Perhaps predictably, the butterfly is a symbol of transformation. This can represent any kind of transformation in your life much as moving to a new area, a new lifestyle etc.
Butterfly tattoos can also represent the constant, gradual growth and changes that we all go through in our lives. Things that we may not even notice happening. So they don’t necessarily have to directly relate to a specific event.
In many countries the butterfly is considered a symbol for the soul. In China it was believed to represent immortality and in Japan a white butterfly represented the soul of anyone whether they be living, dying or dead. In Greece butterflies also represented the soul and the immortality of the soul.
There is an old superstition in Japan that says if a butterfly enters your guest room and lands behind the bamboo screen, someone you love is coming to see you. So combine a butterfly with bamboo in a tattoo and hey presto, you have a cool story to tell people and a nice meaning to your tattoo.
Butterflies are of course a more feminine tattoo. For the guys out there looking for this type of symbolism, or girls that don’t want a butterfly tattoo, moths can also represent similar qualities.