The Ultimate Guide: Spiritual Meaning of Monarch Butterflies


A butterfly’s journey through life is a perfect metaphor for our own spiritual journey, full of birth, life, death, and transformation. The universal symbolism for butterflies is transformation, which is why many people search for spiritual answers when they have synchronistic sightings of a butterfly. And there is something particularly special and spiritual about Monarch butterflies that inspire spiritual seekers to search for their hidden meaning. 

So, what is the spiritual meaning of Monarch butterflies? Monarch butterflies represent the spiritual evolution and cosmic connection through one’s past lifetimes or the lifetimes of their ancestors. Monarch butterflies represent the guiding light that directs one to their highest spiritual truth, and the internal compass that we all have that never ceases to work to point us in the right direction. 

Depending on when you see a Monarch butterfly and what is going on in your life when you see it, Monarch butterflies can mean something different for you. This article is the ultimate guide to understanding the meaning of a Monarch butterfly in your spiritual journey, and how to use the information to guide you to your next spiritual step. 


Interesting Facts About Monarch Butterflies

In order to understand the dynamic and magical significance of the Monarch butterfly, it is important to learn about the background of these phenomenal creatures. Knowing the nature of Monarch butterflies can give you a wider perspective on the spiritual connection that you have to them. 

Below is a video that illustrates how wonderful these creatures are, and what makes them such unique creatures: 

In summary, Monarch butterflies are extremely unique for the following reasons: 

  • Nearly every one of the tens of millions of monarch butterflies in North America migrates to Mexico each winter using unique navigational biology consisting of tiny compasses in each of their brains. 
  • They travel distances up to 4,500 km each way north and south during their migration period. 
  • Monarch butterflies migrate over the course of multiple generations, instead of once in their lifetime. It takes 4-5 generations of Monarch butterflies to make a full migration. 
  • Just before winter, a final generation of butterflies is genetically altered to become a “super generation” which gives them the power to make the full migration in one lifetime – they live longer, can fly longer, and have more life-force energy than previous generations. 
  • Monarch butterflies have two internal clocks: 1) a circannual clock that tracks annual cycles such as seasons so they know when to migrate; 2) a solar compass that tells the time. The latter uses solar magnetism to keep guiding them towards the same direction throughout the course of the day.
  • Monarch butterflies will only lay their eggs on milkweed plants, as monarch caterpillars need the nutrients found in the milkweed plant to support their genetic requirements for survival. 

Understanding these core basic functions and special traits of the Monarch butterfly can give you a lot of insight into the spiritual message that they are communicating to you about the season you are in right now, and about the spiritual evolution of the human species as a whole. 


Spiritual Meaning of Monarch Butterflies

As you were watching the video or reading the above paragraph, I’m sure many of you began making spiritual connections information that was given about Monarch butterflies. Monarch butterflies are so spiritual that it is hard NOT to think about them as a spiritual symbol that relates to our lives in various ways. 

Whatever information came to you while watching the video is exactly what you need to hear right now, so trust that. 

In general, what is the spiritual meaning of a Monarch butterfly, and what does the life of a Monarch butterfly represent spiritually? 

1) Monarch Butterflies as Beings of Light

Monarch butterflies, like all butterflies, are active during the day and inactive at night. This is because they use light to navigate where to migrate, and they rely on the light to shine on their colors to communicate with other butterflies and preditors. The light of the sun impacts everything about their survival. 

Butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera insect order, which also includes moths. Moths act opposite to butterflies, being active during the nighttime. Butterflies and moths are very yin and yang regarding their behaviors and instincts. 

The spiritual significance of light and dark is the cornerstone of spiritual discussion. Beyond the aspect of light being good and dark being evil, both light and dark serve a purpose in how we evolve and navigate our spiritual journey. 

Light and yang energies are all about creation, manifestation, action, forward movement, and fertilization. Light is about exposing what has been hidden. Dark and yin energies are all about rest, reflection, introspection, intuition, and nurturing what has been fertilized. Dark is about what happens in the absence of light. 

Monarch butterflies represent this yang life-force energy about as best as any other insect could. In this way, they are beings of light, being activated and guided by the light. If you see synchronistic sightings of a Monarch butterfly, it is time to stop and look at all the light in your life. 

What are you wanting to manifest right now? What goals are you wanting to take action on? What dreams do you want to build in this lifetime? Are you needing an illness to be healed? Are you needing the darkness in your life to be exposed so that an issue can be resolved? 

The presence of Monarch butterflies in your life can be a source of inspiration, hope, and a guiding light to bring you back to your essential self and the core of your being. 

2) Monarch Butterflies as Angels or Spirits 

Many people report that Monarch butterflies appear when they sense the presence of an angel, such as a guardian angel, near them. There are also a lot of people that report seeing synchronistic sightings of Monarch butterflies after a loved one has passed on. 

So, do Monarch butterflies represent angels or loved ones from the other side? Monarch butterflies are strongly tuned to follow the energy of light. While Monarch butterflies have a very sophisticated navigation system that uses light and a way to know where to go. They can detect light and various light sources that are unknown and unseen to us. 

If a Monarch butterfly senses a presence of light nearby, it makes sense that it will want to go check it out. Monarch butterflies may be attracted to various light sources, such as a high vibration of a spiritual presence. This would make sense if there have been so many sightings of Monarch butterflies appearing when people feel as if they were visited by a heavenly being. 

In Mexico, monarch butterflies are believed to spirits of people who have passed on. When they arrive in the winter, it coincides with Mexico’s most celebrated festival, the Day of the Dead. It is around the same time that in the US we celebrate Haloween. 

Monarch butterflies are associated with ancient Aztec beliefs that souls do not die, yet, they live on in an underworld awaiting the time that they can return to visit their loved ones. They regard monarch butterflies as souls that have left this earth, to return once again. 

I also believe that Monarch butterflies can be attracted to YOUR inner light. We all are radiating tunes and vibrations of light. When this light shines brightly, a Monarch butterfly may swing by to check you out. 

3) Monarch Butterflies Representing Spiritual Evolution

Many scientists, animal biologists, and butterfly enthusiasts would agree that the massive migration of the Monarch butterflies is one of the most remarkable natural events that happen in the world. 

This rare multi-generational migration holds a lot of spiritual significance, in addition to the already highly spiritual attributes of this butterfly. 

The journey of the monarch butterfly so mimics the spiritual evolution of ourselves that it has to be looked at deeper. 

Monarch butterflies follow a pattern of migration that leads them into the unknown. They fly forward not knowing where they are going and fully trusting that when their journey will end, another generation will pick up where they left off. 

Instinctually, each generation moves the entire species forward with every short migration period, eventually leading to the “super generation” that will complete the process. It’s the selfless act of the generations before the “super generation” that blindly takes action not knowing where it will lead them, but having faith that it is what they are supposed to do. 

Our own spiritual journey is a lot like this migration. This pattern can be seen in our one lifetime, our many lifetimes, and the lifetimes of our ancestors. In truth, we are all monarch butterflies that are moving further on a unique spiritual journey, having faith with each step that it is the right direction for us now and in the future. We can’t see the bigger picture, and we don’t know what the final outcome will be. We just keep trusting that it is all for a larger reason. 

Just as the monarch butterfly follows the light of the sun, we follow our own inner light and spiritual calling. Instinctually, when we are on the right path we just know that it is what we are supposed to do. And when we veer off course, we feel depressed, lost, dispassionate and disconnected from ourselves. 

As we keep moving forward, trusting our inner light, we know that eventually we will make it to the super generation stage, where we will be so aligned with our Spirit that we can make awe-inspiring migrations to newly discovered places. 

4) Monarch Butterfly Representing Transformation

All butterflies represent the transformation that we go through when we grow and evolve, and monarch butterflies are no different. The process of changing from a caterpillar to a butterfly is symbolic of the metamorphosis that can happen when we actively pursue to keep growing. 

Just like the monarch butterfly on a macro level making a huge spiritual journey, on the micro-level, each of those butterflies once started out as a caterpillar that couldn’t do anything to move forward on the journey except to consume and rest. The caterpillar is stagnant until it goes through the metamorphosis into the butterfly. 

The lifecycle of the monarch butterfly represents our own spiritual transformation that we go through before we can awaken to our true calling and set forward on our path towards spiritual evolution. 

Many people stay in the caterpillar phase, never wanting to wake up to their true gifts. In order to awaken spiritually, you have to confront a lot of negative self-doubts and completely change who you are. You have to be still, wrapping yourself in a cocoon, finding the core of who you are so you have a firm ground to launch from. 

The cocoon represents stillness, meditation, prayer, wisdom, and trust. When you emerge from that cocoon, you are awake and enlightened to your true path forward. 

If you are seeing monarch butterflies often and feel like a caterpillar, the best thing you can do is to develop a strong spiritual practice that can a supportive cocoon which will prepare you to take flight. Immersing yourself in meditation, online courses, audiobooks, podcasts, or a spiritual community can be life-giving to you right now. 


Common Meanings of a Monarch Butterfly Spiritual Meaning

Dead Monarch Butterfly MeaningMonarch butterflies are strongly associated with the dead, because they are constantly going through phases of life and death in their migration period. Death for the monarch butterfly is just as important as the life that they live because shorter lifespans keep the full migration period complete while solving the issues of overpopulation and genetic diversity. It is almost as if the monarch butterfly knows that death is not to be feared, it is just another essential part of the journey. 
If you are seeing a dead monarch butterfly and wonder what the spiritual significance is, it means that you are about to start a new leg of your journey, which means stepping to a new vibration and growing from there. 
Monarch Butterfly Landing on You MeaningIt is very rare to have a monarch butterfly land on you, and a sign to pay attention to if it happens. A monarch butterfly landing on you is a sign that you are on the right path and are headed in the right direction. It could also be a sign to pay attention and be grateful for what you have in your life right now. 
Monarch Butterfly Following You MeaningHaving a monarch butterfly follow you means that they are using you as a guiding light and are attracted to your vibration. It is a sign that you are ahead of your generation and have the power to lead others to success. Do you have a calling for leadership, or to be a business owner, or to start a big goal that impacts others? Now is the time to do it. 
Monarch Butterfly in House MeaningIf a monarch butterfly enters your house, it is about the 1st chakra/root chakra and all about security. Your success and spiritual step are about leaning into your community, family, and setting up roots. Having a soft place to land when challenges arise will be your ticket to success. 

Monarch Butterfly Dream Meaning

If you are having dreams about monarch butterflies, you may consider that these magical creatures might be your spirit animal, a spirit guide or your animal totem. You can read the below paragraph to learn more about a monarch butterfly as your spirit animal. 

When monarch butterflies show up in dreams, they are highly spiritual and should be journaled. So, what does it mean to dream of a monarch butterfly? In dreams, monarch butterflies represent metamorphosis, transformation, and the evolution of your soul and spirit. 

There is so much information packed in the dream symbolism of a monarch butterfly, such as its color, size, what it is doing, your emotions, and much more. But the basis of a monarch butterfly dream is communicating that your soul’s purpose in this lifetime is to continue to move forward on your spiritual journey. Even if you can’t see the big picture and know where you are headed, just trust in the flow of the universe. Everything you are doing now will contribute to the larger goal, so put as much energy as possible into investing in your future self. 

Small actions today can lead to large results later in life. You may be on a small part of your journey, but the overall journey in your life is magnificent and awe-inspiring. 


Spiritual Meaning of Different Colored Monarch Butterflies

Yellow and Black Monarch ButterflyYellow and black monarch butterflies are usually lighter in color because they are early in the migration stage and will only be passing through this earth for a short period. However, the actions that they do now, no matter how small, lead to the larger success of the entire species. Small actions you take now can lead to big results. Focus on the baby steps, and don’t get overwhelmed by knowing how the end goal will turn out. Trust that each step you are taking is the right thing to do right now. 
Dark Orange Monarch ButterflyMigrating monarchs tend to have reddish and darker orange and larger wings than they do during the breeding phase in the summer. The darkness of the orange color in monarch wings appears to be a visual indicator of their migratory ability [Source]. You are in a season of big and lasting changes. If you are wanting to start a big goal or project, now is the time to take action. This color butterfly represents success, luck, ambition, and inspiration. Use these energies to your advantage right now. Whatever actions you take today will set you and others up for success in the future. 
White Monarch ButterflyWhite monarchs do exist in nature, but are very rare, only about 1% of all monarchs. The white morphs have lower survival than the orange butterflies because they are more frequently attacked by birds. If you see a white monarch butterfly and are wondering about the spiritual significance, it may be a sign that you focusing too much on your spiritual development and not enough energy on your physical development. Monarch butterflies are all about taking action in the real world, not about daydreaming and staying still. That is what the caterpillar phase is for. This may be a nudge from your higher self to bring some color back into your life and take action on your dreams so that they can be manifested in this lifetime. 
Blue Monarch ButterflyMany people ask what blue Monarch Butterflies represent, and in truth, blue monarch butterflies don’t exist. You are probably wondering about the Blue Morpho Butterfly, which is now universally recognized thanks to the blue butterfly emoji on our smartphones. However, it is common to have dreams about blue monarch butterflies. What does it mean to dream of a blue monarch butterfly? Blue butterflies in dreams is a highly spiritual sign and very rare. There are very few naturally blue animals in the wild, so blue is a rare color to see in any creature. If you see a blue monarch butterfly in a dream, it is a sign that you are on a very unique and special journey – one that has never been seen or traveled on before. You must have a lot of trust in this next season, and set your feet strongly in your core values and spiritual relationship. Your world may be shaken, but in the end, it will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 

Monarch Butterfly Animal Spirit Guide

There are some people that have incarnated with a unique spiritual affinity towards the plant and animal kingdom, and they notice synchronistic patterns emerge from certain creatures. 

If you are seeing a monarch butterfly frequently and feel a spiritual affinity towards them, it may be signs that monarch butterflies are your animal spirit guide. 

The breath of life that flows in and around the universe is able to naturally flow in and through the animal kingdom, so spiritual messages and signs are often sent to us through them. This is especially true for those that are sensitive to their energies. 

If your animal spirit guide is a monarch butterfly, this creature is reflecting back to you the attributes that you are discovering within yourself.  There is something attracting you to the energy of a this magical creature, so it will be helpful to study its behavior in order to learn more about who you are at your core essence. 

For example, what are the qualities of a monarch butterfly that stands out to you? Does its bright orange color stand out? Do you feel a special connection to the incredible migrations that this unique butterfly makes each year? Is it the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly that makes this insect so special to you? 

Whatever is drawing you closer to this creature are aspects of yourself that you energetically resonate with. You may find that you resonate with the small and delicate nature of a monarch butterfly, or the endurance and brightness that they express. 

A person that fully resonates with monarch butterfly energy is on a spiritual journey in this lifetime, and is awakening to their true purpose and highest self. They have a strong inner light that guides them towards their truth. They have a lot of trust in the universe, not needing to know the big picture in order to take steps forward. 

Their core values are: strength, endurance, spirituality, trusting in themselves, trusting in the universe, standing for what they believe in, curiosity, learning, traveling, feeling a sense of growth in all that they do. 

To learn more about monarch butterflies as your animal spirit guide and how to use the spiritual energy of monarch butterflies, you can check out my article here: Is a Monarch Butterfly Appearing To You As A Spirit Guide?


How To Help Monarch Butterflies Thrive

The population of monarch butterflies has dangerously dwindled in the past couple of years due to deforestation, the use of pesticides, genetically modified crops, urban expansion, wildfires, climate change, and more. 

A recent study found that if current trends continue, the western population has a 63 percent chance of extinction in 20 years and more than an 80 percent chance of extinction within 50 years. The western population is now at the threshold of extinction. [Source]

Monarch butterflies will only lay their eggs on the milkweed plant, as it is the plant that monarch caterpillars need to support them into adulthood. It is a very symbiotic relationship. We can all work together to help support the repopulation of monarch butterflies by planting milkweed in our own gardens, or sharing the knowledge to others to keep these plants protected and pesticide-free. 

While the dwindling of monarch butterflies is the sad symptom of our neglect and disregard for the bigger connection we all have to each other, we can all do our part to reestablish that connection. 

If you feel a spiritual connection to monarch butterflies, planting just one milkweed can help the species, and give you a sense of closer connection to these spectacular creatures. Here are some ways you can help: 

These are affiliate links. To learn more about our affiliates, click here. 


Summary

If you frequently see monarch butterflies, or you have been seeing them in dreams or meditations, they may be trying to send you a spiritual message. It may be a good idea to keep a journal and document the occurrences and what you felt during your encounter with this phenomenal creature. 

Have you been asking the universe to send you a sign or a spirit animal? This could be communication from the universe. 

Like everything on this site and on the internet, use your intuition when deciding what symbolism works best with you. While this is one interpretation of the spiritual meaning of a monarch butterfly, everyone has their own intuitive language. Sit still and listen to your own answers about the symbolism of what a monarch butterfly means to you and your spiritual journey. 


 

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Rose Putnam

Rose is the owner and founder of Crystal Clear Intuition and the author of the blog. She is a trained Intuitive Coach and does intuitive readings, coaching and healings. She is passionate about meditation and is a meditation teacher and mentor.

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