Dragonfly Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing Dragonflies

Photo: Nadezhda Shuparskaia / shutterstock
dragonfly symbolism

Not only have dragonflies have been around for 300 million years, but there are about 7,000 species, and they can flap their wings at a rate of about 40 Hz. It's said that the prehistoric ancestors of dragonflies were much larger than they are today, with a wingspan of nearly 2.5 feet!

These creatures are known for not hurting humans and for flying for most of the day. And, speaking of flying, an adult dragonfly is one of the fastest insects, reaching up to 30 miles per hour.

In terms of dragonfly symbolism, some people believe that if a dragonfly lands on your head it means good luck. But what do these fast-flying, non-biting good luck charms symbolize?

Dragonfly Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings Of Dragonflies

There are several interpretations of what dragonflies symbolize, but dragonflies are mostly associated with love, growth, new development, adaptability, rebirth, transformation, and hope.

Dragonflies are a symbol of maturity and new beginnings, urging you to live life to the fullest.

RELATED: What Does It Mean When You See A White Butterfly

Dragonfly Encounters and Omens

If a dragonfly visits you, it's generally seen as a good omen. In most cultures, dragonflies are a sign of good luck and prosperity, so if you encounter one, make a wish and it may just come true.

This belief comes from the fact that when dragonflies are around, it usually meant there were plenty of fish in the surrounding water. If a dragonfly was near a fisherman, he usually ended up with a great catch.

Dragonflies are often found around bodies of water, and water represents emotions and the unconscious part of the soul. Seeing dragonflies can mean that we should explore our feelings, emotions, and inner-self, but in a joyful and light manner.

Dragonflies are a reminder that you need to see through self-created illusions that limit your growth. When you encounter a dragonfly, it means you should focus on your growth and prepare for a phase of transformation or change.

What Different Color Dragonflies Symbolize

Dragonflies come in a variety of colors in the wild, including yellow, red, brown and even blue. However, there are less-common colors such as orange, purple, green, and bronze, among others. And depending on the color of this insect, it determines the message it's carrying.

Black Dragonfly Meaning

A black dragonfly is the most spiritually significant color you can encounter, since black absorbs all colors. A black dragonfly symbolizes spiritual enlightenment, ultimate happiness, and inner strength. They bring with them a deep healing and protective energy.

Red Dragonfly Meaning

A red dragonfly represents manifestation, high vitality, good health, domestic harmony, and financial security. They are associated with the first chakra, also known as the root chakra.

Blue Dragonfly Meaning

A blue dragonfly symbolizes clear communication, controlling negative and distracting thoughts, meditation, introspection, and releasing social anxiety. They are connected with the fifth chakra, also known as the throat chakra.

Orange Dragonfly Meaning

Orange dragonflies are linked with the sacral chakra, and are said to represent confidence, emotional stability, self-empowerment, and taking action.

Purple Dragonfly Meaning

A purple dragonfly represents spiritual growth and awareness, inner knowledge, and a higher perspective. Purple dragonflies are also associated with the Third Eye chakra, which unmasks the real intuitive nature you have.

Yellow Dragonfly Meaning

While yellow dragonflies are usually male juveniles, it serves up a powerful meaning. In fact, a yellow dragonfly symbolizes happiness, optimism, intellect, and honor, and is associated with the solar plexus chakra.

Green Dragonfly Meaning

Green dragonflies represent nature, fertility, emotions, self-acceptance, new ideas, and spiritual growth. Green dragonflies are also connected to the heart chakra, and seeing one may signify that a new relationship will be in your future.

Golden Dragonfly Meaning

The golden dragonfly is also associated with the solar plexus chakra, and represents creativity, success, self-expression, self-awareness, and abundance.

Brown Dragonfly Meaning

Brown dragonflies are associated with childlike innocence, and are spiritually connected to nurturing, protection, and healing energies.

RELATED: Spiritual Animal List & The Symbolic Meaning Of Power Animals

Dragonfly Symbolism in Dreams

Since dragonflies are harmless creatures, dreaming about them shouldn't come with negative meanings. In fact, having a dragonfly in your dream has a range of meanings, but they mostly revolve around getting out of an experience unscathed, and that they are looking out for you.

Some dreams encourage you to have faith and trust in others where it means safety and security. Depending on what you dream about with a dragonfly, it can alter the meaning or message your guides are trying to send you.

Dragonfly Spirit or Totem Animal

Spirit animals and totem animals, though often grouped together, are actually very different from each other. A spirit animal is more of a guide who leads you through obstacles on the journey of life, while an animal totem imbues you with the same traits as that animal.

You will know that a dragonfly is your spirit animal if you experience strong emotions or core events while around these creatures.

The dragonfly totem carries with it a sense of identity, the wisdom of transformation, and adaptability in life, but as a spirit animal, the dragonfly is all about change and light. If a dragonfly visits you, it is usually to remind you to allow more joy into your life.

People who have a dragonfly totem or dragonfly spirit animal may also be more inclined to dive deeper into their emotions and let their true colors shine.

Photo: Darkdiamond67 / Shutterstock & Unsplash

RELATED: Butterfly Symbolism And Intriguing Spiritual Meanings Of Seeing Butterflies

Spiritual Meaning of Dragonflies in Christianity and the Bible

There are no direct mentions of dragonflies in the Bible like there are for moths or butterflies, but there are moments where symbolism through verses teach us what dragonflies mean in our lives.

The most prominent symbolism is growth and development.

One verse that shows this is 1 Peter 2:2, which encourages growth amongst Christians: "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.”

Dragonfly Symbolism in Mythology and Folklore

Native American Dragonfly Symbolism

In most Native American tribes, dragonflies represent swiftness and activity, and are just as honored as animals like wolves and bears.

The Navajo believe dragonflies symbolize pure water, while dragonfly depictions are often found on Zuni pottery, Pueblo jewelry, and Hopi rock paintings, who associate dragonflies with healing. The Tlingit tribe carved dragonflies onto totems and there's a dragonfly dance of the Yaqui People.

There are multiple legends and myths about dragonflies as well.

One myth tells of the Coyote and the Dragon Serpent. As the tale goes, Coyote was jealous of the Dragon Serpent's powers and wanted it for himself. Looking for help, he lured the Dragon Priestess to his cave and imprisoned her. To save herself, he told her, she must shapeshift.

Finally, the Coyote convinced her to change herself into a dragonfly, as the Coyote would easily be able to fool the Dragon Serpent. The Priestess' wings were iridescent and magical, and she could fly in every direction while leaving behind colors.

But once she flew high enough in the air to realize the coyote's intentions, she dove into the sacred water world of Pleiades and escaped forever.

Another legend from the Zuni tribe says that there was a tribe who had to leave their land and accidentally left behind two children. The children made an insect doll for fun, made out of corn and grass, but began to starve.

The insect doll flew to find the goddess of corn, who returned and made the land fertile, feeding the children. In return, the insect doll asked for a companion, and their offspring became two dragonflies.

Celtic Dragonfly Symbolism

In the Celtic culture, the dragonfly is considered a magical being, representing transformation, creative imagination, and living a full life.

Dragonflies are also present in Celtic folklore pertaining to fairies and the fairy realm. Fairies were said to be so tiny that they had dragonfly wings, and some historians say that dragonflies were actually the inspiration for fairies.

Nordic Dragonfly Symbolism

In Norse mythology, dragonflies are connected to Freya, the goddess of love, war, and fertility. Nordic folklore says that dragonflies became the symbol of Freya because mating dragonflies formed a heart-shape.

In Swedish folklore, the dragonfly is viewed negatively, and is actually called the Devil's Steelyard. Swedes thought the dragonfly’s body looked like a tool used to weigh something, and that the Devil used the dragonfly to weigh people’s souls.

Far Eastern Dragonfly Symbolism

In Japanese culture, the dragonfly is a symbol of rebirth, happiness, and the changing of seasons. But dragonflies are also symbols of victory and strength, which is the main reason why the dragonfly appears on pieces of armor and heraldic depictions.

The Japanese also think of these spirit guides as the symbol of summer and the guardian spirit of rice plants.

One Japanese tale told of Emperor Jinmu, who was the mythical founder of Japan, climbing a mountain 2,600 years ago. Looking down from the summit, he remarked that Japan resembled a dragonfly. Another version says that Jinmu was bitten by a mosquito and was close to death, until a dragonfly ate the mosquito and saved his life.

In Chinese culture and folklore, dragonflies represent the summer months, as well as change and uncertainty. Dragonflies are also a big part of Feng Shui, and placing art of dragonflies is said to bring positive change and insights.

Dragonfly Tattoo Meaning

Those who get the dragonfly tattoo may do so because of what this insect symbolizes: transformation, progress, fortune, balance, spiritual growth, dreams, thoughts, aspirations, and self-realization.

If you were to get a dragonfly tattoo, you're likely to be a free spirit who exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment, or one who thinks deeply about life and the world around you.

RELATED: Peacock Symbolism & The Spiritual Meaning Of Seeing Peacocks

Deauna Nunes is an assistant editor who covers pop culture, lifestyle, love and relationship topics for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.