What is the symbolism of the butterfly?

Butterflies can be symbols of hope, beauty, and new life. A butterfly begins as a caterpillar, small, helpless, and typically ugly. When it comes out of the cocoon, it has been transformed into a beautiful butterfly, a creature capable of spreading its wings and soaring towards the sky. The world looks pretty pitiful from the standpoint of a caterpillar, but before long its life will have a much different, more hopeful outlook.