These ancient creatures appear to be magnificent and wondrous and are indeed beautiful but they also have a dark side.
They start life as a nymph and some species are cannibals. They then emerge from the water that had been their home to become the dragonfly that we are familiar with. As they get older, their colours brighten. This metamorphosis means the dragonfly, like the butterfly and the moth, is associated with change and transformation.
As adults, they continue their aggressive war path and are little, iridescent hunting machines. Their eyes are large and allow them to see considerably faster than humans. Imagine sight as a flip book, we would see 60 images a second, the dragonfly would see 200. This excellent vision means they are very precise hunters.
Dragonflies are territorial and will fight other dragonflies for their space. What are you defending? As we’ve seen before, this could be literal space or it could be values or beliefs. But we also get defensive when we don’t need to be.
Dragonflies are hard to pin down and whilst it may seem like they are always on the move, they do have to ground themselves from time to time. Metaphorically, the dragonflies activity suggests a very active mind (moving rapidly through the air, the realm of intellect) which flits from thing to thing. This evokes a changing energy which struggles to complete a task. If you feel this is reflective of you, do make sure to build in some grounding time as well.
There is no denying that there is something magical and other worldly about the dragonfly, even with it’s violent nature.
The dragonfly spends part of it’s life as a water nymph and part of it as a sky warrior. Water, as we’ll see when we get to that suit, is all about emotions and feelings. The dragonfly nymph is comfortable in the depths and invites us to spend time with our emotions. Once it has plunged it’s emotional depths and developed emotional understanding and maturity, it is time to emerge into the air and master the realm of the mind. Perhaps we must also master our emotions before we can fully become a master of knowledge.
These ethereal creatures, unsurprisingly, are linked with faeries. The dragonfly moves so fast, twisting and turning and flitting around that it is no wonder that some people believed they were magical beings. Their active nature means they can be considered flighty and unreliable and are sometimes associated with illusions and deception. Don’t get distracted from lies by their sparkling packaging.
In some European cultures ‘draco’ meant devil as well as dragon and thus the dragonfly became associated with evil, as highlighted in old local names for them, eg devils darning needle. Stories were told to naughty children that their bad behaviour would result in the dragonfly sewing their mouth shut whilst they slept.
But it’s not all bad… In Japan, dragonflies are revered for their hunting prowess, alertness and attention to detail. They were used as a symbol for warriors who were going into battle and even used as inspiration for the helmet itself.
These insects may not be the kindhearted faeries we thought they were but their attributes are still ones we can use in our everyday life. Just as the Japanese channelled them for war, we need to find the right outlet. A going in for the kill approach probably won’t help you to get your children to clean their room but is great in a sales pitch. It’s all about the time and the place.