A yellow butterfly symbolizes hope and guidance. In early Christianity, it was a symbol of the soul. In Scotland and Ireland, a yellow butterfly near the departed means the soul is at peace. The butterfly is a symbol that is valued in the Native American culture.
The butterfly can be a negative symbol in other cultures. In the Old World, the butterfly was associated with the dead. If a sailor saw a butterfly before sailing to sea, it was a sign of death. In some parts of England, a person is supposed to kill the first butterfly they see after the new year or face a year of bad luck.