Secret Gardens: Dragonfly Symbolism

Dragonflies from prehistoric mists,
flying around long before the ice ages, above shallow water
in the shade of gigantic trees – their clear blue wings fluttering,
growing deeper, slower, rays still shining on them –
such fragile wings, a thousand years old,
vibrating, like rainbow drops,
in the primeval wind – there were no birds is yet,
just the shade of branches, ferns rustling, just, dug in above
the lush coal swamp, flight till then, intoxicating,
lasting but a moment. — By Judita Vaiciunaite

(Poem translated from the Lithuanian by Viktoria Skupskelis and Stuart Friebert Literary Review, Fall, 1993)

dragonflyDragonfly Encounters
Dragons and dragonflies have always been in my dreams and as this is autumn I was surprised to see one on out deck yesterday.

Dragonfly symbolism crosses and combines with that of the butterfly and change. The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing.

Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity. Some people who have the dragonfly as their totem have had emotional and passionate early years, but as they get older they achieve balance with mental clarity and control. They gain an expression of the emotional and mental together.

dragonflyDragonflies are old and adaptive insects, and are most powerful in the summer under the effects of warmth and sunlight. They are fantastic flyers, darting like light, twisting, turning, changing direction, even going backwards as the need arises. They are inhabitants of two realms – starting with water, and moving to the air with maturity, but staying close to water.

Their colors are a result of reflecting and refracting the power of light. As a result, they are associated with color magic, illusion in causing others only to see what you wish, and other mysticism.

Dragonflies are often represented in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy. To some Native Americans they are the souls of the dead. Faerie stories say that they used to be real dragons.

Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. “Let there be light” is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life.

Dragonflies help you to see through your illusions and allow your own light to shine in a new vision.

Related posts:
Secret Gardens: Recycling Lost Life


  1. Protected by Copyscape Online Infringement Detector When I was 10-11ish, my grandfather passed away from a heart attack. He was an amazing man and meant the world to me…In the gutter by his house, I found a dragonfly that was nearing the end of his lifecycle as well; slowly, barely beating his wings and hardly reacting to touch. I picked him up and kept him with me as I got ready for the funeral. As I passed my grandfather’s coffin at the wake, I put the dragonfly on his boutonnier. The service began, and the dragonfly stayed there. We (my grandmother, mother, and I) made our way to the cemetary deep in the woods, said our last goodbyes, and got in the car to go home. We were the last car to pull out of the driveway. As we were leaving, we noticed sparkling lights in the woods, as if someone had sprinkled glitter everywhere. It took us a moment to realize that the “lights” were actually dragonfly wings glinting in the evening sun. There was an entire, seemingly never-ending swarm of them. One even managed to hold on to the windshield wiper halfway home.

    Ever since then, there hasn’t been a day gone by that I haven’t seen a dragonfly, even in the winter. Coincidence? Perhaps. But the swarm occured during their “off” season. Usually there’s a grouping of them seen every now and then in the later part of summer here. But this happened early spring, where it was still a tad bit nippy outside…Needless to say, the dragonfly holds an incredible significance in my life. Everytime I see one, I can’t help but whisper to myself, “hello Pops! Nice to see you again!” They always look nearly identical to the one I laid on his boutonnier, rarely deviating from the brilliant blues…it’s like a sweet little reminder that he’s always there with us, even though he’s no longer in the realm of the living.

  2. two dragon flies landed on me on the same spot, and position,within 3 minutes; on my 18th birthday…what significance does two mean?

  3. We have lots and lots of dragonflies in our yard. I have been surprised at how different each one looks in color and yes, “personality”.

    “The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing”.

    “Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.

    I hope and pray that both the statements above are true (Especially for me). In any case, we’ve got a ton of dragonflies to help back up the theories – Nards

  4. I’m so glad you liked the poem. I think it’s very special. It captures both space and time that bridges the gap on many levels.
    “Let there be light” see through your illusions and allow your own light to shine in a creative new vision.

  5. I’ve always felt close to dragonflies and love to watch them. On my last trip to the Grand Tetons, there were literally thousands of them around Two Oceans Lake. With their busy lives, it’s difficult to get one to sit for a photograph and I only got one so-so photo.

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