Dragonfly – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

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Dragonflies are insects with recognizable features, such as large eyes, two pairs of transparent wings and elongated body, as well as extraordinary iridescent or metallic color of their body and wings. There are around 3000 species of dragonflies, mostly tropical.

These insects are predators, both in the larval stage and as adults. They are fast fliers, who often live near water. Some species migrate across oceans. Nowadays they are threatened by the loss of their habitat.

Dragonflies are used in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicine and eaten as food in Indonesia. The oldest fossils of dragonflies are around 325 million years old.

In Japanese culture, dragonflies symbolize strength, happiness and courage. In the European folklore they are not considered a very good omen.

These insects are present on every continent, excluding Antarctica. They live mostly in tropical areas and some species are adapted to live in deserts. They live in altitudes up to 3700 meters high.

Dragonflies have an elongated body with a large head and large eyes. Their eyes are covered with facets which provide the dragonfly with complete vision of its frontal hemisphere. They have an unusually long abdomen.

Adult dragonflies usually have brilliant colors, usually red, yellow, brown, black, blue, and green.

Dragonfly nymphs feed on freshwater invertebrates and sometimes small fish. The adult dragonflies catch their prey in the air, using their precise flight and excellent vision.

These insects have a complex system of mating.

They are very territorial, especially males, and defend their territory near water where they have good conditions for females to lay the eggs and their larvae to develop. Some species choose still water and some choose flowing waters.

Some species live in temporary water pools. The size of their territory differs and they manage to keep it from minutes to hours. The females mate with the territory holders before laying their eggs.

Males sometimes harass females, which is the reason for some females to be able to appear deceptively like males, some even pretend their death to avoid the males.

The mating process is very precise. The male attracts the female to its territory scaring away rival males. They mate in so called “wheel” or “heart” position, with their bodies connected during flight.

Males are very competitive and they try to prevent their rivals from removing their sperm from the female and inserting theirs. If a rival succeeds it scrapes out the inserted sperm and inserts his.

Dragonflies undergo an incomplete metamorphosis. They spend most of their lives under water as nymphs. The larval stage of large species can last up to five years and up to three years for smaller species. When the time comes, the adult dragonfly crawls from the larva. Their average lifespan is seven months.

They are very strong and skillful fliers, able to move in all directions and change direction suddenly. They can move in six directions: downward, upward, right, left, forward, and backward. They have different styles of flying as well. They hover, fly slowly, free glide, etc.

They are very enduring and are able to fly over seas during their migrations. Large dragonflies fly with an average speed of 22 to 34 miles per hour.

To be able to fly, dragonflies need to maintain a proper temperature of their flight muscles.

They often rise their temperature lying in the sun, but they need to pay attention not to overheat. One of their special abilities is used for camouflage.

Namely, the dragonfly is capable to appear stationary to the enemy, which is unable to see it.

Dragonflies are mainly carnivorous, and they eat small insects such as mosquitoes, but they also eat small dragonflies, butterflies, moths, etc. They eat up to one fifth of their body weight in a day.

These insects are very fast, but some animals such as falcons, hawks, wasps, etc. prey on them.

Due to the loss of their habitat, these insects are endangered. Their greatest threat is deforestation and drying up streams. 

What do dragonflies symbolize?

Dragonflies are considered as powerful symbols in many cultures throughout human history. They are considered a symbol of activity and swiftness by some Native American tribes. Many Native American Indians use them as motifs in their jewelry and pottery.

Dragonflies are used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine.

Their images are also used as a motif in contemporary jewelry, fabrics, as well as home furnishings and decorations.

In Japan the dragonfly symbolizes autumn. In Japanese culture in general, dragonflies symbolize happiness, strength, courage and they often appear in their literature and art.

The Native Americans believe that a dragonfly was once a dragon which was tricked to shape-shift into that form by a coyote, and when it did, it couldn’t shift back into its original dragon form.

In European culture, dragonflies usually don’t have a positive meaning and are often considered a sinister omen. They even have such names attributed to them, like the “devil’s needle” or “ear cutter” to point out that they are related to something evil.

In Swedish folklore it is even considered that the dragonflies are used by the devil to weigh the souls of people. These insects are also associated with snakes.

Dragonflies symbolize change as well as change of perspective in some situation. The change is a result of mental and emotional maturity. It comes after a lot of experience and discoveries of one’s life purpose.

Dragonflies in general symbolize changes, skills, agility, adaptability, emotional depth, joy, connection to spirit, wisdom, being one with nature, magic, swiftness, transformation, renewal, emotion, rebirth, the psyche, life cycles, going with the flow, allowance, good luck, illusion, peace, lightness, inner light, prosperity, strength, purity, and expression.

The Spiritual Meaning of the dragonfly

Dragonflies are considered spiritual creatures, symbolizing our transformation and spiritual growth. They are inspiring the process of our spiritual evolvement.

They remind us to be appreciative of the gifts we were blessed with by the Universe.

Sometimes, they can be considered our spiritual guides, showing us the path through difficult times in our lives, inspiring us to let go of the past and focus on the future. 

What does it mean when a dragonfly lands on you?

A dragonfly landing on is usually considered a sign of good luck you will soon experience. It is an announcement of fortunate events and experiences about to happen in your life.

According to some Native American tribes’ beliefs, when a dragonfly lands on you, it represents the soul of someone who had passed away.

Dragonfly tattoo meaning

A dragonfly image on a tattoo has many different meanings, but overall has deep symbolic meaning embedded within. The dragonfly is both water and an air insect, and embodies the symbolism of these two elements.

The dragonfly is also a very powerful symbol in different cultures around the world.

Dragons go through a process of metamorphosis during their growth. Because of that as a tattoo image, dragonflies often symbolize the process of personal transformation someone is going through or a confirmation of the transformation someone has undergone.

They could also symbolize a transition from the past to the future.

The dragonfly tattoo also symbolizes change, overcoming obstacles and continuing to move forward with your life. It symbolizes embracing the changes you are going through and seeing them as something very positive and useful for your life.

Dragonfly tattoos also symbolize your strength and courage, as well as your happiness and joyful nature.

They symbolize freedom and your powerful emotions, as well as having the strength to express your emotions freely without fearing the consequences of your actions.

Dragonfly tattoos symbolize being done with the past and opening the doors for new experiences and people to enter your life. They symbolize your adventurous and wild nature and the fact that you are unrestrained and free spirit.

They also symbolize your independent nature and eagerness for new experiences. These tattoo images also symbolize freeing yourself from old limitations and past beliefs.

This tattoo image represents your spiritual nature. It also symbolizes death and being born again into a new and improved person.

When additional eyes are added on the wings of a dragonfly on a tattoo image, these eyes represent the All – Seeing Eye of God watching and protecting all of humanity. If there are multiple eyes depicted, they can also represent the past, the present time as well as the future. 

The Meanings of Dragonfly as a Spirit Animal

The dragonfly spirit animal has many different meanings. Here are some of them:

Skill and agility. Dragonflies are skilled flyers. They are able to move in six different directions and even fly in place to full potential predators. These traits are a result of long evolution and symbolically represent maturity and wisdom.

The dragonfly totem animal teaches you to use wise your abilities and to your maximum advantage.

Change. The dragonfly appears in different colors under different angles. It changes constantly. This totem animal is teaching you the gift of accepting change and living with it the best you can. It reminds us that life is constant change and that every new moment brings something new.

Magic. Dragonflies sometimes appear surreal. They symbolize strong connection to nature and the spirits which live there. Because of that dragonflies symbolize magic and impossible being possible.

Transformation. In the developing process, the dragonflies go through metamorphosis until they reach their adult phase. Because of that, they symbolize transformation and the process of growth and evolvement. The dragonfly is asking you to accept the natural processes of transformation you are going through because they will help your personal growth.

Going with the flow. The dragonfly is able to fly in many different ways. This totem animal is teaching you to simply relax in life and go with the flow. That way you won’t represent and obstacle to the manifestation of your desires with your unnecessary worries and doubts.

Flexibility and adaptability. Dragonflies are very skilled fliers which adapt to any circumstances and skillfully hide to avoid predators. This totem animal is teaching you to use your abilities to adapt to certain situations as well as to avoid situations and circumstances you don’t want to be a part of.

Life cycles. The dragonfly goes through various stages of development before it reaches its adult stage. This totem animal teaches us to accept the stages of our life as a natural process which begins with being born and ends with death. It asks us to enjoy every stage and embrace it with joy and not sadness because the past one is gone.

Every phase of life brings something new and rewarding into our lives and that is how we should look at them and appreciate them.

Dragonfly as Your Totem Animal

If the dragonfly is your totem animal, you are most likely a very intelligent person, quick-witted and adaptable. You easily fit in with new situations, people and places. You are not afraid to make changes in your life and you embrace them with joy.

You are a person who tries to look at the bright side of things, and don’t let yourself be discouraged if the circumstances don’t seem to be as you had expected. You always tend to imagine a positive outcome.

You are a very emotional person but you don’t allow that affect your reasoning. You know when it’s time to take action and you won’t let anything stop you from doing what you desire.

With the dragonfly as your totem animal, you are most likely a very lucky person and often blessed with the ability to be in the right place at the right moment.

You might be interested in magic and mystical subjects. You could also have a solid knowledge on the subjects and possibly practice some skills. You have a strong intuition which helps you decide the right action you need to take in every situation.

You are often in pursuit of knowledge and expanding your horizons. You also seek spiritual evolvement and continuously work towards achieving your spiritual growth.

What if the Dragonfly Appears in Your Life?

The dragonfly often appears in our lives to lighten it a bit and add a touch of flawlessness. Maybe you have become too serious and overwhelmed with every day duties and routine, and you have stopped to enjoy the beauty and the simple things in life.

Dragonflies remind us to bring back the happiness in our lives and lighten them a bit.

This totem animal appears in your life often when there is a need for changes and transformation of your personality. Be prepared to adapt quickly for the change that is coming into your life. The dragonfly appearing in your life could help you release the past and move on with your life.

It could also help you go through a needed transformation of your personality without emotional consequences.

Dragonflies often appear in our lives to help us get out of a situation which seems hard to overcome. They help us decide on the actions we need to take.

The dragonfly totem could be a sign to pay attention to your desires and only imagine them already fulfilled.

Sometimes a dragonfly appears in our lives to encourage us to make some important decisions we have been postponing for a long time. It could be asking us to pay attention to the opportunities which are offered to us.

The dragonfly is asking us to seize them because they might not be available again.

The dragonflies also remind us to live life fully and enjoy every moment of it. Be satisfied with the circumstances you already have and be grateful for them.

Don’t look at tomorrow as the only time which could bring you happiness. Be happy now because every moment of your now is actually your future. Become aware that you already are living your future. 

When to call on Dragonfly?

Call on dragonfly totem animal when:

  • You need to adapt to some situation or some changes you are going through;
  • You need to release some stuck emotional patterns and negativity;
  • You need to see though some self – deceit and self – illusions;
  • You are stuck in some situation and you need help getting out;
  • You need to view a situation or a problem from a different perspective;
  • You need help deciding on whether to seize some opportunity which has been offered to you;

Dreams about a Dragonfly – Interpretation and Meaning

When a dragonfly appears in your dreams, that dream could be a reminder to be cautious in some situations. It could also indicate that there are some secrets hidden from you.

As in real life, dragonflies are a powerful symbol of change when they appear in our dreams as well. They symbolize changes and transformations you will need to undergo soon. These dreams could also symbolize the rebirth of your personality after the changes and transformations are over.

If a dragonfly landed on you in a dream that could indicate some fortunate changes happening soon in your life. A dead dragonfly in your dream could be a sign of some unfortunate changes you might experience.

A dream about dragonflies could also symbolize the balance between your mind and your emotions. Sometimes, they could symbolize being instable and flighty and reminding you to establish and maintain your stability, both mental and emotional because it is very important for your overall wellbeing.

Dreams about dragonflies often indicate the action you are always in. They could also indicate being very passionate and direct and sometimes hurting the feelings of others because of that.

In some cases, these dreams indicate false beliefs and convictions you are holding on to. Maybe they indicate that some things or people are not what they appear to be so the dream is asking you to be attentive and cautious.

These dreams could also indicate the development of your creativity and imagination.