A Guide to the Spiritual Meaning of 10 Common Garden Birds and Insects

Last Updated on September 16, 2021 by Kimberly Crawford

There’s nothing better than a beautiful garden abuzz with wildlife – the sound of morning birdsong and the gentle fluttering of butterflies and bees exploring your flowers on a hot summer day is priceless.

But did you know that many of the most common backyard birds and bugs also hold spiritual significance? In this guide, we’ll look at the symbolism of 10 birds and insects you can find in your garden.

1) Robins

1 robins

Robins have deep connections with the dead with various cultures believing birds, and robins in particular, to be messengers from the spirit world. Many people all over the world consider robins visiting them to be a sign that the spirit of a deceased loved one is near and this is something that provides great comfort.

This lovely little bird holds a lot of symbolism with repeated visits to your garden being a sign of good luck, and a robin’s sweet song symbolizing love, positivity and upliftment. 

These are birds that can be found in your backyard all year round; they make it through the cruelest of winters – battling on through rain, snow, and wind – only to continue to sing in the spring. As a result, the robin teaches us patience, perseverance, and the importance of hard work and dedication. 

Robins also unfortunately come with some negative connotations though. If a robin taps on your window, or flies into your home, it is said to mean the illness or death of a family member. But the positive symbolism of this little bird far outweighs the bad. 

2) Butterflies

2 butterflies

Butterflies are attracted to backyards with a plethora of nectar-rich flowers, such as beebalm, honeysuckle, asters, morning glory, lantana, and some ornamental grasses. As frequent garden visitors, we can often not only take their appearance for granted, but we can also forget that they hold significant meaning.   

Butterflies are clear symbols of the spiritual world with many cultures believing they represent our very souls. Therefore, as with the robin, it’s common for people to believe that a loved one is visiting when a butterfly is around.

Much of a butterfly’s spiritual meaning is also centred on the transformation they undergo. A butterfly starts its life as an egg before it hatches into a caterpillar on a mission to gorge itself on your garden greenery (annoying, we know, but essential!). When it’s had its fill, it becomes a pupa, preparing itself to emerge as a butterfly. 

Metamorphosis is unique to insects and amphibians, but butterflies are by far the most well known for it. And it is this transformation which holds the most spiritual meaning.

Seeing or dreaming of a butterfly often indicates you are in, or you are about to enter, a transformative stage in your life – whether that’s a spiritual transformation or an indication that change is coming your way in life. Embrace it with open arms because something better is around the corner. 

Butterflies can also appear to simply remind you to be playful and to not take life so seriously. Bring a sense of fun and lightheartedness into your life and watch the difference it makes. 

3) Ladybugs

3 ladybugs

Ladybugs are a far less common backyard sighting than butterflies, and some of their mystery and wonder comes from their infrequent visits – spotting ones is always magical … and actually super lucky.

A ladybug visiting you is a sign of good fortune, in money matters and in life itself. If one of these cute little bugs lands on you, you can be sure that Lady Luck is smiling down on you. 

As well as being a good luck symbol, ladybugs are also commonly associated with love and joy. One traditional view that was held said that a bride-to-be who had a ladybug land on her could count the spots to find out how many children she might bear.  

4) Blue Jays

4 blue jay

To dream of, or to see a blue jay, can be a sign that it’s time to embrace your curious side or do some investigating. You may need to delve a little deeper into a particular area of your life, or look a little closer at a particular person. Take a view of what’s really going on as it may be quite different to what you initially thought. It’s important for you to see the bigger picture.

Blue jays are very courageous in the wild and they are adept at overcoming obstacles, so a visiting blue jay may be trying to tell you that you are able to move beyond the hurdles in your own life, you just have to be brave and to believe in yourself.

A blue jay’s distinctive call, and its bold blue plumage, are both connected to the throat chakra. Seeing a blue jay or hearing its cry on a regular basis can mean you need to heal your throat chakra and allow the energy to be free-flowing so you can speak your truth. Be confident with your words.

5) Magpies

5 magpie

One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold, and seven for a secret to never be told.

Did you chant this little rhyme whenever you saw a magpie as a child? Quickly counting the number in the flock to see what it meant? (Please not one, please not one!) Well, this is a good indicator of just how much superstition and symbolism surrounds this beautiful black and white bird. 

Much like blue jays, magpies are tenacious and fearless. If you need to take bold action and put your worries aside, call on the energies of the magpie to get the job done. And don’t be afraid to take risks.

Magpies are renowned for being attracted to shiny things and can be an indicator that you’re being too materialistic in your own life. It’s time to focus on what’s really important. 

Magpies are very vocal birds too so if you’re constantly hearing one, it might be a spiritual message to tell you that you need to speak up for yourself. 

6) Bees

6 bees

Humanity has finally woken up to how important, and fundamental, bees are to the natural world, but what most people don’t realize is that they hold spiritual significance too.

Bees are essential for many things, including pollination – as such, they carry the symbol of fertility. If you are hoping to conceive, call on the bee as your spirit animal to help boost your own fertility. 

Honey and beeswax are renowned for their physical healing properties – a magical elixir thanks to our buzzy little friends – so it’s unsurprising to note that bees are also a symbol of health and vitality. If you’re feeling under the weather, mentally or physically, then seeing a bee may just be the sign you’ve been looking for – your health is about to improve. 

Busy bees – these insects work so hard that they have their own phrase. If you’re regularly seeing a bee, it could be a clue that you need to put in some extra hard work to reach the goal you have in mind. Or, if you’ve been working too hard, and you spot a bee resting on a flower, well, perhaps it’s time you took a break too. There is a lot of value to place on hard work, but rest and respite are equally important. 

And finally, bees are community insects – they are unable to survive without their hive. Call upon bee energy if you need to work with like-minded folk to achieve something that is impossible for you to tackle alone. And if you find you are clashing with your team at work, or even your loved ones at home, find common ground, and learn how you can work together and communicate more efficiently, just like the bees. 

Related: 9 Flies That Look Like Bees But Aren’t (With Pictures)

7) Moths

7 polyphemus moth

They may be the less glamorous relative of the beautiful butterfly – preferring to frequent the night rather than bask in the sunshine – but they are no less special from a spiritual point of view.

Poor moths seek the warmth and light of a light bulb or a candle, only to get burnt – this is something we’ve all witnessed countless times in our lives. And this trait carries a number of meanings for us to interpret.

The moth emerging from the darkness, to find the light, shows us that there is light at the end of the tunnel and, even in our darkest moments, we must remain positive and know that things will change. 

The moth seeking the light can also be viewed as a symbol of spirituality and the need to connect with a higher knowing; it’s time to awaken to universal messages. Embrace the intuition that is coming your way.

But the plight of the moth to reach warmth, and getting burnt, shows us that we shouldn’t continually chase what is beyond our reach when the universe has made it clear that it is not right for us – we will just get hurt in the process.

It is better to accept our lot than to continually think that the grass is greener on the other side. “Like moths to a flame” – regularly seeing a moth can be a warning that you are being misled or manipulated by someone, so be wary.

As with their beautiful cousins, moths also represent transformation. So, if you are resonating with moth energies, it could be that you are about to embark on a metamorphosis of your very own.

8) Woodpeckers

8 woodpecker

Woodpeckers are most associated with their constant tap tap tapping on the trunks of trees. If you have a woodpecker in your backyard, it could be a message that you need to pay close attention to what’s around you as opportunity may well come knocking very soon and new doors will be opened for you.

A woodpecker’s peck is a very distinctive sound; being visited by one means you are being asked to connect to your throat chakra and re-evaluate how you communicate with others.

Do you feel like you’re constantly talking to a brick wall (or to a tree trunk!) with someone in your life? Perhaps it’s time to adapt your language or change how you communicate with them to finally get through. 

Woodpeckers very much peck to their own rhythm and this is something we can learn from a visiting woodpecker. Don’t be afraid to walk to the beat of your own drum, ignoring all the naysayers.

A woodpecker in your garden could also be encouraging you to embrace your creative side – perhaps you could even try woodwork yourself? 

9) Grasshoppers

9 grasshopper

Grasshoppers have long since been associated with wisdom and spiritual enlightenment. A grasshopper visiting you can be interpreted as a call to working for your higher purpose. Start to open yourself up to your own intuition and welcome new knowledge with open arms. 

A grasshopper’s strong legs allow it to make big, confident jumps – call upon its energy if you need to take a leap of faith. If you’ve already taken steps to change your life course, then the grasshopper may appear to reassure you that you are on the right path and you have made the right decisions. 

10) Cardinals

10 cardinal

A cardinal in your backyard is a wonderful sight to behold, but what is the spiritual significance of a visit from this beautiful bird?

The cardinal is a powerful and confident bird with striking red plumage. Seeing one is a call for you to stand your ground, to connect with your base chakra, to know who you are, and to stand in your own power.

The vibrant red of the cardinal, along with its romantic pursuits for a mate, connects us with the heart chakra and reminds us that it is important to love ourselves as well as others.

A visiting cardinal can also symbolize the need to rekindle the fire and passion with your significant other. Cardinals mate for life so it may be an indication that you need to dedicate some time to your life partner and bring back some romance.  

Are you dreaming of or getting regular visits from any of the above? Take another look at the symbolic meanings and see how you can apply the learnings to your own life. Which of these resonates with you the most?