Dragonfly Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)

dragonfly

Dragonfly symbolism is associated with change and transformation. A dragonfly carries with it the wisdom of transformation and adaptability. 

Other than these dragonfly symbol meanings, there are many other symbolic representations for a dragonfly, which depend upon one’s circumstances and life situations. 

In this guide, we will break down the significance of dragonfly and also discuss its role as a totem and power animal. 

Table of contents

Dragonfly symbolism and meaning

A dragonfly symbol represents change and transformation. It is a reminder for you to shed more light and joy in your life. It tells you not to remain in the dark or the shadows. 

A dragonfly encourages you to dive into your emotions and asks your spirit to soar with your true colors. Have you seen a dragonfly in the sunshine? It is gorgeous! 

What do dragonflies mean? A dragonfly asks us to break free from our illusions. As it reflects light, it asks us to reflect our inner light. 

dragonfly

It encourages us to be adaptable, creative and inspired even if it means changing the way we act or think so we can achieve our full potential. 

So what do dragonflies symbolize? A dragonfly asks you to express your true feelings as you stand in your authentic self and speak your truth in grace and love. So a dragonfly meaning can be summarized as ‘transformation to become who we really are.’ 

We generally see dragonflies near water bodies. And water represents emotions and the unconscious part of the soul. Therefore, seeing dragonflies could mean that we should explore our feelings, emotions, and the inner-self, although in a joyful and light manner.

Dragonfly Native American symbolism

Many Native American Societies have depicted symbol of dragonfly in their artwork and motifs.  Pots made by Mimbres tribes have been found in what is now southwestern New Mexico having stylized dragonfly icons. 

In other cases, dragonflies were depicted by two parallel lines crossed by a single fatter line. From the Native American viewpoint, dragonflies represent spring, rebirth, and renewal. 

Navajo sand paintings and pottery with decorative dragonflies have been found in the Southwest. People would depict dragonflies to ensure good rain and symbolize more water in these otherwise dry areas. (1

native american silhouette

Many Native American myths believe the dragonfly symbol meaning as swiftness, illusion, and change. Some stories also suggested that they were sent by Satan to cause mischief in the world. Dragonflies were also called Devil’s Darning Needles. 

Young children were told that if they spoke lies, the Devil’s Darning Needle would sew their mouths shut.Dragonflies were also referred to as snake feeders and snake doctors. 

The Zuni Indians regarded the dragonfly as possessing supernatural powers and it was a taboo to kill one. In the Navajo Legend of Creation, the First World was a small island inhabited by insect people – the insects were of different types, including dragonflies. (2)

Dragonfly Christianity symbolism

A dragonfly is a symbol of Christianity. It is born underwater and lives in the dark before rising up to the light. When it first emerges, it is colorless and transparent. But, when sunlight hits its body, it becomes beautiful, colorful, and magical. 

Thus, light transforms the dragonfly. This is symbolic to Christians in the way they can all become transformed and colorful when the light of Lord Jesus shines upon them.

cross

Matthey 5:14-16 states:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and hide it under the bowl. 

Instead, they put it on a stand so its light can be shone upon everybody so that the light can shine and illuminate everyone. 

In the same way, let your light shine upon men. Let them see and praise your good deeds. You, in turn, praise the Father in heaven.”

Dragonflies are reminders to keep our sight upon God. They represent change. As a creature in the water, they represent the lack of knowledge and awareness. 

As they come out in the light and become beautiful, they represent our movement into the Light of God from the depths of disillusionment and darkness. Dragonfly spiritual meaning: prosperity, strength, courage, peace, harmony, and purity. (3

Dragonfly Celtic symbolism

Celtic myth has nearly 23 different names for the dragonfly. There are many poems written about it and they are mentioned in many Celtic stories, legends, and myths.

The Dance of the Dragonfly

It cleanses space with dance
Fire burns like a thousand suns
Within its soul

Sun catching its wings
Brightness to its gaze
Transforming the days
Flitting, flying, hovering.

Forging a path for its journey within
It dances a space so sacred, so rare
Dances with the sun in a sky so fair
The trance of dragonfly dance

celtic cross

Celtic legends talk about dragonfly as a magical being. Its wings are iridescent and change colors depending on how light falls on them. The eye of the dragonfly can see a vision in 360-degrees-symbolizing the human mind that seeks beyond its limitations, above the mundane. 

So, the meaning of a dragonfly crosses your path is to live life in its fullness. Many Irish, Scottish, and Gaelic legends talk about the magic of dragonflies. They represent overcoming delusions about the self. 

Many describe the dance of the dragonfly and the very fact that it can hover or fly backward. Its magnificent eyes are receptors to everything that falls in its vision. Celts talk about the symbolism of dragonfly in dreams – it portends transformation. Its flight is short, belonging to summer and autumn, yet it teaches man so much about himself. (4)

Dragonfly in dreams

To dream of a dragonfly, is to appreciate the need for freedom but equally to recognize that freedom can be short-lived. We may be pursuing a dream without any real focus as to what we want in life. 

Our reactions are instinctive rather than logical. Although the dragonfly has a short life, it represents regeneration and immortality. (5

In Dragonfly Dreaming: A Spiritual Journey, author Anna Pye believes that dragonflies themselves are keeps of dreams. They are the all-knowing beings that see our true potential. 

dragonfly

A dragonfly strips away all illusions that say to us that we cannot achieve our dreams and goals, that we are worthy and capable, and that it is our birthright and true power to choose anything we want. (6)

To dream of a dragonfly means that change is on the horizon. A dragonfly itself changes through different life stages- from a nymph to larva to adult. Its entire lifecycle is only about a year, but it spends most of its nymph-stage underwater. 

Only when it becomes an adult, does it come out of the water. And when it does, it is dull, transparent, and unattractive. However, the moment the sunlight touches its wings; then you see it transformed into a gorgeous being.

Dragonfly encounters and omens

What does it mean when you see a dragonfly? There are different meanings associated with encountering a dragonfly – some good, some negative. 

For example, on fishing trips, seeing a dragonfly is considered a good omen, for it is believed that dragonflies point out to the areas or spots having plenty of fish. 

People who believe in magic, and angels, or those who do light-work and healing work, believe that dragonflies symbolize positive changes. 

dragonfly

These magical workers also believe that if you see a dragonfly, it may be telling you that whatever you are doing is on the right track and that you should continue doing that.

In many parts of the United States, seeing dragonflies can invoke fear because they are believed to sew your nose, mouth, eyes, and ears shut. Killing a dragonfly is also considered an ill omen; it symbolizes that someone close to you – a family member – will die. 

According to ancient folklore, to cut off the head of a mosquito-hawk or dragonfly is to invite death upon oneself. Whoever wrings the neck of this insect will be beheaded. The dragonfly goes “tci, tci,tci” in your ears. It is a warning – Look out, you are going towards destruction!” (7)

Dragonfly mythology and folklore

Dragonflies belong to the order Odonata and are found all around the world. There are nearly 5000 species of dragonflies and sometimes, they occupy the same iconographic niche as butterflies.

They are also associated with warriors in many cultures. The ancient Egyptians represented dragonflies as stock elements in papyrus swampland scenes. 

Dragonfly emblems and symbols were found on many objects of the Great Plains, including shields, clothing, and personal adornments. Warriors admired the speed and darting movements of the dragonflies and wished to emulate them. 

zeus statue

In Welsh mythology, the meaning of dragonfly is the snake’s servant as it seems to follow the snake around. In Japan, dragonflies are revered. In fact, one of the names of Japan is Akitsushima, which means island of dragonflies. 

The Japanese hero Jimmu-Tenno is said to have given Honshu the name of Dragonfly Island. As per the legend, the emperor was struck by the resemblance to dragonflies. Japanese people also believe that dragonflies are the vehicles for the return of the dead ancestors who come back for the summer feast of the dead. 

Samurai warriors hold the dragonfly in high respect and depict them on swords and arrows – since both weapons should fly fast and straight like the dragonflies. (8) In China, dragonfly animal spirit meaning brings good luck and is used in love spells. However, in some parts of the country, dragonflies signal unsteadiness.

Dragonfly spirit animal

As spirit animals, Dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When a dragonfly enters your life as a spirit animal, it may be asking you not to take life too seriously. 

It may even ask you to dance and seek the light. Dragonfly spirit animal represents adaptability, joy, and lightness of being. 

It is a symbol of the realm of feelings, asking you to dive deep into your emotions. Spirit animal dragonfly may be suggesting you connect with nature’s spirits, fairies, and realm.

A dragonfly spends most of its life underwater in the nymph and larval form. And even when it emerges from the water, it is colorless and plain. No sooner does it seek the light, than it transforms into a beautiful creature that is fast, beautiful, and even alert and motivated like a warrior. 

Therefore, the answer to the question: what is the spiritual meaning of a dragonfly is that you should be ready for a change. The dragonfly tells you that you are on the right track and that you should continue doing what you do because positive transformation is on the horizon.

If a dragonfly spirit comes to you, you may be asked to explore your emotions in a light and joyful manner. (9)

Dragonfly totem animal

What does a dragonfly represent as a totem? The beautiful dragonfly tells you that deep transformation is on the way and that you are about to emerge forever changed and far wiser.

What does seeing a dragonfly mean? The dragonfly is asking you to transform your thoughts into things that will manifest. Transformation can be tough. 

It can bring with its ups and downs. But the dragonfly is with you and shows you that these going-ons are for your highest good. The dragonfly is asking you to look within and gain depth to your persona in these times.

dragonfly

These transformations also help change you, make you more mature, and allow you to see the bigger picture. If you are wondering, ‘why do I keep seeing dragonflies?’ The answer could be that the Universe is asking you to become more compassionate and kind towards everyone starting with yourself. 

Dragonfly totem animal is a good omen that is telling you that despite the situation, good or bad, you are developing and evolving towards something more meaningful. 

This transformation is also going to shape you into something beautiful. Your life has a purpose and the dragonfly totem animal is bringing intense clarity about it. (10)

Dragonfly power animal

Native Americans actually believed that dragonflies were once dragons! If a dragonfly is your power animal, you are an expert at what you do because you have honed your skills through repetition, discipline, and attention to detail.

What does dragonfly symbolize? It represents that you’ve been an emotionally intense person since childhood. You must spend time outside, especially near the water bodies. 

That is what the dragonfly does – it flits and dances near the lakes and ponds. You also need the sunlight and without it, you become dull and morose.

dragonfly

Ask for dragonfly’s help when you feel emotionally overwhelmed. If your life has come to a stagnant routine and you desire to change but don’t know what to do, call upon the dragonfly power animal for guidance. 

Call the dragonfly power animal when you are involved in many different activities and need to balance your time and energy. To harness your dragonfly’s power, make a list of things you want to change. 

Choose three of the most important ones and make strategies to make those changes. For a week, try bathing yourself in natural sunlight for at least 30 minutes, preferably near a water body, and see how it makes you feel. You can also wear colorful clothes and see how they make you feel. (11)

Dragonfly tattoo meaning

In most scenarios, dragonfly tattoos symbolize change and transformation. Seeing a dragonfly is symbolic of having one’s dreams come true. It also means that positive change or transformation is on the horizon. 

The Aboriginals tattooed dragonflies on their skin to represent freedom and enlightenment. The spiritual meaning of dragonflies is the light of God. It also means looking within and dancing – just like a dragonfly. 

To a warrior and fighter, a dragonfly tattoo represents agility, power, speed, victory, and courage. It also symbolizes rebirth, immortality, transformation, adaptation, and spiritual awakening. 

woman getting a tattoo

In many Asian countries, dragonfly tattoos are a symbol of prosperity, good luck, and harmony. They also represent renewal after great hard work or loss. Have you decided to get a dragonfly tattoo? It is a great choice! 

Dragonflies symbolize many things- and like with most symbols, the meaning and interpretation of a dragonfly tattoo can change. Therefore, it is important to discuss your vision with a tattoo artist. 

Ask your tattoo artist to depict the dragonfly with delicate fine lines, gossamer-thin and opalescent wings, and slender body. If possible, ask to see sample photos of dragonfly tattoos – should not be too difficult since dragonflies are a frequent insect subject of tattoo art.

Conclusion

As can be seen, dragonfly symbolism has different meanings in different cultures. It mainly represents change and transformation. It also means spiritual growth and lightness of being. 

Whether you have been dreaming of dragonflies, or wish to get a dragonfly tattoo, we hope this guide helps you answer the question of what do dragonflies represent?

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5 thoughts on “Dragonfly Symbolism & Meaning (+Totem, Spirit & Omens)”

  1. I started to google after I saw many young dragonflies resting in my small garden. They look amazing & I feel nostalgic as I used to catch them when I was a young kid.

    xx Julie

  2. Cresencio bernier

    Hello been having dragon flies visit me since I lost my girlfriend to COVID it was not like they were flying high they were flying low like almost right in my face wow what a feeling it gave me …thru everything I’m going thru I’m finding strength and it’s beyond words …i made my wish and feel so good about my wish thank you to all who read ….make a wish please

    1. Condolences on the loss of your girlfriend. I never thought about getting visits from dragonflies as a positive sign until reading Garth’s entry. I’ve had several this year hover around my car, and yesterday rescued one from inside a window at a restaurant. (and I’m not near water when I see them) I would like to think now the ones I see will be good omens for a court matter, our family home was stolen and sold under forged signatures.

  3. Hi, I’m Jeannie.
    I am a big lover of birds, butterflies and dragonflies. Thank you for your help today on the meaningful sightings of dragonflies.
    – Smiles from Kansas.
    🦋🦋🦋

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