Dragonflies are not your average insects. These mysterious and ancient creatures have lived on earth for millions of years, far longer than humans. They sometimes appear fearless and maybe even a bit nosey, not hesitating to land on a nearby twig or even on a gardener’s hat.
These daring flyers thrive in most parts of the world, and for some people, dragonflies appear at the oddest times, such as important life events. Perhaps this is how dragonfly symbolism started. For example, if a dragonfly appears in someone’s yard whenever they think of a deceased loved one, could the dragonfly symbolize continuity in conscious thought or immortality? What if hundreds of dragonflies suddenly appear during a graveside ceremony at an urban setting during a drought, far from water? Would it give someone cause to reflect? If a dragonfly repeatedly flies alongside someone as they take a morning walk, following the passing of a loved one, what would it mean to them?
For those involved, these real life experiences symbolize hope, immortality, and the afterlife. They provided comfort during a time of need. Maybe the explanation behind the dragonfly appearances is straightforward and scientific. It could be due to the timing of the dragonfly’s emergence from water, their migration to better locations to lay eggs, or their aggressive search for food. However, many other people have found comfort in these creatures, much in the way people have found solace in the appearance of a butterfly, a rainbow, or a favorite bird following the death of a loved one.
Coincidental dragonfly encounters like these seem to defy the simple explanations and underscore the ongoing mysteries that nature serves up. Just look at the dragonfly’s importance in other cultures. It is as far-reaching as its habitat. In Japan, for example, dragonflies symbolize good luck and strength. In some spiritual ceremonies, dragonflies are thought to be the guides of souls revisiting their families on earth. On the opposite side of the planet, however, some Native Americans believe dragonflies symbolize purity, because they are often found near useful sources of water. They also symbolize swiftness, due to their acrobatic agility and speed. The list goes on.
What probably matters most, however, is the symbolic representation of dragonflies to the individual and the unique experience a dragonfly encounter creates. How a person perceives and interprets the moment will likely be a reflection of their understanding of the world, their beliefs, and life experiences. These factors will help mold the dragonfly's symbolic representation and relevance. When people find overwhelming reasons to share these moments with others and discover similar incidents, one can begin to understand how dragonfly symbolism becomes widespread and significant.
If you are a teacher in search of lesson plans or resources, try our resources page. We provide a unique discussion on dragonfly symbolism based on sight's role in perspective, one of the five human senses. Learn more.
DID A DRAGONFLY MAKE ITS PRESENCE KNOWN TO YOU?
Did a dragonfly make its presence known to you during an important life event? Are dragonflies symbolic to you? If so, we'd love to hear from you and we invite you to take a closer look at this image at a much higher resolution. You might be surprised when you discover what it is. Learn more.
SEARCHING FOR BOOKS THAT USE DRAGONFLY SYMBOLISM?
We publish award-winning children's books, weaving dragonfly symbolism into beautiful stories to help parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors, and other professionals discuss loss, change, and the mysteries in the cycles of life. Learn more.