Being a "summer" person, it is always hard to leave my favorite season behind and move forward into fall. So after getting my kids on the bus that first week of school, I headed back out to the beaches at Robert Moses for one last moment of peace and tranquility. I had been accustomed to hundreds of people being around, now there were six, and that included me. Everyone was spread out, so it was as if I had the beach to myself. As I sat quietly in my worn beach chair, rusted on the bottom from exposure to sea and salt, I suddenly was surrounded by butterflies! Butterflies? They were big, orange and black ones. I cannot say what kind they were, but they were definitely butterflies. I was in the middle of the beach! Where did they come from?
The first one hovered over my head, and then I watched as it disappeared along the beach. Before long another one came and did the same thing. Then another and another. I know for certain that it wasn't the same butterfly. That particular day I had a lot on my mind and was hoping for some guidance from the other side. Were the butterflies a sign? Were they spirits? I've heard so many people talk about the significance of certain living creatures coming to us, like the Cardinal and the butterflies. Many believe that it is our lost loved ones coming to visit. It prompted me to do some research and ultimately write this blog.
As we all know, butterflies go through an amazing transformation. These various stages of metamorphosis relate very much to our own lives. Our birth is the caterpillar stage, our death is the chrysalis stage, and our resurrection to the afterlife is the butterfly stage. There are many cultures and religions who view the butterfly as a symbol of transformation. Native American Indians are very connected to nature and to animals. They have what are called totems which represent the animals and the meanings behind them. They view the butterfly as a symbol of happiness and change. The Chinese view the butterfly as a symbol for long life, while the Japanese view butterflies as symbols of love, marital bliss and harmony.
Most other countries around the world believe that butterflies are, in fact, departed souls. The butterfly represents the soul's freedom upon death. In ancient Greece, the word for butterfly is "psyche" which means "soul". In modern day it stands for "psychology", the study of the mind. The Greek's believe that butterflies are the souls of people who have passed away. Same thing is true in Russia, where their word for butterflies is "dushuchka" which comes from "dusha" which means "soul". In Mexico there is a small town where Monarch Butterflies migrate to every year. It happens to coincide with a Mexican holiday known as the Day of the Dead. The town celebrates the butterflies because they believe they're the souls of the deceased returning. Finally, in Ireland, the Irish believe that butterflies "are the souls of the dead waiting to pass through purgatory".
If you love butterflies, I highly recommend taking a trip to see the new butterfly exhibit at the Long Island Aquarium (formerly Atlantis Marine World) in Riverhead. It's absolutely fantastic!
As for Cardinals, many people believe that these beautiful red birds are also souls who are visiting us. My grandmother was a firm believer of this, and a red Cardinal appeared to her several times after her husband (my grandfather) passed away. Especially symbolic in the Christian religions, the Cardinal symbolizes faith, and is also symbolic of the blood of Christ. So if a Cardinal appears in your window it could be telling you to keep the faith and remind you of Christ's presence in your life. That is also why the Cardinal is seen on Christmas cards and in Christmas displays.
So the next time a butterfly or Cardinal flies your way, take a second look. Maybe it's a connection to a long lost soul, or just maybe it's the answer to something you've been searching for.
Information for this blog was taken from the internet, "Religious and Cultural Symbolism of The Butterfly," "Butterfly Garden Gifts" and "Symbols of the Butterfly."
Kerriann Flanagan Brosky is the author of Ghosts of Long Island; Stories of the Paranormal and Ghosts of Long Island II; More Stories of the Paranormal. www.ghostsoflongisland.com