explores three different ideas; transformation, mystery, and the balance between dark and light.
The most common interpretation is that moths are the epitome of transformation, from worm-like larvae to beautiful winged creatures. Having this spirit animal may signify that you are going through a time of transformation of your own.
This may be from childhood to adulthood, transitioning into a new career, or maybe expanding your family. It could also just mean that you need to grow out of your ‘old self’ – it is okay to change. The moth is a brilliant spirit animal for this, as you can learn from its metamorphosis cycle.
As mentioned above, it is also symbolic of dark and light. While moths can very easily fly in the night, and they are nocturnal, they are always drawn to light sources.
They don’t necessarily need either of the states to survive, but they know how to thrive in both environments. As spirit animals, moths teach us to how to navigate our lives in both the good and bad times, and that even if we are going through a difficult time, we won’t be in the dark forever.
Moth Totem Animal
As a Totem animal, the moth is interestingly associated with optimism and positivity – a huge contrast to its main symbolism. This is because moths, being drawn to light and flames, represent those who are drawn towards the lighter side of life.
As well as this, they symbolize the positive points of transformation! Those who are able to easily adapt to uncomfortable or difficult situations have a huge amount of strength, and the moth represents this type of strength.
If you are consistently seeing moths in your life, then this could imply that it is your totem animal. This is a great thing. It means that you are ready to take on any challenges in your life, and accomplish any goals you have been shying away from.
Moth Power Animal
The moth as a Power Animal is defined by its ability to transform. They are incredibly versatile beings, considering that they can fly in pitch black without hurting themselves, they can smell as taste with feather-based antennae, and they can hear unspoken messages.
However, the metamorphosis is undoubtedly the most magical part of them!
This process is seen as symbolic, and a metaphor for a person’s growth process. They start from an egg, the beginning of a journey. The development of the egg to larvae is testing the waters and developing a foundation for growth.
The chrysalis is seen as a manifestation of an idea, and willing it into existence. Finally, when the wings are fully developed, this is the product of all of the hard work that has been put into the growth process, and the point at which someone can really take flight.
As well as this, the metamorphosis and transformation are seen as a positive reminder that it is never too late to change. You are in control of your own destiny, and your own growth. Similar to the ideas presented in the moth as a spirit animal and totem animal, change is important, and you will be okay after a period of growth.
Moth Native American Symbolism
It is said that Navajos people believe is something known as moth madness. This is when people experience extreme dizziness and anxiety when a moth is drawn to light and dies.
While this has never been confirmed because it is such an old legend, many people do still live by this belief. It is also said that if you have moths in your home, this indicates a time of transformation, temptation, and foolishness.
The Guajiro of Columbia has the belief that white moths should be treated with extreme respect and care because they are the visiting spirit of an ancestor. If these moths are mistreated, the spirit may repay the family with vengeance.
Moth Celtic Symbolism
Celts have quite a dark view of moths – they believe the insect is death and decay. It can be easy to see how they got to this conclusion, considering the hawk-moth has a skull marking.
As well as this, in its larvae-form, moths can look similar to worms. This encouraged Celtic folklore to believe that moths were made by witches, with help from the Devil. Others believed these moth larvae were able to crawl into someone’s brain and cause ‘madness’.
All around the United Kingdom, the Death’s Head moth was unwelcome in the home. In Scotland and Ireland, it was said that if it entered a house, it would bring immediate death on the whole family.
In Wales, people thought that the Death’s Head moth scales would cause blindness. It was taught that you weren’t allowed to let any moths in the home in Celtic Literature, because it would signify a death in the family.
Moth Christianity Symbolism
Moths are spoken about quite frequently in the Bible. As with most moth interpretations, however, they are mentioned in a negative way. For example, they are described as carrying plagues to civilization, as well as destroying lots of materials (including clothing).
Interestingly, this has been interpreted as humans don’t need possessions like houses and good clothing to survive. With the moths ruining these things, they are leaving humanity with the essentials.
It has been said that moths appearing in your dream is similar to a butterfly appearing in a dream – but it is the exact opposite of the butterfly’s meaning – the ‘shadow side’ – because it is a night insect.
When moths are drawn to the light, this can sometimes be to their detriment. They can get burned in flames or lightbulbs. When moths appear in a dream, some people interpret this as you shouldn’t seek out lots of materialistic pleasures because you don’t ‘need’ them.
It is suggested that these things only bring you down, especially in your pursuit of trying to get them. Instead, focus on what you already own, and what is already present within you!
Another interpretation is that moths, similar to butterflies, represent transformation and metamorphosis. If they appear to you in your sleep, this may suggest that you are experiencing a time of change in your life – or you should be changing something.
If you are unhappy in a situation, it is okay to change it. Never be afraid to transform yourself, your career, or your relationships. We can only learn when we grow.
Finally, seeing a white moth in a dream is a negative thing. It can represent illness to you or those around you, and if they die in your dream, this can also be a sign that there will be a death in your life soon.
Moth Tattoo Meaning
As one of the most popular tattoos in American traditional tattooing, the moth holds a great deal of symbolic significance for people. Many people believe that it is highly turned to the moon and that they use it as a guide to navigation.
They are in tune with the course of nature and are not afraid to follow their path to reach a destination. For tattoos, this could symbolize that a person is very goal-oriented and that nothing will hold them back on their quest!
Another meaning that can be taken from moth tattoos is that of their ability to withstand pre-historic times and the evolution of humans, and they are still thriving today.
For humans, this can represent resilience. It shows that you are strong enough to get through the time, draining times, and come out the other side stronger than ever.
Finally, it can represent people who are more ‘night owls’ and prefer to be awake during the night. Moths tend to appear in the darkness, and while they are drawn to the light, they do still flourish in the nighttime. If you are also drawn to the night, then the moth can be a good choice for you.
Moth Spiritual Meaning
The Luna moth is associated with an increase in spirituality and power, as well as the feminine energy of the moon. Interestingly, moths are also attracted to ‘feminine light’ because female moths have a vibration similar to that of a light’s frequency vibration.
This means that this insect is fairly female-centric and relies on feminine energies to be receptive to what’s happening around them.
This vibration pattern is also symbolic of a person’s navigation system, and how we use our ‘vibrations’/senses to seek out a spiritual path for ourselves. These may help us find our path in life. So, a moth is guiding us to listen to our intuition and use our inherent knowledge as a guiding light.
Spiritually, moths also represent the life cycle. Death is inevitable, but nothing ever really ‘dies’ – it is recycled, or reborn – just as the moth is reborn from larvae into a winged creature.
It can take them months to complete this process, and some people actually see the larvae part of the process as our time on earth, and the final metamorphosis as an afterlife/reincarnation.
Finally, moths can represent spiritual enlightenment. This is because they are always drawn to the light! They can fly in the night, only using their antennae to guide them, and will end up at their destination – the light.
This is why many spiritual people will use this as a metaphor of having faith in the dark of a higher being, and eventually reaching a point where the journey is worth it and you have reached your enlightenment.
Moth in Astrology & Zodiac Signs
Many cultures participate in the idea that Zodiac signs have an insect that represents each sign, rather than an animal. This is known as the ‘entomozodiac’, and it was developed by ancient civilizations in the South American Andes.
For the moth, the related Zodiac sign is an Aries! Moths are associated with enlightenment (because they are drawn to the light) and clairvoyance, the ability to perceive things more than others, which is very similar to the Aries’ gifts.
This is because Aries people are known for absorbing information quickly without having to studiously learn anything.
As creatures that spend most of their time in darkness, it is quite apparent that they don’t like to be noticed often. They blend into their surroundings easily.
However, when they do decide to come into the light, they are incredibly charismatic and people are drawn to them. This is applicable to an Aries-type character, which is why the moth is perfectly placed as this entomozodiac sign.
Greek Mythology Symbolic Meanings
It is common to find moths that are named after people in Greek mythology. An example of this is the Promethea moth, which is named after Prometheus (who stole fire from Zeus and gifted it to humans).
Moths are symbols of metamorphosis and change in Greek mythology. This supposedly originates from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, although the insects don’t seem to be specifically referenced in this poem.
Moth Symbolic Meanings
Rebirth/Resurrection – Moths are symbolic of a life cycle, and how things can be reborn or resurrected from a seemingly completed state – like the larvae state. While this process can take months, they are not done living their life. They are reborn into a moth, and they thrive in this state. This symbol shows that nothing is ever in a fixed state. While things may seem like they are finished, there is always hope for something new to grow out of an old state.
Change/Metamorphosis – The moth undergoes a huge change as it transitions into ‘adulthood’, a process that ends up with its growing wings. As a symbol, this can help people to recognize the changes they need to make in their own lives if they want to grow their own ‘wings’. Change is inevitable in life, but if you use it to your advantage, then you will end up with something beautiful and well-nurtured.
Optimism – It’s important to focus on the positive aspects of life. Even if things are looking bleak or dark at the moment, the light will always be just a few steps away! This teaching makes a moth a great spiritual guide, as they help us to realize that navigating life’s challenges will end up with us succeeding.
Vulnerability – While most people view moths as a darker version of butterflies, they are actually a symbol of vulnerability and sweetness. This is because of their attraction to the light. They will blindly follow something they think is worthwhile, simply because they like it.
They don’t worry about any obstacles that may stand in their way, or what will happen when/if they reach that destination. It is the only thing that matters to them, and it doesn’t matter if they are exposed to any harm. This is an endearing quality that is often overlooked.
Moths, while thought of as a ‘harbinger of death’, are a symbol of hope and change. Their ability to sense their surroundings without seeing anything in the dark is a huge strength, and their life cycle is a brilliant metaphor for humans to follow.
They are prevalent in a lot of folktales and cultures which shows that they are powerful – even if this power is seen as a negative thing that causes illness or death.
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