The Black Butterfly: Spiritual & Dream Meanings, Symbolism, And More

There are approximately 18,000 species of butterfly, and each one conveys a symbol of spiritual beauty. The butterfly has long-since captivated the hearts of onlookers.

As such, throughout history, these magical creatures have offered mystery and symbolic value across the globe. Spiritual symbolism links us to those who have passed. Many believe they bring messages of hope and guidance. 

But what about the black butterfly? Although this unique and truly special flying insect gets a bad rep as being bad omens, other cultures regard it as a symbol of power and renewal. This article explains the hidden meanings of this wondrous creature for various cultures and traditions.

We reveal the spiritual and dream meanings of the black butterfly. Read on, to understand what the black butterfly spirit animal represents, the black butterfly totem, and what the sight of this spirit animal may mean.

Next, we give you the answers to what your black butterfly dream means, and how to interpret your message. Don’t forget to check our conclusion for more information as well.

The Black Butterfly

The black butterfly is also referred to as the Eastern swallowtail, the swallowtail, American swallowtail, and papilio polyxene.

This beautiful butterfly is a common species across North America. It has a wingspan of about 3-4-inches an each of its wings look very dark blue to black, with yellow spots in rows along each edge. The wing also reveals orange eye spots on the hindwings, as well as a pretty band of blue spots.

Black Butterfly Symbolism

Some cultures insist the black butterfly symbolizes death, illness, or bad times. According to other cultures, the black butterfly symbolizes great transformation, regeneration, and rebirth.

Many believe seeing the swallowtail is witness that you will soon be experiencing a major life-changing event. It is also symbolic of a long life for some cultures.

All butterflies signify positive transformation,  due to the fact that butterflies undergo metamorphosis and drastic change. However, the black butterfly is a rarity to see. As such, it symbolizes transformation that is cloaked in added mystery and meaning for the onlooker.

Let’s take a look at the various symbolic interpretations of this truly magnificent creature.

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Death or Dying

In parts of America, China, and the Philippines, seeing a black butterfly (particularly indoors) is symbolic of a person’s imminent death. People believe that it can also represent the soul of a recently deceased person. This is the main reason it is feared.

Huge Change/Transformation

Underpinning the previous symbol of death, the symbolic role of this butterfly is a life-changing transformation. As the butterfly goes through metamorphosis, from caterpillar to butterfly, it symbolizes huge life-changing events. Such major changes would include, birth and death.

Secrecy and Wisdom

The black butterfly is rare, mysterious, and conveys an element of secrecy. Due to its spiritual association, it is a symbol of higher power, ethereal knowledge and otherworldly wisdom.


The sight of this butterfly is symbolic of newfound freedom in your life.

Positive Change and Renewal

For many cultures, the black butterfly is symbolic of anything negative or bad dying and embracing new freedom. It indicates that positive changes are coming, as is a time of rebirth or renewal.

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Cultural Interpretations of The Black Butterfly


According to the Aztecs, the obsidian butterfly represented the goddess of war, fire, and mortality.

Celts and Irish Myths

Both the Celts and the Irish believed this beautiful butterfly was the soul of a deceased loved one or spirit guide.

Spiritual Symbolism of The Black Butterfly

The swallowtail carries a wealth of spiritual symbolism for the lucky onlooker to behold. Should you see a black butterfly it may signify the following:

Don’t be Misled

This flying insect is original, beautiful, and powerful. Spiritually, it tells you to stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Instead of being a sheep, think for yourself, don’t be scared to stand up for what you believe.

Always follow your own path – for we are all here for just a brief moment in time, and we don’t get a second shot.

Don’t Hold On To Resentment

Spiritually, it is symbolic of keeping harmony with your loved ones. Do not let resentment eat away. Instead of allowing arguments to fester, simply release negative feelings and return the balance and harmony to your relationships.

Don’t Fear Change

Most of us fear change. Familiarity may be boring, but we don’t get any nasty surprises. We also don’t get to experience life as we should. The spiritual symbolism of the black butterfly signifies the need to be brave. Be courageous and encourage life changes. 


This butterfly can signify feelings of loss, sadness, and upset in your life. Perhaps it is because a loved one has passed, or from  illness, or a relationship split. The spiritual connotation is to show recognition of these feelings, so you can let go and move on.

The Black Butterfly Spirit Animal

The black butterfly spirit animal should be cherished. Whomever receives this magical flying insect as their spirit animal should interpret it to mean they are ready for growth and transition.

The universe sends the black butterfly to inform you of your spiritual progression. You are ready for the next big change. It signifies enlightenment, wisdom, freedom, and transformation. 

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When To Call Upon Your Spirit Animal

Some people call upon or visualize their spirit animal in meditation. However, there are times when your spirit animal can be of great assistance. 

At times of grief, sadness, confusion, or distress, call upon the black butterfly spirit animal. Also, at times when you are feeling lost, or in need of strength, the butterfly will bring divine guidance and support.

This spirit animal shows you that you are more insightful and resilient than you might imagine. It serves as a message that you can embrace new beginnings and change, and fear nothing.

Dream Meanings of The Black Butterfly

The sight of a black butterfly in your dream may be quite surprising. After seeing such a rare and unlikely creature may leave you scratching your head in bewilderment throughout the day at its possible hidden meaning.

Should you have a dream of a black butterfly and want to know what it means, read on. We reveal the dream interpretations to the main types of dreams people encounter. 

Seeing A Black Butterfly For A Brief Moment

A brief dream sighting of this mystical insect is symbolic of financial improvement. People generally think it means the dreamer will soon enjoy an unexpected windfall that will greatly benefit their life.

A Black Butterfly Flying Around Your Head

This is not particularly nice, and the interpretation mirrors the feeling this would denote. The message here is a warning. You may experience difficulties or problems in an area of your life. The issue will be significant, and you must exercise care to deal with it effectively.

A Dead Black Butterfly

The interpretation here is that you may have experienced or are currently going through a traumatic experience.

The end result is a feeling of detachment and isolation, which is preventing you from moving forwards on your life’s path.

The dream is a message for you to address this emotional numbness, and bring your inner self back to life. 

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Dreams Of A Black Butterfly Sitting On Your Arm, Hand, Or Shoulder

The meaning of this dream is to make you aware of your current emotional state. Whether it is your workload or a relationship that is pushing you down, it is time to take action.

Don’t allow yourself to be dragged down. Instead, face up to the issue and find a solution. Your happiness and health depends on it.

Being Frightened Of A Black Butterfly

Should you be scared of the sight of a black butterfly in your dream, or if you awaken feeling frightened, you should see this as a stark warning. The interpretation of this dream is there is some form of looming danger, potential risk or threat to your health or wellbeing.

On a positive note, simply by having this dream, you are given an immediate advantage. A dream message warning enables you to exercise care when you might otherwise be oblivious. By taking notice of the possible meaning, you can avert any future hazard from taking place. 

Always remember that your life is in your hands. You make the ultimate decisions for how your life plays out.

Dreams of Killing A Black Butterfly

This dream represents part of a person’s characteristics or recent behavior. If you have killed a black butterfly in your dream, you are either a vain person, or behaving in a very superficial way. It is there to notify you of this flaw, so you can change the way people perceive you.

A Dream About A Butterfly Cocoon

Should you dream of a butterfly cocoon, either old or new, represents change. If you see an old butterfly cocoon, it indicates the change has already taken place, and you are struggling to adapt. 

However, if the cocoon in your dream appears new, it indicates you are on the verge of going through a massive change in your life. This transformation will be a positive one.

Dreams Of A Group Of Butterflies

Dreams that include one or more groups of black butterflies, that are flitting about happily, depicts great optimism and future possibilities. This dream suggests that you are interacting with others well. In essence, becoming a ‘social butterfly.’ 

The dream is representative of total freedom, personal growth and development, and new connections or friendships.  

Those who have this dream are generally in a phase of life where they are comfortable with themselves and positive. If you dream of a group of black butterflies, take this as an assurance of success and happiness in your coming days. You may make new friends, or be introduced to new colleagues in the workplace. These new friendships are likely to last a lifetime.

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Preserving Black Butterflies

This dream is not the most favorable. The general interpretation for dreaming of preserving black butterflies is that you are feeling sexually oppressed. Perhaps you are stuck in a dead relationship and cannot move on. Or, maybe you are struggling to come to terms with your inner self. This dream indicates the need for self-evaluation.

It is a message to tell you to be true to yourself. Don’t be afraid to face up to your problems or concerns. This is the only way to move forwards in life, and is the first step everyone must take to gain a bright and happy future.

Negative Black Butterfly Dreams

The black butterfly dream should be interpreted as a negative one when we are struggling with negative emotions in daily life.

Perhaps someone is obsessing on the negative aspects of life. Or possibly, they are having a lot of bad thoughts about themselves or another. In such instances, this can be reflected as a black butterfly in your dream.

Remember, we get more of what we focus on. If we think or obsess over negativity, we only serve to draw in more of the same. If you are feeling betrayed or let down in some way, allow these feelings to pass.

Let it go and start focusing on the positive aspects of life and gratitude. Very quickly, your life will change, and you will begin to experience a more optimistic and happy world.

Final Thoughts

The black butterfly is a truly magnificent creature. All butterflies offer a mystical and graceful beauty. However, the black butterfly’s rarity, and striking dark color conjures feelings of the unknown.

It can represent sadness, the death of a loved one, secrecy and potential threats. That said, many misinterpret the black butterfly’s meaning. People assume the worst, and this is not always the case. 

As we have already discussed, the black butterfly can also be a symbol of great new changes, life transformations, and new possibilities.

Dreams of a black butterfly should be interpreted carefully. The dreamer must take into account what is going on in their waking life at the time of the dream. Emotions or situations must be factored in.

Furthermore, look at what is happening in the dream. Write down as much detail as you can remember, in order to get a good understanding. Doing this will help you to interpret the black butterfly dream correctly. 

The black butterfly is a majestic insect. With or without symbolism, seeing this butterfly is an honor to behold.

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