So we have  the definition of what Heraldry is, in a broader sense.  Let me show you how it  relates to, what I believe to be, our crest.   I am pretty new to all of this, so I may not be one hundred percent correct in my assumptions here but I feel reasonably certain. If anyone has anything to add or correct, I welcome your contacting me ( ), so that I can make changes reflecting this new information. I've provided links above, to help you understand  what Crests/Coats of Arms are, why some surnames have them and what they mean.  I also include information on where the name Butler originated from. Follow any of the tabs above for more information The following quote is taken from Heraldry101
"Heraldic type designs ~ decorative symbols used to signify the domain of a particular individual ~ were used in the ancient world by the Greeks and Romans. Military leaders equipped their armies with banners and shields on which heraldic type designs had been painted so that their troops would be able to identify their units from others. The earliest designs were mere symbols and devices by which the armies could be identified in the heat of battle, and carried none of the hereditary symbolism that heraldry would eventually come to encompass."
These are the official mottos listed  for Butler.

God be my guide
Esse quam videri - To be, rather than to seem
Comme je trouve - As I find it
Much like a ship, there are specific words used to indicate, right left, front and back, (starboard, port, bow, stern) Heraldic shields use their own indentifiers to indicate the sides of the shield, chief, base, dexter and sinister.

Ours is the classic shape with the shield ,(also called the field) being quartered. Although it can be any shape and be divided in many many different ways. 
Colors can and do have special meaning in a "family crest" or coat of arms, this is true for the entire ensignia:

Gold (Or)-
Generosity and elevation of the mind

Silver or White (Argent)
Peace and sincerity

Red (Gules)
Warrior or martyr; Military strength and magnanimity

Blue (Azure)
Truth and loyalty

Green (Vert)
Hope, joy, and loyalty in love
The quadrants are in order from upper left being one and the lower right being four.  The covered gold cups in the second and third quandrant represent the royal butler. I imagine that these were covered when serving the King, to avoid contamination of the wine inside and as the royal butler this would have been very important as it speaks to the King's health and safety.

                  Lastly, we have the jagged blue lines at the top of the first and fourth quandrant.  This denotes water and as it is one two of the four quadrants,  I would say that it is a very important part of this field.  Not too surprising as Ireland IS an island and we had to cross water from Briony France to get there.

Main Entry: her·ald·ry   Pronunciation: \ˈher-əl-drē, ˈhe-rəl-\
Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural her·ald·ries  Date: 1572

1 : the practice of devising, blazoning, and granting armorial insignia and of tracing and recording genealogies.
Torse or wreath - two pieces of silk wound together that held the mantle on.  Given to a knight or man going into battle,  by his intended or lady love.  Our torse is red and white.
This is a Ducal crown and is also the crown of Charlemagne.
The Strap and Buckle
holds the compartment onto the shield.
The compartment contains the motto
This represents the bearer's cloak...(the colors can be changed). The torn or frayed look is meant to appear as if the bearer has come back from battle, his cloak shredded from the fight.
AH HA! I just found out that this is not a Martlet but a silver soaring falcon!
The helmet shown on ours is that of either the Ennobled or Protector.
This is also called the field and is the part most commonly  refered to as the coat of arms. This was how wariors could tell one another apart, in the heat of battle. See shield
Five silver ostrich plumes
This is the Insignia that belonged to my Great Grandfather, Harve Butler.   I will dissect it a bit to give a  better understanding of the meanings behind the 'elements', starting at the top (or the crest).

I noticed a space between the crown and the torse and while I am certain that there is a specific,reason for this, I have yet to find out what it is.
The Crest - is the composition of 'elements'  that sit above the helm and torse.