21 Butterfly Tattoo Meanings: Spiritual, By Body Location & More

Pink Butterflies Tattoo
Tattoo: tattoo.haneul.

Are you thinking about getting a butterfly tattoo or you’re curious about what these enchanting creatures might symbolize on your skin?

Butterflies aren’t just delightful to see in the wild; they’re filled with profound symbolic and spiritual meanings. So, a butterfly tattoo is a beautiful form of self-expression beyond something that is simply beautiful to look at.

In this post, we’ll explore the lovely world of butterfly tattoo meanings. And for further exploration into butterfly symbolism, mythology, and folklore, be sure to visit my detailed post about butterfly meaning and the butterfly spirit animal.

Butterfly Tattoo on Arm
Tattoo: forest__tt.

Butterfly Tattoo General Meanings

1. Transformation

The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is a metamorphosis that is nothing short of miraculous. This is why a butterfly tattoo is a beautiful representation of your own ability to transform your life or your innate capacity to embrace change. 

2. New Starts

As the butterfly symbolizes transformation, a butterfly tattoo is also an apt symbol for rebirth and starting anew.

The butterfly embodies the idea of getting a second chance and emerging more beautiful and powerful than ever. It shows you have weathered the challenges, perhaps even going through a period of self-reflection in your cocoon, and emerging fresh, new, and better than you ever were.

3. Joy

Butterflies come in a rainbow of colors and color combinations. Like seeing a hummingbird, seeing the bright colors and graceful flight of butterflies makes people feel happy.

So, a butterfly tattoo also means you have a joyful heart. It’s a reminder to find joy in everyday life and to spread happiness wherever you go.

4. Fertility and Abundance

Pink Butterflies and Fruit Tattoo
Tattoo: socuteshop__.

As pollinators, butterflies extend the life force of flowers and plants. Thus, the butterfly is a symbol of fertility and abundance around the world.

So, a butterfly tattoo is a beautiful symbol for anything that you want to see grow and blossom, such as a family, a romantic relationship, creative ideas, or a business venture.

5. Beauty

Arguably one of the most beautiful creatures in existence, the butterfly embodies the idea of beauty.

Thus, a butterfly tattoo is a perfect celebration of beauty, whether in your heart, in honor of someone you love, or just as a symbol that you are a person who wants to make the world more beautiful.

6. Elegance

In addition to beauty, the butterfly is the epitome of grace and elegance. A butterfly tattoo can represent your own appreciation for the finer thing in life, for refinement, poise, and elegance.

7. Freedom

Like the butterfly that flutters from flower to flower, a butterfly tattoo is a beautiful emblem for free spirit. It shows you believe in freedom of thought and expression, and that you value your independence and non-clinging ways.

8. Hope

Butterfly Girl Reaching
Tattoo: ajtatts111.

The metamorphosis of a caterpillar that emerges from its cocoon into a butterfly serves as a reminder that even in times of darkness, there is the potential for renewal, grace, and the emergence of something beautiful. So, your butterfly tattoo can serve as a reminder to never give up hope – the miraculous is all around us.

9. Flirtation

Butterfly tattoo meaning also embodies the act of flirting! Just as a butterfly flutters from blossom to blossom, your butterfly tattoo can symbolize that you like to keep things light and fun. 

A butterfly tattoo embodies the joy of playful interaction and the ephemeral, yet delightful, nature of flirtatious encounters. 

10. Personal Growth

A butterfly tattoo is also a powerful emblem of personal growth. It mirrors the transformative journey from a caterpillar to a magnificent butterfly, symbolizing your own path of self-discovery, inner work, and personal growth.

Butterfly Tattoo Spiritual Meanings

Butterfly Tattoo on Hand
Tattoo: lightwitchtarotllc.

11. Spiritual Growth

As it is a symbol for personal growth, your butterfly tattoo can also signify that you are a person who is focused on your spiritual growth as well.

This is a lovely tattoo that can represent your personal exploration and journey towards an unfolding spiritual awareness and path to spiritual enlightenment.

12. The Soul

In a number of cultures around the world, including Japanese and Celtic, the butterfly is associated with the soul.

In fact, in some cultures, butterflies were believed to carry people’s souls to heaven. So, a butterfly tattoo can represent your belief in the immortal nature of the soul and the transformative nature of the soul’s journey.  

13. Faith

A butterfly tattoo can also represent spiritual faith. This butterfly’s miraculous metamorphosis is a testament to the divine energy that exists all around us. 

In addition, the butterfly’s journey from caterpillar into beautiful winged insect is often seen as a metaphor for the soul’s rebirth, resurrection, and spiritual transformation.

Choosing a butterfly tattoo can represent a deep faith in the unseen and a connection to the spiritual realm. It’s a visual expression of your belief in a Higher Power and faith in the ever-present guidance and support you get from the spiritual world.

14. Angels

Butterflies are also associated with angels around the world. Divine energy manifests through all living beings, and some beings are receptive to it. The butterfly is one of those creatures. 

Thus, your butterfly tattoo can represent the angle of someone you love who has passed or even your belief in guardian angels or archangels. In essence, your butterfly tattoo can represent guidance, protection, and a connection to the divine. 

Butterfly Tattoo Meaning Based on Body Location

Tattoos are obviously deeply personal symbols. So, deciding where on your body your butterfly tattoo can be located is a personal choice with its own set of meanings.

However, if your trying to decide where to place your tattoo, here are some ideas:

15. Butterfly Neck Tattoo Meaning

Butterfly Neck Tattoo
Tattoo: tattooist_hoji.

A butterfly tattoo on your neck can symbolize self-expression and communication. It can represent that you have undergone personal growth in these areas and that you are proud of this journey. 

16. Butterfly Tattoo on Your Back

Butterfly Tattoo and Flower of Life on Back
Tattoo: even_gmt.ink.

Your back presents a large canvas, which will give a lot of options for size, design, and level of detail for your tattoo.  

A butterfly tattoo on your back can represent freedom and evolution, symbolizing your past and present, how far you’ve come, as well as your future journey.

17. Butterfly Wrist Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo on Wrist
Tattoo: jooyoung_tt.

A butterfly tattoo on the wrist is often a reminder of a personal milestone or significant life change or transformation.

The wrist is a location where you can easily see your tattoo, so it can serve as a steady reminder of what your butterfly tattoo represents. 

18. Butterfly Tattoo on Your Arm

Arm Butterfly Tattoo
Tattoo: noul_tattoo.

A butterfly tattoo on the arm can beautifully symbolize personal growth. It’s an often visible area, so it’s a wonderful place to showcase your personal evolution or what your tattoo represents. 

Your arm is also a symbol of how you manifest and create in the world. So, a butterfly tattoo on your arm reflects the dynamic process of growing and evolving, much like how a butterfly transforms and adapts through its life stages.

19. Meaning of a Butterfly Tattoo on Your Ankle 

Butterfly Ankle Tattoo
Tattoo: jooyoung_tt.

An ankle butterfly tattoo often symbolizes personal freedom and the ability to move openly and unhindered through life. 

A butterfly tattoo on  your ankle can also represent your connection to the Earth and nature, as the ankle is a grounding point in the body.

20. Leg Butterfly Tattoo

Leg Butterfly Tattoo
Tattoo: nicoruiztattoo.

A butterfly tattoo on your leg can indicate a journey or path taken. It can represent progress, personal development, and your journey towards achieving their goals or personal transformation.

21. Butterfly Tattoo on Your Belly

Black Butterfly Tattoo on Stomach
Tattoo: luxembourg_electric_avenue.

On the belly, a butterfly tattoo often symbolizes fertility, nurturing, abundance, and renewal, as well as courage to be yourself. It can also represent a personal transformation, especially in terms of embracing new beginnings or changes in your life.


In summary, butterfly tattoo meanings can encompass a diverse tapestry of associations, from the lighthearted to the profound.

While a butterfly tattoo can be a stunning piece of art in its own right, understanding the rich array of symbols it represents can add a deeper layer of significance. 

From personal transformation and spiritual growth to expressions of joy and freedom, each butterfly tattoo is both a visual spectacle and a reflection of your inner world, your life experiences, and your personal transformation.

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Kristen M. Stanton

Hello. Thanks for visiting UniGuide. My name is Kristen and I started UniGuide as a tribute to nature, animals, and spiritual exploration. I hope you enjoy your experience here!