Meaning, Myth, Legend
Dragonflies and Damselflies are very ancient with estimates of having been around for over 180 million years. They have beautiful, jewel-like coloring. The bright colors take time to develop, reflecting the idea that with maturity our own true colors come forth. This is part of dragonfly medicine.
For many it is difficult to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly. Dragonflies have broad bodies and enormous eyes. Damselflies are more slender and delicate. When dragonflies are at rest, they hold their wings out like a glider. Damselflies will fold their wings over their backs when at rest. Dragonflies will often eat while in flight, and damselflies will always land before eating.
Both are known for their fast flight and their dazzling aerial feats, as if imitating how light itself can be moved and directed. They twist, turn, change direction in an instant, hover, move up or down, and even fly backwards. Dragonflies are sometimes known as mosquito hawks. Both the damsels and the dragons are excellent hunters of flying insects. They can fly at speeds up to 30mph, and their eyes help spot flying insects. They can spot a movement 40ft. away. They use their sharp, spiny legs and strong jaws to capture prey.
Dragonflies and damselflies inhabit two realms--water and air. The significance of these should be examined. In their early life--as a nymph--they live within the water. As they mature and go through their Metamorphosis , they move to the realm of air. It is not unusual to find individuals with dragonfly totems to be very emotional and passionate in the early years, but as they get older, they learn to balance it with greater mental clarity and control. sometimes it can indicate that the emotions have gotten shut down because of emotional issues in the early life. Remember that the dragonfly and damselfly are always found around water. There must be expressions of the emotional and the mental together.
If a dragonfly has shown up in your life, you may need some fresh air in regard to something emotional. You may need to gain a new perspective or make a change. It may even indicate that you are neglecting your emotions. Are you being too rational about everything? Are you not keeping the color of emotions alive?
Dragonflies are very territorial. They will lay their eggs within their territory near the water. The egg eventually develops into the nymph stage of metamorphosis in this insect, and remains as a nymph for almost two years before it transforms into an adult dragonfly or damselfly. This can reflect a number of possibilities for those with this totem. It can indicate that an approximate two-year period of change is about to reach its culmination. It may reflect that you are coming into a two-year period of transformation. It may even reflect a need to institute changes that may culminate in the colorful transformations you desire within a two-year period. Only by examining your life and activities will you begin to understand its specific role.
Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a variety of ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with the dragonfly. It is one of the most adaptable of insects. It is why it has been able to survive for so long. Dragonflies have two pairs of wings, but if need be, they can fly with one. Their eyes are kept clean with special combs on their legs and by washing the eyes with water drops collected in the mouth.
Their main predators are frogs and birds. Particularly the frog should be studied by those with this totem. Their realm is the realm of light, and they are only out during the day, as they are cold-blooded. Summer is their most powerful time, as they need the warmth and light of the sun. for those with this totem, this will be important to consider. Spending time outside in the sun near fresh water sources will be beneficial for restoring and changing health conditions for the better for those with this totem.
Although some have color pigments in their skin, for most the colors are caused almost the same way rainbows form. Structures in their shell scatter and refract the light, making them look iridescent green and blue. as they age, they may pass through several color changes. This ability to reflect and refract light and color has caused it to be associated with many forms of magic and mysticism--including color magic, illusion (causing others only to see what you wish), and more. Dragonfly's magic is the power of light and all that has ever been associated with it.
Dragonflies and damselflies are often depicted in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy. To some Native Americans, they represent the souls of the dead. Some stories speak of the time in which they used to be real dragons. Often we assume that dragons have to be gigantic beasts breathing fire, but the fantastic creatures of the Faerie Realm often come in many shapes and sizes. Dragonflies because they are mythical relatives of the ancient dragons are wonderful links to working with nature spirits.
The dragon fly and damselfly reflect the work with the sun and light. The light changes throughout the day. The dragonfly and damselfly undergo their own transformations. If they have shown up, look for changes to occur. Are you resisting change when you shouldn't? Dragonflies remind us that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. "Let there be light" is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life. This is part of what dragonflies and damselflies teach us.
Life is never quite the way it appears, but it is always filled with light and color. Dragonfly can help you to see through your illusions and thus allow your own light to shine forth. Dragonfly brings the brightness of transformation and the wonder of colorful new vision.
*Jamie Sams & David Carson/Medicine Cards:
Dragonfly medicine is of the dreamtime and the illusionary facade we accept as the physical reality. The iridescence of Dragonfly's wings reminds us of colors not found in our everyday experience. Dragonfly's shifting of color, energy, form, and movement explodes into the mind of the observer, bringing vague memories of a time or place where magic reigned.
Some legends say that the Dragonfly was once Dragon, and that Dragon had scales like Dragonfly's wings. Dragon was full of wisdom, and flew through the night bringing light with its fiery breath. The breath of Dragon brought forth the art of magic and the illusion of changing form. Then Dragon got caught in its own facade. Coyote tricked Dragon into changing form, and the shape of its new body became like the Dragonfly's. In accepting the challenge to prove its power and magical prowess, Dragon lost its power.
Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and the communications from the elemental world. This elemental world is made up of the tiny spirits of plants, and of the elements air, earth, fire, and water. In essence, this world is full of nature spirits.
If Dragonfly has flown into your cards today, you may have forgotten to water your plants. On another level, you may need to give thanks to the foods you eat for sustaining your body. On the psychological level, it may be time to break down the illusions you have held that restrict your actions or ideas.
See how you can apply the art of illusion to your present question or situation, and remember that things are never completely as they seem.
Are you trying to prove to yourself or someone else that you have power? Are you caught in an illusion that weakens your true feelings or minimizes your abilities? If so, you may have contracted "Dragonfly dive-bombing." Is this the final "crash and burn" for some pipe-dream that had no real purpose? Look within and feel the sense-of-self energy within yourself. Notice if it is ebbing, and find the point in time when you were deluded into believing that you would be happier if you changed because someone else wanted you to. Misery is a prime clue that you lost your will and personal validity when you bought into someone else's idea of who or what you should be. The illusion was that you would be happier if you did it their way. In forfeiting what you know is right and true for you personally, you give away your power. Is it time for you to take it back.
Follow Dragonfly to the place inside your body where magic is still alive, and drink deeply of its power. This strength belongs to you. It is the power of becoming the illusion. This ability is ever changing, and contains within it the knowledge that you are creating it all.
*Dragonfly is the guardian and protector of Quetzalcoatl.
The Language of Dreams:
If hovering near water, this represents the cooperation between your mental/conscious self and your emotional nature. Dragonflies are very adaptable, but also territorial. Have you been hovering around your domain too much? Or perhaps you've been too flexible in a specific situation. Dragonflies need warmth and sunlight. On the dream plane, this may represent a similar physical need that manifests as depression or restlessness. Alternatively, it may symbolize the need to be more aware of the conscious, masculine, solar self. In Japan, these are emblems of happiness and good fortune. Among Native Americans, the souls of the departed may reside in these creatures. As such, they may be messengers from other realms communicating through your dream.
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Dragonfly denotes a strong, positive spiritual force or aspect.
*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
There are about a thousand different kinds of this insect. They all have large heads, composed of mostly eyes. Its two huge compound eyes give an exotic appearance. The dragonfly has a long, slender body and four large, strong wings.
The dragonfly is also called the Devil's Darning Needle, the Bee Butcher, and the Mosquito Hawk. It is one of the most beautiful of all insects and harmless to humans and animals, regardless of some of the gruesome folklore connected with it. However, it does eat large quantities of insects, particularly mosquitoes, both as an adult and as a nymph. It doesn't sting or attack horses.
The dragonfly shares much of the same symbolism as that of the butterfly. It is the national emblem of Japan, which I sometimes called the Island of the Dragonfly, Akitsushima. Japanese art and poetry make frequent use of this insect. However, it can also represent irresponsibility and unreliability. The Chinese say that the dragonfly symbolizes Summer, weakness, and instability.
Dragonflies are believed to sew together the lips of people who sleep outside at night. They are said to attack snakes and sting horses. If a dragonfly hovers over a fisherman, he will have good fishing luck.
Dreams, illusions. Mystic messages of enlightenment from spirit. Breaking down illusions in order to transform your life. Change is coming. Understanding dreams. Opening yourself to messages from the gods. Seeing the truth in any situation or person.
*Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions:
Catch one and you are sure to marry within the year. Dragonflies are also said to come to fishermen's aid by hovering over fish.
Dragonfly represents illusion, dreams, messages, and enlightenment.
Dragonfly is the Keeper of Illusion that teaches you to see through it and bring about transformation in your life. She teaches the truth of matters and to recognize that change is in the air. reflecting luminous color and light on her gossamer wings, she speaks of the glory in change and the beauty of life itself through the experience of the transformative process. Because she is a creature of Water and Air, she demonstrates how the emotions can flow with your thoughts or cloud them. Her erratic flight patterns teach perspective; while her love of the sun and bright colors demonstrates the healing qualities of both. As Dragonfly dances on the wind or skims the water's surface she demonstrates changes and the shattering of illusions.
Linked with nature spirits, she speaks of other worlds, other dimensions, and those that inhabit them. This creature-teacher encourages the creativity of your own imagination as a powerful tool in letting your own gifts shimmer in the light of a new day. Hers is the Medicine of the Dream Lodge; it tempts you to go beyond mundane or superficial appearances and into the explosive colors of your own mind. She urges you to explore other possibilities--always with a promise of enlightenment. Encouraging you to shed negative attitudes or old habits, she nudges you to emerge from your cocoon and dance among the early dawn mists of the still pools.
Dragonfly will show you the illusion and ask you to discover your own; she will teach you to apply it to your own life. She urges you to follow your dreams and not those of others; to reach for the gentle breezes and dance among them--to shimmer and shine with your own light reflecting the light of Spirit in the process. Through these teachings she demonstrates the magic that is alive and well in life and creates a spectacular theater in which to stage a show of your own. Through your willingness to see from various perspectives and change as the situation calls for it, you learn to let your own creativity dictate how far you can go. In the world of illusion the possibilities are endless.
DRAGON FLY = ILLUSION and the Power of Light
Have you recently had a "wake up call?" Welcome back to planet earth. But, hey, it could have been one of your more memorable and colorful experiences. Look to your creative side to manifest your dreams. Dragonfly has touched your spirit. The power of illusion can bring the most wonderful rays of light into your life. If you stay too long, your feet won't touch the ground. While sometimes this is nice and even fun for some, it usually doesn't help us in a material world.
It's time to check and see what point you are in life. After that assessment check and see what destination you wish to arrive and what time you wish to get their.
To many irons in the fire or distractions may blind you from your true objective. Use inspiration, or the mystical and magical powers of life and illusion to aid, stimulate and direct the muse of your creativity to its highest dreams. It's time to dress and impress and let your own light shine.
If your confused, just look within for the answer. You have the answers yourself, so be quite and listen to yourself. Don't follow someone else's reality. "Rather live in your world of illusion and delusion than live in the world of another." UNKNOWN
The power of illusion can bring wonderful rays of light into our lives. Prepare yourself for a magical time of creativity and for your enjoyment in the dance and song of life. Keep your feet on the ground long enough to function in the world, but never let your vision falter from your most distant star.
Lightness of body, expression of emotional and mental aspects, fresh air and a new perspective will come soon, allows our inner light to shine through. Teaches a mastery of moving quickly with precision, breaks down illusions, heightens visual depth and aids in changes that are swift with emphasis on the emotions and un/subconscious. Are you seeking out pieces of your life that need changing? Dragonfly will aid in this search.
Damselfly/Dragonfly's Wisdom Includes:
Mastery of life on the wing Power of flight
Power to escape a blow
Understanding dreams Power of light
Breaking down illusions
Seeing the truth in situations
Connection to Dragon
Dragonflies in Myth and Legend
Menacing and marvelous, the dragonfly has for centuries captivated human imaginations with its daredevil flying maneuvers, vibrant colors and bullish disposition.
Predating the dinosaur, this fascinating insect of the order Odonata (meaning "toothed") has long been the subject of chilling myths and legends. In fact, the dragonfly's terrifying syringe-like appearance earned it a laundry list of dastardly names in world-wide folklore including "Devil's Darner," "Water Witch" and "Snake Doctor."
In European and early-American myths, children were told that if they misbehaved, a dragonfly would sew shut their eyes and ears as they slept. Another myth warned that dragonflies were in cahoots with snakes and were able to wake them from the dead or warn them of impending danger. And in Swedish folklore, dragonflies were called "Blindsticka" or "Blind Stingers," and rumored to have had a penchant for picking out human eyes. The Swedes also believed that dragonflies were used by the Devil to weigh people's souls, and that if a dragonfly swarmed around someone's head weighing his or her soul, that person could expect great injury.
Modern science and communications have debunked these unnerving myths, noted Hennepin Parks Senior Naturalist Kathy Heidel, who pointed out that dragonflies cannot even sting or bite (save for a slight pinch). In fact, many are coming to realize the long-misunderstood insect's beauty and contributions as a water-quality indicator and mosquito-eater.
"They were myths and legends that were based on ignorance," Heidel said. "People were fairly uneducated, plus the dragonflies had such horrible-looking eyes and faces. They looked so dangerous that people thought they could sting and bite, and the old legends were created to discourage people from getting near them, like we now discourage people from getting near bees."
Of course, not all dragonfly myths and legends are so unnerving. In fact, the Swedes who called the dragonflies the "Devil's Steelyards" also recognized the dragonfly as a holy animal, and to one Swedish cult, it symbolized the love goddess Freya. The Chinese and Japanese also have long revered dragonflies as holy animals. In Japan, dragonflies symbolize victory in battle. Legend has it that the Emperor of Japan was once bitten by a horsefly that was later eaten by a dragonfly. To honor the dragonfly, he named Japan "Akitsushima," or "the Isles of the Dragonfly." Today, Japan is a global leader in the study of dragonflies. It even has a scientific journal dedicated solely to the dragonfly.
The myths and legends of the dragonfly differ from East to West and many different cultures used dragonflies as symbols of both good and evil.
In China the dragonfly was not regarded highly, only as a symbol for summer and also for instability and feebleness. In Japan, however, the dragonfly is symbolic of success, victory, happiness, strength and courage. During the 11th century noble Japanese families used the dragonfly as ornamentation on everything from furnishings to textiles. The dragonfly was chosen as a part of the Samurai family crest. Japan was not always named Japan. Japanese legend has it that an Emperor was bitten by a horsefly which, in turn, was eaten by a dragonfly. The Emperor honored the dragonfly by naming what is now Japan “Akitsushima” which, during that time, translated to “Isle of the Dragonfly”.
The reputation of odonatas may have been tarnished a bit in 15th-century Europe when the insects were associated with snakes and the devil and actually feared to be dangerous. The English today call them “hos-stingers” and Australians call them “horse-stingers”. It is believed that these names came about because it appeared that dragonflies were swarming around horses who were kicking and jumping as they were being bit when, in reality, the dragonflies were feasting on other flying insects that truly were the ones biting the horses. The Italians believed that Satan sent dragonflies up from hell to cause mischief in the world.
Dragonfly myths and folklore spread from Europe to the Americas. The dragonfly was given the name of “Devil’s Darning Needle” because of an almost comical superstition about the dragonfly sewing the mouths shut of lying children, scolding women and cursing men as they slept. The Navaho Indians believe the dragonfly to be symbolic of water purity and reflect it in many of the textiles and jewelry they design. One of most delightful stories about the dragonfly is a Zuni myth about two children who were left behind by the villagers when the corn crop failed. The little boy constructed a toy dragonfly from corn husks to cheer up his sister. The dragonfly eventually came to life and appeased the corn maidens who created a bountiful harvest of corn to welcome the villagers back.
Dragonfly--Flighty, carefree. Dragonflies symbolize whirlwind, swiftness and activity. The dragonfly is an important insect in Zuni legend, where they are shamanistic creatures with supernatural powers. In Hopi rock art, the dragonfly is symbolized by a vertical line with two or sometimes one, horizontal cross line.
Illusion is the lesson of Dragonfly
The colors in Dragonfly’s wings remind us of colors not found in our everyday life experience. The shifting of color, energy, form, and movement of dragonfly explodes into the mind of the observer. It brings vague memories of a time when magic reigned.
The winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment, and the communications from the elemental world are the essence of Dragonfly. This elemental world is made up of the tiny spirits of plants and the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. This elemental world is full of nature spirits.
Embrace your encounter with dragonfly...no matter how she has come to you....
she is a messenger.....
it will be magic....