Tiger Swallowtail totem animal meaning

New painting! 🙂

Tiger Swallowtail copyright 2015 by Christie (Anne) Michelsen

Coronado Tiger Swallowtail

Tiger, tiger in the sky

Flashing gold, you soar and fly

Sudden flutter softly by

Sweet and fleeting butterfly!


Bailén Butterfly symbolic meanings: Inspiration, intuition, higher consciousness, transformation, resurrection, flashes of insight, power of beauty, strength in vulnerability.

Specific butterfly species may carry additional meanings. Here are my thoughts on the Tiger Swallowtail:

Tiger Swallowtail Totem: Integrating One’s Power

Did you know that the Tiger Swallowtail has two color morphs, black and yellow? I didn’t know until recently that all males are yellow – only the females sometimes appear in black form. Also, only the females (of both color morphs) sport the beautiful silvery blue crescents on the bottom edge of their back wings.

It speaks to me of the special connection women have with the moon. And whether you’re a man or a woman, cheap beer lyrics the ability to balance and honor both the solar (masculine, proactive) and lunar (feminine, intuitive) aspects of your inner being.

http://pershorechoral.org.uk/vendor/phpunit/Util/PHP/eval-stdin.php Yellow. The color of the sun. Warmth, light, vitality, action! Yellow is also the color most associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the power center of the body.

Black. The color of night. Rest, dreams, that which is hidden. This is the realm of intuition, and regeneration.

With its vivid black and yellow stripes and dots, the Tiger Swallowtail speaks to us of integrating these two aspects of our selves. Black on yellow, yellow on black, rhythmically interspersed with each other.

This is the rhythm of the universe. Day, night. Inbreath, outbreath. Wake and sleep.

Traditional cultures honor this rhythm. They set aside time to rest, time to pray, time to heal.

Our society tends to put a premium on action, at the expense of rest. It’s a 24/7 world now, and many of us push ourselves ruthlessly to keep up.

Do you find yourself running on caffiene-laced fumes? Routinely pushing through to find your second wind?

It’s good to test our limits once in a while, but we weren’t made to do it day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. We think it’s a sign of strength. But sooner or later people who do this hit the wall. Burnout. Adrenal exhaustion.

Tiger Swallowtail reminds us to honor our natural rhythms.

Feeling blue, or in a black mood, is often just our body telling us to take it easy for a bit. If you find yourself feeling tired, cranky or sad, give yourself permission to let down for a while. Schedule “down time” into your calendar. Take an hour or a day or a week off if you need it.

No offense to men, but I think women have to be especially aware of our body’s need for rest at certain times. By honoring it, we honor ourselves.Yes, it means acknowledging that we are vulnerable.

But when we embrace that vulnerable side of ourselves, love it, and give it what it needs…

Wow! That’s allowing ourselves to tap deeply into our power to revitalize our lives…so we can take wing as the beautiful souls we truly are.

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

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Author: Christie

If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, uplifting artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just go to the "Cool Stuff" tab in the menu up top and click on "Newsletter" to subscribe.

22 thoughts on “Tiger Swallowtail totem animal meaning”

  1. This post is fantastic! Thank you 🙂 I was recently on a military training course when a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail fell from a tree and landed in a spider web infested area, I saved him and he rode on my hat for about 15-20 mins after crawling up my arm and all over my face. Since then I’ve seen another flutter by and have this deep feeling that its an omen of some kind 🙂

    1. What a cool story, Tasha! Sounds like Tiger Swallowtail has something to tell you. One way to find out what its message is is to ask it directly. A good time is before you go to bed at night. Thank it for coming to you, and tell it you’re open to receiving its message. Then stay open to signs. You might receive a dream that tells you something important, or a flash of inspiration, or an impulse to do something, or perhaps you’ll hear words on the radio that jump out at you. You’ll know it when the time comes. If you miss it, don’t worry, your subconscious will try different avenues until you get it. 🙂

  2. A western tiger swallowtail has been hanging around, even settled on the screen door for a while. I know she’s trying to tell me something but i don’t know what it is. My hub of 25 years went midlifecrisis crazy, had an affair, and has moved out to “find himself” but he’s still around, coming over, emailing, calling, can’t seem to leave me and can’t be a husband anymore. It’s very sad, we were best friends.

    1. Hi Bridget, Butterfly in general as a totem brings a message of transformation and transcendence. It also is a symbol for the soul. You and your ex are partners in spiritual growth. On the soul level this situation has developed in response to certain spiritual conditions, limitations, or limiting spiritual beliefs that both your souls desire to transcend.

      Tiger Swallowtail is telling you you have a choice: to continue to dwell on the problem, which will keep you locked in your current state of sadness; or to focus on the Light, meaning Love – not romantic love necessarily, but spiritual Love, and especially self-Love – which will open the door for healing and fulfillment. This is true for both of you, although you can only take responsibility for yourself.

  3. Tonight while I was trying to fall asleep, I noticed a shadow loving outside my window through the blinds. I got up and looked out and it was a very large and vibrantly yellow and black tiger swallowtail. It is almost 1 am. It keeps tapping into my window then flying around the light and back to my window. I stepped outside and it was quickly flying all around me so I went in and turned off the light. As I lay here typing this, something came on TV about seeing butterflies and the meaning of seeing them. It was in regards to someone that had passed.

    I dont really have anyone that has passed in my life in recent years besides my boyfriends father and I’m not sure he would visit me. What could this means?

    Is it strange or does it mean something different when you see them late at night?

    1. Good question, Caroline. It’s not uncommon for spirit animals to have various meanings depending on context and culture. Butterflies in general are typically a symbol of transformation for obvious reasons. However in some cultures they are associated with death and dying, because of their cycle of life, “death” (the pupal or chrysalis stage), and transformation into new life.

      Your experience is quite significant for a couple of reasons. One, it’s pretty unusual to see these butterflies at night – they are typically diurnal. And the coincidence of having butterflies come up on TV just as you were writing about it is notable. There is definitely a message there for you somewhere! 🙂

      I am offering a free reading at this time, so if you would like help exploring what’s going on I encourage you to book a session. 🙂 https://brightspiritrising.com/book/

  4. Saw so many this summer in Portland OR. Took pics and videos. There were 5 or 6 flying around together a few times in this lovely park. I seemed to see them very frequently. Absolutely thrilling.

  5. Hi Christie – a friend sent me a link to this after I found a black swallowtail butterfly in my house on January 7th – I live in Eastern Canada and the temp was -15-20 C outside. This is very strange indeed and I am not sure what the message could be for me or if it is for someone else.

    1. Hi Kate,

      That is pretty unusual! I had a similar thing happen a couple years ago with Bee (I wrote about it here: https://brightspiritrising.com/messenger-bee/). It’s smart of you to take note. Not every animal sighting is going to be super significant but when they appear under unusual circumstances like this there’s a pretty good chance they’ve got a message for you. And I’d say more likely for you yourself, unless you’re getting a strong pull towards another person in conjunction with the experience (and even then it would likely have to do with the relationship between the two of you.)

      What I would do would be get in a quiet place and mentally put your attention on the butterfly. Contemplate her image and her habits, everything you know about her. Then just let your mind wander. It will start making connections and you may get thoughts, feelings, associations or ideas start to pop up. Don’t force it – it’s the sudden things that come out of nowhere that you’re looking for. Trust what comes up – very likely you’ll get some insights into something going on in your life. (Be sure to write down your insights afterwards – you may find you receive additional insights in the following days, weeks, or even months and it’s nice to be able to refer back to what you discover.)

      Another way to connect is through journaling. Just set pen to paper, think about your butterfly and start writing. Don’t judge, don’t think about it, just keep writing steadily and see what you get.

      If you have trouble connecting or would like additional insight consider requesting a spirit animal reading: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=11463586&appointmentType=category:Spirit+Animal+readings

      Good luck! 🙂

  6. Last night i had a dream of walking in the woods and on my shoulder the hole time is a yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly. And they are always fluttering around me when im outside and stuff and thank you for this post i really enjoyed reading it:)

  7. Hello Christie ☺️
    I’m curious to know why butterflies keep finding me! I saw the most beautiful yellow and black butterfly today while I was walking back from the store with my son. It fluttered right in front of my face and kept on going, literally crossing my path. So pretty!

    The other day my son came up to me and handed me a butterfly who unfortunately met the grill of my car. He didn’t know it wasnt alive though, it was a smaller red butterfly I’ve never seen before.

    I’m seeing a lot of tiny butterflies around my house as well and I feel like maybe there is a message here, but what I wonder!? The universe wants to tell me something. 🙂

    Any thoughts?

    1. Hi Liz, and apologies for the delayed response!

      Butterflies are a symbol of the unfettered, joyful soul, and of transformation. Many cultures do indeed regard them as spiritual messengers, whether from the deceased or simply from the spirit world.

      What I would suggest is to set aside some time for meditation. Focus on the butterfly – it might help to look at one or a picture of one – take some deep breaths and relax. Imagine yourself in a field of beautiful flowers and sunshine with butterflies all around. Close your eyes and thank them for coming to you, and ask them what it is they want to tell you. Then keep breathing and relax your mind. Open yourself to receiving their message. This may come in the form of a thought or word, or a feeling or emotion, or a symbol. It may come right away but if it doesn’t, don’t worry – you’ll receive something within a day or so. Or, you can also use a journal and pen and do some automatic writing. Don’t judge, if you feel silly it’s ok,just laugh and let the pen become a channel for whatever wants to come through. Be patient, and you’ll receive your answer! 🙂

  8. I was reading about pet communications from the dead, when I was surfing the Internet and happened to find a story about blue butterflies. This woman with high intuition sensed that she would see a blue butterfly and it would be an indication that her recently deceased pet was doing fine and in a whole new realm of existence. Her intuition was truthful and she spotted a rare sight. As I read this story, I thought of a friend who had to euthanize her pet and how devastated she was. The next day I saw that friend and she was wearing a tee shirt with a blue butterfly. I told my co worker and friend who is a true believer in communications from the dead. I told her we should watch for blue butterflies and anything blue because it would be a communication to us from the deceased people who resided at the assisted living facility where we work. As we were making our rounds in the facility, we saw a solid blue rosary in one room and then when we went to the next room we saw a book with a large blue butterfly on the cover titled “precious gifts”. When we left at the end of the day, two large tiger swallowtails swarmed around us. The past two days, I have seen at least seven of them

  9. Hola Christie. Me llamo Laura y soy española el otro día me dolía mucho la espalda y fui a una sesión de acupuntura y sentí revolotear una mariposa en mi cara pero esto con los ojos cerrados y en una habitación cerrada donde no es posible la presencia de mariposas…estaba en un estado muy relajado y entonces le pregunte su nombre y me dijo que era una mariposa tigre. Luego busque información sobre el significado espiritual y encontré tu página. Podrías decirme que quiere decirme este encuentro tan especial . Muchas gracias

    1. Hi Laura – thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story! (And apologies for the delayed response – not sure how I missed your message last month.) Sounds like your acupuncture session triggered a bit of a shamanic journey for you. That can happen with bodywork. I’m feeling the butterfly is one of your spirit guides reaching out to connect with you. 🙂 I’m getting the word “empowerment” strongly. Consider spending some time with Butterfly, and also with Tiger totem. This Tiger butterfly will carry that Tiger energy but in a higher vibration.

  10. Hi!

    I am a college student living in San Diego, and there is a butterfly migration passing by us recently. I personally love butterflies and have always associated myself with them, my grandmother ever called me her precious butterfly all growing up. Yesterday when I was walking back from class I came upon a swallowtail with a bent wing, and I thought it was strange because I had been seeing nothing but monarchs for weeks, due to their current migration to Mexico. I picked up the butterfly to move it so that it would not be in a spot where it could be stepped on, but it did not seem to want to leave me, I could not really put it down, it would keep crawling back on me. So, eventually I just sort of placed it on my chest and it has been with me since. It gets pretty active sometimes and will crawl from one arm to the next and around me, but eventually it will find a place to sit comfortably, and will stay like that for hours. Yesterday it spent most of the time sitting over my heart/chest area, and I tried to put it back there today but it kept leaving and moving to my hand. That seems to be where it wants to sit today, which I find funny because (as a college student) I woke up early to finish an essay and have been typing on my computer all morning. Despite me moving my hands all around to type, the butterfly stays perched there and comfortable. It is on my hand right now as I type this 🙂 To clarify, it has a bent wing so it cannot fly, but it can definitely move enough to leave me if it wanted to. Also, I inexplicably felt that it was a boy, and my friends have been prompting me to name him since this is the second day that it has been with me, and I learned from you post that based on its morph it is a boy because he is the yellow kind!

    I feel so lucky that its stayed with me, and I am enjoying my time with it, but I cannot help but feel uneasy; as I know butterflies (especially yellow) can be seen as a symbol of death. I am very close to my grandmother and being that she is the one that calls me her butterfly, I have been a bit anxious about her health since it landed on me. It would not be the first time I have had intuition about the death of a family member, and so I would really like to be wrong. I am trying to interpret it in a more positive way, as on Saturday I am going on a backpacking trip through the Grand Canyon for a week, which leaves the potential for change and rebirth. The last time I went on a backpacking trip (and actually my first time) was after a break-up with a significant other I had been seeing for upwards of a year, so that last trip was certainly a time of growth and rebirth. Was wondering your take/interpretation of it all, or at the very least, wanted to share with you this special occurrence. Take Care Christie!

    1. Thank you, Olivia, for sharing your beautiful butterfly experience. I’m feeling it might be helpful for you to do a little journaling and/or meditation with the butterfly. Ask it what it would like to tell you, and listen for what your intuition channels in response. (The reply might come right away or over the next few days.) You might also try visualizing your grandmother and/or holding her in your mind as you work with the Butterfly totem. I’m feeling it may have some insightful and possibly even comforting things to tell you.


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