Dragonfly Facts, Symbolism, Meanings, and Photos
Dragonflies are remarkable insects whose recognizable features include two large eyes, two transparent sets of wings, and a thin, elongated abdomen. We all know they are beautiful, but what does it mean when we see them? What do they symbolize? What is their cultural significance?
Dragonfly Meanings at a Glance
Seeing a dragonfly in your daily life can signify a variety of things, including:
- Strength and adaptability
- Moving toward light
- Deep thoughts surfacing (listen to them!)
- Metamorphosis and transformation
This article will break down some of the possible meanings of dragonfly encounters to help you figure out why this creature of light has come into your life.
What Do Dragonflies Symbolize?
Dragonflies carry a lot of meaning. If one has come into your life and gotten your attention, you're probably hoping to find out what the encounter means and whether you should do anything about it. Here are a few interpretations of the dragonfly as a symbol.
The primary interpretation of the dragonfly as a symbol is change. I had a personal experience with this: one came in through my car window and landed inside when I was traveling at 40 miles per hour. I thought it had died because it fluttered for a moment then stopped moving. I pulled over to let it out, and it suddenly took flight and sped away.
This insect flying in through my car window and living through the experience was, for me, a powerful sign that change was going to happen, and it did—I changed the path of my career by enrolling in university a few weeks later!
Strength and Adaptability
Other powerful meanings of the dragonfly are strength and adaptability. These traits have helped the dragonfly survive the test of time as a species on this planet. If they lose one set of wings, they can still fly.
In addition, their eyes have compound lenses that allow them to see 360º, or in all directions. This allows them to adapt to threats and new situations very quickly. They clean their eyes with the comb-like hairs on their legs.
Moving Toward Light
The dragonfly is also a creature of light. If you find one in your travels, it might be telling you that you need to get out and enjoy the sunshine more or that you should get yourself near fresh water. These actions just might boost your mental and physical health.
The sunlight reflects dragonflies' beautiful colors. Many people throughout history attributed this to magic or something mystical, while in reality, it was just their physical nature. You might want people to only see the impressive, successful part of yourself, but in reality, they should see you as a whole person—they should accept the good with the not so good.
If you've encountered a dragonfly, you may not want to be "mysterious"—dragonfly symbolism urges you to be yourself and not use tricks or magic to fool people.
Dragonflies Are Teachers of Wisdom
The dragonfly is a creature that is full of wisdom. She teaches that life is about change and that we need to be careful to live our lives with clarity and resist illusion.
Because they are creatures of light, dragonflies can help you to use creativity, color, and imagination on a greater level. You can also look to the dragonfly to help shed its light on your life by illuminating things that are currently in shadow.
Because dragonflies begin their lives underwater and only eventually come to the surface, they are also symbolic of the emersion of buried thoughts or feelings. The dragonfly lifecycle can be a mirror of what's going on in your life. You might have thoughts coming up that need your attention, or perhaps it is you that needs to "surface" in order to change your own perspective.
Facts About Dragonflies
The dragonfly is a seemingly magical insect. Here are some interesting facts that shed light on what makes them so unique.
- They have been around on the earth for a long, long time—they emerged somewhere between 180 and 300 million years ago.
- They have broad bodies and large eyes with sharp vision. They are able to track movement up to forty feet away.
- Their feats of flight are remarkable. They can fly forward or backward and can travel as fast as 30 miles per hour.
- They have two phases in their lives. They start out underwater as wingless insects. They remain submerged for well over a year before moving into the air after growing their beautiful wings.
- When they're young, their colors aren't as developed as when they become adults. Once they are fully grown, however, their colors seem to glimmer like jewels. Their wings are especially iridescent.
- Though they might be curious to fly around humans or other animals, they do not sting or bite.
What Do Dragonflies Represent to You?
The dragonfly is such a fascinating creature that multiple cultures have attributed different characteristics to it.
In some Native American cultures, it can represent the souls of the deceased. In other cultures, stories are told about how the dragonfly morphed from real dragons. Today, however, they have nothing to do with dragons aside from sharing part of their name.
Dragonflies are such wonderful and peaceful creatures to watch, and their curiosity toward humans makes them all the more intriguing. May you notice when one appears in your life—perhaps there is the change in the wind!
Do you often see dragonflies where you live?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Cynthia Calhoun