Glowing Butterfly
Page Title Glowing Phoenix
heart Home
heart Section Home

heart Symbolism of Butterflies
heart Butterfly for Transformation
heart Myths
heart Poems
heart Quotes
heart Stories
heart Butterfly Images

heart Symbolism of Blazes
heart Poems
heart Quotes
heart Resources for Male Visitors
heart Phoenix Images

Grief AIDE:
heart Surviving Loss by SoaringTM
heartImages of SoaringTM
heartTransitional Medicine
heartQuotes & Lyrics

heart Site Map

JofH Ethics Logo This website
follows the HON Code of Conduct
Leaving Site , the AMA's
Guidelines for Medical & Health Information Sites on the Internet Leaving Site
and the eHealth Code of Ethics Leaving Site.

Site created with Zope. Zope Logo

. .

~ Symbolism of Butterflies ~

Orange Butterfly

The image of the butterfly was one that started surface for me in the Spring of 1995, as a symbol of rebirth, renewal and happiness. I would see butterflies everywhere in cards, images, books, jewelry and flying around etc.; this was during a time when they were not yet as popular as they are now. The butterfly served to remind me of how beautiful, delicate and fragile life can be, so that we should remember to appreciate and be grateful for each moment.

Monarch Butterfly

The butterfly counts not months,
but in moments and has time enough.


The butterfly also symbolized change, rebirth and renewal. I found several pieces of butterfly jewelry to wear as a daily reminder of the transformation process. The poem "Transformation" was written at the end of 1995, as my birthday poem that year after taking a class called "Renewing Life." For the first time in years, I felt that I was starting to emerge from under the dazed-state of fatigue and resulting depression that I had functioned through during medical school and my intern years. In hindsight I can now see that instead of suffering from depression, I was dealing, or more appropriately not dealing with, a series of major and cumulative losses, both personal and professional. I was experiencing a grief response to these losses manifest by irritability, hostility, intermittent insomnia and the occasional inability to concentrate. Neither myself, or any of those close to me were able to see that I was grieving. This would take several years of self-study pursuing my own self-designed fellowship in Loss, Grief and Bereavement before the proper "diagnosis" was made.

The butterfly as a representation of joy, happiness and transformation is one that I have used at several ceremonies. During the last month of my internal medicine residency, I organized a remembrance ceremony to remember special patients that the resident physicians had lost. As part of the preparations, I made several dozen origami butterflies for decorations and for the participants to take home as a memento of the service. At the end of the ceremony, a sudden gust of wind appeared picked up and carried off several of the butterflies making them appear to "fly" from their resting place off of the table.

For my wedding and reception in 1997 I created several hundred iridescent butterflies. They adorned in my bouquet, the cake and the flowers, adding a magical, ethereal quality to the occasion, and have brougnt us much joy.

Over the last few years in creating this site, the butterfly has become much more popular and can now be found on clothes, jewelry, cards (including sympathy cards), books, magazine, etc. Other organizations dealing with grief and loss, or death and dying have also adopted the butterfly as their logo to represent rebirth and transformation. It has been interesting to see just how pervasive the butterfly symbolism has become in the nearly 4 1/2 years of the life of this website.

The Butterfly and Transitional Medicine
The butterfly is a perfect symbol for describing transitional medicine. This insect starts life as a caterpillar, then spins its cocoon. During the time the caterpillar lies dormant sequestered off from the rest of the world, there is a period of great transition and change. Finally after this time of self-imposed seclusion and transition, the caterpillar awakens and emerges, transformed, forever changed into a beautiful butterfly.

In the grief process, the bereaved person must deal with the loss, or significant change. Many people may hide away from the rest of the world much like being in a cocoon while trying to heal. This cocoon phase is one of transformation and often introspection and reflection. The process ends as the person emerges from their cocoon, metamorphosed into a different person. Thus the transformation of the grieving process is much like the story of the butterfly. This image of positive transformation was an obvious choice for the website.

Like the butterfly,Orange Butterfly
I have the strength and the hope to believe
In time
I will emerge from my cocoon...
Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

Home | A Healing Place | Loss & Grief | Emergency Pick-Me-Ups | Condolence & Sympathy
What's New? | Resources | Transitional Medicine | Butterflies & Blazes
About this Site | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Information on this site is designed to support, not replace, an existing physician-patient, provider-patient relationship. We regret that we are unable to answer any specific medical, mental or health related emails. Please contact your health care provider if you need specific questions answered. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement.
All material, unless otherwise specified, is © 1997-2003 by Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS of Journey of Hearts. Information on this site may be shared with others, but not in for-profit ventures without permission.
For more information see our full Copyright.

To contact the Domain Designer regarding the website or to use materials on this website send email to
Orange Butterfly

Last update March 1, 2002