The Meaning Behind 17 and the Butterfly to Juggalos

So what is the hype about the number 17 and what is all this talk about the Butterfly? In the Juggalo world, we see these references used over and over again and we here at True Juggalo Family have the full scoop for all you ninjas and ninjettes out there who want to know more.

Carnival of Carnage

On October 18th, 1992 the first card of the first Jokers deck was released. Carnival of Carnage was the first of its kind the beginning of the cards of the dark carnival. That day 17 copies of the album were sold and that number has now been ingrained into the history of the dark carnival. With the constant reminder of the number 17 it only makes sense that this year’s gathering will be the most epic year yet. To those new to the fam you might be a little lost right now. So let us give you some examples of what we’re talking about.



One example is the song, 17 dead. To most this song just portrays itself as one of the typical songs ICP releases. You know how people are trying to read into every lyric wondering if the song was about an actual murder or something that happened in their own lives. Truth be told it is just a typical song, the intent, however, is again that number 17. That specific number was chosen but why?

The number 17 keeps showing up in the Juggalo world and the deeper we look into it the more we see it isn’t just a coincidence. This number tends to be a reminder of ICP’s start. Not only did the Carnival of Carnage sell 17 copies, the number 17 was found in the number of copies of the 2nd Jokers card that was released as well. The Ringmaster released on January 28th, 1994 and sold 17,000 copies the week it was dropped.

In 2002, when the 6th and final jokers card was released, The Wraith: Shangri-La edition, they had dropped some serious knowledge. ICP has said numerous times that all would be told on this album and it was. Though the album had many great songs the one we all wanted to hear was track 17-Thy Unveiling. The song was as in your face as you can get. They spoke about each card, how hints had been given over the years. Then these lyrics dropped, “ It ain’t About Violent J, or Shaggy, the Butterfly, or seventeen. When we speak of Shangri-La, what you think we mean? Truth is we follow GOD, we’ve always been behind him, The Carnival is God and may all Juggalo’s find him!”. For many this was eye-opening for us Juggalo’s as well as for those on the outside looking in. Taking the music for face value you see the anger, the murder the blood. But if you look closer, you will see more of a deep meaning behind it all. Now, the next connection to this theory is pretty crazy to me. Though the first card sold 17 copies, 17 is a very important number in the bible as well. In the scripture, the 17 symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.”


Another thing that is amazing about this year’s gathering is that it is the year of The Butterfly. What exactly does that mean? What Butterfly are they referring to? Inside of each booklet in ICP’s Jokers card deck, you might have noticed that written inside is that it is “Dedicated to the Butterfly”. If you have read ‘Behind the Paint’  that was released in 2003 and was hand written by Violent J himself, there was a story J had told us about how this came to be. Young Violent J and his older brother Jumpsteady had caught a butterfly outside one day and were amazed by how beautiful it was. They decided to put it inside of a glass jar and poked holes in it because they wanted it to spend the night with them and of course be able to breathe comfortably. That night their room was extra hot and so they decided they were going to point their fan inside of the holes of their new friend’s jar so it could be comfortable that night while they slept. When they awoke the next morning, the beautiful Butterfly was dead.


“The following morning, much, much, to our sadness, the Butterfly was dead. Our guess was it had to be the fan blowing on it all night. We didn’t mean to harm this beautiful, giant Butterfly at all. We were painfully crushed“ (Behind The Paint, 2003)

They had a funeral for the Butterfly in their backyard that morning and made a vow that “One day we will both make it to Heaven and apologize to the Butterfly, face to face.” They were young kids with pure hearts and them to this day live by that vow. To this day, they dedicate all of their work to the Butterfly and even have tattoos dedicated to this Butterfly. So it would only make sense that this year’s symbolic 17th Annual Gathering of the Juggalo’s would be dedicated to the Butterfly as well. With all this being said, we hope this helped drop a bit of knowledge of the significance of this year’s Gathering of the Juggalos!!! It is definitely the year to be attending, whether this is your first Gathering or your 17th!


~Whoop whoop~


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