While a butterfly that flies into a house is widely believed to be an omen of some kind, the interpretations vary. The color of the butterfly sometimes determines the nature of the sign, and in many cultures, a butterfly in the home has a supernatural connotation.
Different Meanings for Different Colors
According to "World of Feng Shui," a butterfly in the home is always a good omen. Bright-colored butterflies relate to romance, and dark-colored butterflies relate to career or business. In Louisiana, white butterflies mean good luck for the homeowner; however, in Maryland, they symbolize death. In the Philippines, a spotted brown butterfly that flies into the house symbolizes good luck, perhaps bringing money to the homeowner or relatives. A lingering black butterfly in that culture indicates the death of a loved one.
According to Blackfoot Native American folklore, the butterfly is the bringer of news and dreams. However, in Finnish mythology, the soul becomes a butterfly during sleep, accounting for dreams. In other cultures, butterflies are thought to be either fairies or witches in disguise. For example, in medieval Westphalia, St. Peter's Day festivities included the tradition of children going from house to house, driving out butterflies with incantations and hammers because butterflies were thought to steal butter.
- Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images