One part gentle, one part easy going, with more than a splash of space cadet, the Butterfly can defy all misconceptions of what it means to be an Hunter. In fact, from the outside, they can seem far more akin to their distant Shaman cousin, the solitary Humpback Whale. Not as kinetic or aggressive as the Foxes and Sharks, or dramatic as the Peacock, the Butterfly is a more delicate breed of Hunter, relishing the simple pleasures of life as they come to them.
The Free Spirit
Some say cavalry and others claim
infantry or a fleet of long oars
is the supreme sight on the black earth.
I say it is
The one you love
The Butterfly surpasses all types in its appreciation and sensitivity for beauty. They can see splendor in a blade of grass, hear complexity in a simple note, and taste perfection in a freshly brewed cup of tea. For Butterflies, life is a breeze of fresh air, cool and evanescent, and to harbor any negative energy towards anything would be to squander the moment. Because of this, Butterflies are naturally inclined to avoid conflict at all costs, opting to smile through most volatile situations. While their natural preference is to experience new things, Butterflies are not as demanding for novelty as their Hunter siblings, the Foxes, and will be quite content to enjoy the same sensations over and over again, frequently mining them for new pleasures in the process. Decision-making can be both an easy and difficult process; Butterflies are highly adaptable to the consequences of most decisions, but their tendency to refrain from taking a hard and fast stance on anything can be a detriment when they’re the one having to decide.
The one area in which Butterflies will deviate from this optimistic indecisiveness is their respective artistic field—whether it’s within their job or hobby, Butterflies always find a way to express their creativity. That’s when the free spirit morphs into the insightful but fastidious critic, pointing out the slightest errors in all manner of compositions: pasta that’s not al dente, a stitch that’s out of place, a minor chord that should’ve been a diminished chord. Interestingly, Butterflies don’t view this critique as a matter of voicing a subjective, contrary opinion, as much as righting an objective, artistic wrong. Just as they appreciate the variety of styles in which beauty can be achieved, Butterflies also believe there are a variety of mistakes that can offend the senses; they’ll scrub the graffiti off a wall to make room for the spray-painted mural.
The Master of Harmony
I’m into very colorful food. Obviously lots of flavor, but I think we eat with our eyes first, so it has to look great. The presentation has to be great.
– Giada De Laurentiis
Unlike the Shark, the master of tools, the Butterfly specializes in balancing the various elements of a craft to achieve creative harmony. As chefs, Sharks master the knife, the crepe griddle, the wok burner, the broom handle-like rolling pin. Butterflies, on the other hand, are virtuosos of the pantry and larder, with extensive knowledge of spices, fresh herbs, and various other ingredients. Artistic elements such as these can be dangerous in the hands of non-Butterflies, as the possibility of overdoing it is quite common. Who hasn’t overused a favorite ingredient before or worn too much of a favorite color? When it comes to fashion, no type is more equipped—and more likely—to compose a stylish ensemble from a bucket of spare parts: the designer scarf, the shirt purchased at the Phoebe Bridgers concert, the slacks from the thrift store around the corner.
For Butterflies, style is not about being cosmopolitan. It’s about balance and nuance, two things their Hunter siblings, the flashy Peacocks, occasionally have difficulty grasping. The Peacock might make a great model, but it’s the Butterfly you want designing the clothes. Not only are Butterflies gifted at blending artistic elements, many of them also have an innate ability to blend their sensory perception; it’s not out of the ordinary for Butterflies to taste colors, see melodies, touch flavors, smell textures, or hear fragrances, a phenomenon known as synesthesia.
The Sensitive Pushover
It’s like all my life everybody keeps telling me that I’m a shoe. You’re a shoe, you’re a shoe, you’re a shoe! But what if I don’t want to be a shoe anymore? Maybe I’m a purse, or a hat…
– Rachel Green, Friends
Although on the outside they might appear like doppelgängers for the equally sensitive Humpback Whales, Butterflies are inwardly distinct, their carefree, epicurean style diverging greatly from the pensive meditation of the Humpback Whale. In social groups, it’s not unusual for Butterflies to be fairly quiet, just happy to be in the mix of things. At their worst, however, Butterflies can be extremely susceptible to social pressure. It’s almost impossible for them to say “no”, their experience informing them that whatever new adventure is being presented to them, they are more likely going to enjoy it than not.
It could be said that Butterflies are regularly coaxed into doing things against their better judgment, but that would be assuming that Butterflies have a clear sense of judgment in the first place. The reality is that, especially with immature Butterflies, they would prefer to have their decisions made for them; if you command a Butterfly to go down a certain path, don’t be surprised if they thank you for giving them directions. When they do act defiantly, it’s often in a passive aggressive manner; an irritated Butterfly might withhold sex from their partner because they’re “tired” or promise to attend social gatherings they loathe, only to flake when the time comes.
Inside the museums, infinity goes up on trial.
Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while
But, Mona Lisa must have had the highway blues
you can tell by the way she smiles
– Bob Dylan
Lacking the easy charm of Foxes or the bravado of Peacocks, Butterflies prefer to work outside of the spotlight. However, this in no way means that they dislike attention. Like the Sharks, who will practice their craft for days on end, Butterflies will hole themselves up in their creative space (studio, kitchen, office, etc.) until they have completed a work of art worthy of admiration. This process can be grueling, and there is the danger that the Butterfly, not really known for their determination and focus, could become distracted by other sensory pleasures, such as an invitation to lunch, finally uncorking that Pinot they’ve been saving, or a random frisbee flying past their window.
For Butterflies, much like it is with their similarly—but to a much greater degree—hedonistic siblings, the Peacocks, there’s always a delicate balance between consumption and production. To tip the scale too much to one side might lead to sloth, too much to the other side, boredom. Nevertheless, Butterflies are no strangers to the idea of balance, and once they’ve discovered that perfect harmony between work and play, creating and consuming, they are free to live a life filled with beauty—savoring it and creating it.