The Symbolic Meaning of Crossing Paths With a Monarch Butterfly

Photo: Getty Images/ Matt Champlin
With each passing day, practices that were once seen as woo-woo—like astrology, tarot readings, and angel numbers—are becoming mainstream as more people embrace spiritual health. Cosmic messages don’t just come from card decks and constellations, however, downloads can come from anywhere, including chance encounters with animals that are considered symbolic, says Cristina Panescu, a spiritual healer, tarot reader, psychic, and empath at, a digital platform that connects people with new age healers.

Bald eagles, coyotes, and cardinals all posses spiritual significance, but today we’re here to talk about the monarch butterfly meaning you should know about in case one of these endangered species, known for its spotted, black-rimmed, bright orange wings, ever crosses your path.

Experts In This Article
  • Cristina Panescu, tarot card reader, spiritual healer, and psychic from Psychics1on1

Monarch Butterfly Symbolism

“The monarch butterfly considered to be the king of butterflies and the most beautiful of all butterflies in the world,” Panescu says. “They represent strength, endurance, spirituality, trust, sustaining what they believe, transformation, and evolution.”

Monarch Butterfly Spirituality

According to the World Wildlife Fund, monarch butterflies fly “up to 2,500 miles from the U.S. and Canada where they breed, all the way down to the forests in central Mexico where they hibernate, [making them the] most highly evolved of any known species of their kind.” So it’s no wonder, then, that Panescu says that monarch butterflies represent spiritual evolution and cosmic connection.

“Monarch butterflies are a guiding light that directs you to your highest spiritual truth and the inner compass that we all have, which never ceases to work to point us in the right direction,” she explains. Monarchs don’t only represent light and life, though. Panescu says that spiritually, they are strongly associated with the dead, too. “They constantly go through phases of life and death during their migration,” she explains. “Death for the monarch butterfly is as important as life because the shorter lifespans allow them to complete migration while solving the problems of overpopulation and genetic diversity. It is almost as if the monarch butterfly knows that death is not to be feared; it’s just another essential part of the journey.”

Monarch Butterfly Meaning

While Panescu says that monarch butterflies represent strength and the beauty of transformation (given their evolution from caterpillars to butterflies), she admits that the meaning of seeing a monarch butterfly depends on what’s happening in your life when you see it.

“A butterfly landing on you is a spiritual sign that represents you in a season of transformation, growth, spiritual pursuits, and the discovery of your inner truth and wisdom,” she says, noting that it varies based on the person.

Additionally, she says that seeing a monarch butterfly could be a sign that you’re going through a profound internal change that you may not be aware of. In that instance, she says that the sight of the butterfly can serve as inspiration to be strong and keep going—to embrace the journey and own your truth.

And if you happen to see a dead monarch butterfly, fear not. “It means that you are about to begin a new stage in your journey, which means stepping into a new vibration and growing from there,” Panescu assures.

Dead or alive, she says that seeing a monarch butterfly is very rare and something to be appreciated and analyzed. “A monarch butterfly landing on you is a sign that you are on the right path and heading in the right direction,” she says. “It can also be a sign of being careful and grateful for what you have in your life right now.”

The Takeaway

No matter how they show up for you, encountering monarch butterflies on a regular basis—whether in dreams or real life—is something to take note of. “Butterfly symbolism is potent and meaningful. It has the power to guide and inspire us through life’s challenges,” Panescu says. “Many cultures look to this ornately beautiful flying insect with deep reverence and use it as a symbol for many life concepts. So, it may be a good idea to keep a diary and document events and how you felt during your encounter with this phenomenal creature.”

Need a journal to jot down your thoughts? The popular Papier Wellness Journal ($33) recently debuted in a bold butterfly print that’s perfect for documenting dreams and kismet encounters.

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