This week (w/c May 11th) I finally got the news that some restrictions were being lifted and local fisheries were opening. My hubby and I are keen fisher-people although our sort of fishing involves sitting in a chair by a lake surrounded by trees, wild flowers and peace and quiet - apart from the sounds of birds, the geese and ducks and the sounds of splashing. Perfect!!
So, one day we loaded the car with our rods and nets and headed off. It was so lovely to sit there in the warm sunshine. I find that while sitting there, I tend to drift off in my mind, watching the trees move and the insects and birds as they go about their busy daily lives. One insect that kept darting back and forth and never appearing to stop was a Dragonfly. I tried to capture a photo of it but it wouldn’t stay still long enough – too busy whizzing over the lake, darting about among the reeds and lilly pads. It was quite lovely to watch. As I sat there watching I began to think about Dragonfly and its magical properties..
The word ‘Dragonfly’ conjures up some wonderful images for me and these beautiful insects never fail to impress. Dragonflies have been around for a staggering 300 million years and worldwide there are about 5000 known species – 23 of these are found in the UK although others from continental Europe have been known to make an occasional visit.
Dragonflies are an insect in the sub-order Anisoptera which means ‘unequal winged’ - referring to the hind wings being shorter and broader than the wings at the front. Dragonflies are also a name that has been used for Damselflies – probably because they are both from the scientific order Odonata, but a true dragonfly is quite large with very big eyes which touch at the top of their head. Their wing size is also different from the damselfly. They are able to fly forward and backwards and up to speeds of 30 mph. The male and female of each species differ in looks too, but all have 3 life stages – egg, larva and adult. The larva stage is the longest, being from a few months to a few years. The adult life expectancy is fairly short – usually no more than a week or two and in that short time they will be flitting about, eating other flying insects and building up their strength in order to reproduce before their short life is extinguished.
So, what meaning and message does Dragonfly have for you and me should it fly into our lives?
Dragonfly is about change and transformation, about adaptability. It’s also connected to the realm of our emotions, being able to explore deeper into our feelings.
Change and transformation will come along throughout our lives – sometimes it is welcome, other times not so. Changes can happen in many ways for many different reasons but these changes are needed in order to reach our full potential in life.
Dragonfly flits about on its wings, darting from one place to another almost effortlessly around ponds, rivers and lakes. Water, as we know, is very much connected with emotions and the flight of its wings are connected with air and in turn, our minds and thoughts. Is there a decision that you have been putting off making? Dragonflies appearance is letting you know that now is the time to decide and move forward with it. Take that leap of faith!
Dragonflies are the keepers of dreams and wishes. They inspire us to be spiritual and creative, to walk a path of new discoveries.
In Dakota mythology, the dragonfly is associated with mirage or illusion. Things aren't always what they seem and life itself is not it appears to be.
In Ireland and other parts of Europe, dragonflies are associated with the faery realm. If you follow a dragonfly, it would take you to the fae. Dragonflies also have the ability to travel between worlds.
In Japan they symbolize courage, strength and happiness.
Fisherman used dragonflies as an indicator of a good fishing spot with plentiful fish. A dragonfly hovering near was meant as a good luck sign.
Dragonfly have also been given bad press. They have been associated with the ‘devil’ being called ‘Devils Darning Needles’ as they were said to be able to sew up the mouths, ears or eyes (or all 3) shut of misbehaving children. They have also been called ‘horse stingers’ as they were thought wrongly, to sting horses. But in fact, they were only after the small flying insects that would bother the horses.
They have also been called a ‘snake doctor’. Dragonflies were thought of as a protector of snakes and having the ability to sew them up if injured or bring them back to life!
Away from all the different attributes, Dragonflies represent grace and beauty. It is lovely to be able to sit and watch them as the sun glints on their bodies and wings as they move seamlessly over the water. I wondered as I sat watching what message this beautiful winged insect had for me – and now I know...
Element: water, air
Deities: Freya, Ix-Chel
Symbols: good luck, strength, peace, harmony, change, transformation,