Symbolism of Moths

Moths are interesting animals. They are most active at night when it’s dark, but they still tend to gravitate to where the light is. This is a slightly contradictory behavior, but it has meaning behind it.

As moths are always drawn to light, they represent a positive approach to life, and they always look on the bright side of it. Moths are also very determined creatures. They’ll do whatever they can to get to this light, no matter what’s in their way. But sometimes, they follow this light blindly which might lead to their untimely demise.

Have you recently seen a lot of moths around you in your life? Or perhaps you’ve dreamt about them and now you want to know what they represent. In any case, we’ll give you all the answers when it comes to the symbolism of moths here (If you’re looking for luna moths specifically, see our article on luna moth symbolism).

> This article is from our series on insect symbolism

Symbolism of Moths


Moths as Symbols – What Do They Represent?

1. Determination

Even if the path to the source of light might be a dangerous one, moths are still determined to get there in the end, despite the adversities they are likely to face along the way.

The moth teaches us to be determined and vigilant on our path toward the light, too. It’s the only way to achieve something in our lives, just like moths need to persevere in their path toward the light.

2. Positivity and Faith

Because moths like to gravitate toward light, they are often seen as positive animals. It indicates that we should always try to focus on positive things in our lives, which is represented by the light the moth follows.

Moths teach us to remain positive and to always seek light, even if there seems to be none. It’s also important to stay determined on your way.

3. Vulnerability

Like deer and lambs, moths symbolize vulnerability.

This attraction to light can also be a source of vulnerability for moths. They seem to be overly fixated on the lights around them. Some say they are automatically drawn to lights as they are genetically conditioned to do so. They use “transverse orientation” to find lights.

But this is not always good for them. When they find a light source, they might try to find it at all costs. This leaves them vulnerable to potential predators; sometimes, they face an untimely end when humans decide to kill them.

4. Adaptability

Moths will find themselves in all kinds of environments, especially when they search for light. But at the same time, they will need to adapt to these new areas. They try to hide and blend with the environment as they rest when the sun comes up.

Sometimes, they manage to do that. Other times, they fail to do so miserably, but it’s not because of their lack of trying.

5. Subtlety

Moths are subtle animals, especially when it comes to breeding. This trait is especially connected with the female moth. They will attract male moths with feromones, so they don’t need to be overly aggressive to achieve their goal.

This tendency to play it subtly rubs off on their mating behavior. They have a very peaceful nature about them, too. We won’t hear them that often, although we might sometimes notice the fluttering of their wings as they fly by.

6. Darkness and Other Worldliness

There’s an element of darkness to moths, too. Even if they look beautiful and they have a unique appearance, they are sometimes considered the symbol of death.

For example, in Irish folklore, it means that an animal is doomed to die when a moth lands on it. Or, in some books where moths are constantly displayed as the symbol of death.

In some other cases, moths are an example of divinity and the afterlife. Because they go through metamorphosis, they are sometimes associated with something divine. They have other-worldly feelings about them.

Read Also: Darkness Symbolism

7. Attraction

Moths move in a very special way. Their movement patterns are not defined; rather, their flight path is all over the place. It’s almost celestial.

This is why moths are sometimes portrayed as symbols of attraction. And because they are “seduced” by light, they were sometimes associated with attraction in some Aztec communities, too.

The Symbolism of Moths as Spirit Animals

Moths have something very spiritual about them. Here’s what you need to know if you have moths as your spirit animals.

  • You’re determined to meet your goals. Just like moths, you like the challenge of getting to your final location, even if it’s strewn with obstacles and difficulties. Moths like to gravitate toward light, and so should you. Even if the road to your final destination is tough, you always remain determined to get there.
  • You’re a positive personality. You try to see light in everything you do, even if it looks grim and dark at first sight. Along the way, you connect yourself to other positive people who will help you achieve your goals. At the same time, you stay vigilant in order not to fall prey to potential problems.
  • The moth teaches you to pay attention to details. Even if the light you’re after seems promising, you should stay vigilant along the way. If you’re too hot-headed and too quick to make your decisions, you’ll pay dearly for it sometimes in the future. You stay determined but also vigilant at the same time.
  • You often hide your emotions from others and try to blend in with the environment. As the moth is your spirit animal, you are very adaptable to the environment around you. However, this means that you also sometimes repress your true emotions in order to stay “in”.
  • You are an attractive person. Just like moths are symbols of attraction, you have the ability to sway the person you’re attracted to with your looks alone. The moth is a beautiful animal with a unique look, and so are you.
  • You see the silver lining in every situation. This is a great trait because it helps you overcome adversity when the going gets tough. You’re able to focus on the long term instead of getting too caught up on your current situation.

The Symbolism of Moths in Dreams

So, what does it mean if you dream about moths? Here are some potential explanations of different scenarios.

If you see a moth in your dreams…

  1. ….you’re avoiding something important in your life. Moths are cunning animals that try to disguise their true emotions. And just like them, you’re avoiding something instead of confronting it. It’s a sign for you to face what scares you and do what you’ve been putting off for some time now.
  2. You’re not paying attention to details. When moths try to find light, they try to do so without paying attention to details. It’s a warning shot for you to start paying attention to details in a matter that’s very important in your life. If you fail to do so, it might cost you dearly in the future.
  3. You’re annoyed by someone interfering with your happiness. You’re not happy that someone’s ruining your happiness, and it’s time to do something about it. You want to have more peace in your life, and someone you hold special and dear is not allowing you that peace. It indicates the need to change this.
  4. You should be careful to not become too vulnerable. Moths are quite vulnerable when it comes to chasing light. They will do just about anything to get there, even if it means putting themselves at risk. You should try to apply this to yourself and your real-life situations. Maybe you’re not vigilant enough when you should be.

Normally, moths symbolize that you have a fragile state of mind if they appear in your dreams. It’s either you’re not paying enough attention to things, or you are in danger of becoming too vulnerable, or you’re annoyed by something – or rather, someone. It’s better to tread with caution if you do notice this in your dreams.

The Symbolism of Moths in Literature

Moths often appear in literature, too. In almost every case, they symbolize death.

As we’ve already said, moths have something other-worldly about them. In many cultures, past and present, moths represented darkness and death. In Irish folklore, when a moth lands on an animal, this animal is doomed to die.

A good example of this is the Killer Moth character from the DC Universe. It’s a dangerous supervillain in DC Comics fighting Batman, and it’s known for its moth-like mask. This just goes to show how moths are sometimes represented as a symbol of death in popular culture, too.

Final Thoughts

Moths are highly spiritual and emblematic animals. They represent determination and positivity, but can also be interpreted as symbols of darkness and death. In dreams, they symbolize that you might have a fragile state of mind.

If you have a moth as your spirit animal, then you’re a determined and vigilant person with a positive personality and great attention to detail.