Dragonflies are, without argument, one of the most mystical of creatures. With their glittering wings that catch the sunlight like the jewels of an ancient crown and their movements seem to defy the laws of physics, a visit from a dragonfly is simply magical.
But the dragonfly can provide us with more than just the wonder of nature when you see one. Often seen as a divine, spiritual, or psychic messenger sent from on high, a dragonfly sighting has a number of hidden and special meanings that can be attributed to it. Here’s everything you need to know about what it means when you see a dragonfly.
Adapt and Transform
A dragonfly sighting is special for a number of reasons, but most significantly because dragonflies are more than just beautiful — they are living manifestations of being able to adapt and transform to suit any and all situations that life may throw at you.
The change and transformation that a dragonfly undergoes during its life cycle are synonymous with the type of spiritual growth that can grant you wings, allowing you to soar above your humble beginnings. That’s why those who are accustomed to change, both in themselves and bringing it to others, often identify with these unique and beautiful insects.
The Symbolism of Metamorphosis
The symbolism surrounding the dragonfly is perhaps more subtle than it needs to be. The life cycle of a dragonfly is similar to that of a butterfly — they both begin their lives in forms that are vastly different, only to undergo a radical metamorphosis once reaching maturity. Yet there are some important differences that make the dragonfly an even more powerful symbol of change than its close cousin.
Unlike a butterfly, which begins life as a tree-dwelling caterpillar, the dragonfly first lives as a water-dwelling insect known as a nymph. Also, while a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly over just a season, a nymph can go through a dozen or more moltings before it becomes capable of flight. This process can take literally years before a nymph becomes a dragonfly. In this way, the journey from nymph to dragonfly mirrors the spiritual journey we all take to seek enlightenment — the long, sometimes arduous and seemingly unending quest to become our best selves. The reward is to soar through the heavens, a literal one for the dragonfly and a more symbolic one for ourselves, but a reward nonetheless.
The symbology of the dragonfly doesn’t end there. These unique insects have such a wide field of view that it’s believed they can see a full 360 degrees. Such an ability to take in all perspectives can teach us to look for the bigger picture at all times. The incredible speed and manoeuvrability of the dragonfly, due to all four of its wings being capable of independent movement, teach us the benefits of responding to our surroundings with both physical and emotional agility. With the great success of the dragonfly as a species outliving the dinosaurs and surviving millions of years to today, we learn the strengths of resilience and perseverance.
The Native Symbolism of the Dragonfly
The dragonfly plays a strong role in native symbolism. While Native American cultures approach these symbols in different ways, there are a number of traditions that have assigned protective healing roles to the dragonfly. Both the Pueblo and the Hopi venerated the dragonfly as symbols of transformation and of health; in fact, Pueblo traditions held the life of a dragonfly as sacred.
The affinity for water that the dragonfly shares means that many native tribes use representations of it in prayers and ceremonies that call upon the power of water. Healing rituals and prayers for rain often make use of rattles adorned with the image of the dragonfly in these cases. These same rattles can be used in purification or cleansing rituals, when giving thanks to the spirits for providing abundance, or when seeking spiritual guidance from unseen forces.
The Dragonfly as Spiritual Guardian
Identifying your spiritual guardian is a tricky thing. Many believe that we have little control over the spiritual guardians we choose, and in fact, don’t get to choose them at all. Instead, the truth is revealed to us when we are ready.
If you’ve been picked by the dragonfly to be your spiritual guardian, rejoice. These creatures are representative of positive change and growth and identify with those who are emotionally and spiritually in tune with themselves and their surroundings. Be sure to pay close attention to what the dragonfly has to tell you.
Dragonflies: Spirit World Messengers
Even if you don’t particularly identify with the dragonfly, there is much you can learn from these jewelled beauties. If you experience a visit from one or two dragonflies that just don’t seem to want to leave you alone, you might be receiving a message from the spirit world to take things a little less seriously. These joyous masters of the skies tell us to enjoy the moment; if you’re being pestered by a couple, it’s a wake-up call from the universe.
There are a number of different ways the dragonfly can appear in your life. There’s the physical manifestation, which is more noteworthy if you’re not near its natural habitat. You can see the dragonfly shape in a cloud scudding across the sky, in the supermarket on a bottle of spring water, or in your dreams. Whatever way the dragonfly manifests itself to you, the message will be clear — live your life with joy and with a dedication to positive change.
Finally, the dragonfly is a favourite messenger of the spirit world because of its unique symbolism. Loved ones who have gone before us can reach out through the natural world to leave messages for us, and smaller creatures are often their most prized messengers. Small, brightly-coloured, and unmistakable, the dragonfly is ideal for catching your attention when the universe is trying to speak directly to you.