Updated: Oct 27
I’ve written about insect symbolism before and the dragonfly was mentioned in this article. But, on the weekend as we were sitting outside in our garden, a dragonfly flew across our little pond. It felt extra special seeing this beautiful winged creature skirt across the pond and over our garden. It was also the first time I have seen one in many months.
The sighting gave me a sense of hope and joy once more despite the challenges of the past 18 months. The sunlight shone brightly off its luminous wings and it looked like a bright light radiating in the air as it sped over the garden. And, once more, I knew I was being sent a spiritual message.
That’s the power of these little creatures we often take for granted. They’re all messengers sent to us to convey what we need to know. But what does it mean when a dragonfly comes to visit you? Read on to discover what I found out about this fascinating winged creature.
What is a Dragonfly? Some Fun Facts
Dragonflies are flying insects that evolved over 300 million years ago. Fossil dragonflies were discovered to have wingspans up to two feet wide! The dragonfly we know today has wingspans reaching between two to five inches wide. Even when stationary, the dragonfly never closes its wings.
Because the dragonfly has serrated teeth (yes, they do!) they get classified into the class Odonata which means “toothed one” in Greek. During their two-year-long larval stage, the dragonfly is aquatic and will feed on all kinds of prey such as mosquitoes, tadpoles, and even fish.
These expert fliers can hover like a helicopter, zoom up and down at a rapid speed, and they’ll mate up there in the air too if they have no other chance to perform the act. The adult dragonfly would starve if it can’t fly because it catches and eats prey while winging it through the air.
A dragonfly is known to eat anything between 30 to 100s of pesky mosquitoes, making them great pest controllers.
Dragonflies have enormous, bulging eyes which give them excellent vision and they can see far and wide. They gather in swarms before migration and studies have shown them flying up to 7.5 miles a day. Dr. Charles Anderson, a marine biologist living in the Maldives, discovered the minute Pantala flavescens could fly 18,000 km backward and forward over the Indian Ocean.
Watch Dr. Anderson talk about this amazing discovery in the video below.
What Does a Dragonfly Look Like?
For an insect, the dragonfly is quite a large creature. They have large, vibrantly colored flat wings. The dragonfly can also be recognized by its huge, bulbous compound eyes. Their one to four-inch-long body is divided into three sections. These body parts are made up of the head, the abdomen, and the thorax. On the head, there are two tiny antennae.
Where Do Dragonflies Live?
There are 7,000 different species of this magical creature found around the world. The only place you won’t find a dragonfly flittering around is the Antarctica. The majority of dragonflies will live underwater or on top of the water's surface. They like to live around ponds, dams, lakes, and rivers. The main criteria for the dragonfly’s habitat are for the water to be crystal clean.
What Makes the Dragonfly Mystical?
You can’t deny there’s something mystical about the dragonfly. And, a lot of that mysticism comes from their physical appearance. This is why so many cultures throughout the ages have revered the dragonfly as a special spiritual being.
Here are some interesting facts about the dragonfly’s physical characteristics that make it seem so magical:
Eyes: With almost 360⁰ vision, the color proteins in the dragonfly’s eyes mean it can see millions of little views of the world around them. Scientists also believe they can see more colors than humans and different intensities of light and dark.
Wings: Two pairs of wings are found on the thorax (as well as 6 legs.) They have mysterious patterns unique to each dragonfly and beautiful coloring. A dragonfly can fly up to 34 mph, making it seem like it’s moving at the speed of light!
Dragon cousin: Because of their vibrant colors and large, strong wings, ancient cultures believed the dragonfly descended from the mystical dragon.
Every living creature is known to have a spiritual meaning in different cultures. With so much mysticism surrounding the dragonfly, it’s natural for this winging creature to have significant symbolism.
Spiritual Meaning: What Does it Mean When a Dragonfly Comes to Visit?
Dragonflies can be found in myths, stories, and legends worldwide. Different cultures have attributed a range of spiritual meanings to this magical creature. But, many do agree that a significant message of the dragonfly is having a deeper understanding of life. It’s about looking beyond the illusion and connecting all the dots. In other words, seeing the bigger picture.
Here are some other messages of the dragonfly.
Choosing to Be Graceful
A dragonfly flies with grace. It’s an elegant creature that during both flight and being still, reflects poise. Whenever you see a dragonfly maybe you’re being asked to accept whatever is happening around you with grace and composure.
By choosing to be graceful, you’re responding with strength and resilience.
Tapping Into the Power of Now
While the dragonfly may spend two years as a larva, its adult life is short. Some only live for a few weeks while others may live longer, even up to a year. A dragonfly doesn’t question its future (or past) and instead lives life to its fullest. It has no other choice but to live in the moment and make every second count.
Maybe you need to tap into the power of NOW if you start to see a dragonfly hovering around you. Read Eckhardt Tolle's book, 'The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment" to discover how to live in the moment just as the dragonfly does.
We now know that the dragonfly can see at almost any angle and in a wide range of colors. Its powerful eyes allow it to catch sight of its prey even when it’s darting past at high speed. Being able to have a wide view of its surroundings, the dragonfly sees everything.
Whenever a dragonfly darts across your path, stop and reflect on your own perspectives about a situation or person. What thoughts or beliefs do you own that need to be expanded upon or changed?
Acknowledging Prosperity and Good Luck
In Chinese culture, the dragonfly symbolizes prosperity and good luck. The Native Americans believe the same whenever they see a dragonfly flying across the waters. Dragonfly symbolism also refers to abundance, wealth, and good health.
Trust in the abundance of the universe and know that there’s more than enough for everyone whenever you see a dragonfly. Remember, this creature never runs out of mosquitos to eat!
Time of Transformation
The metamorphosis process of the dragonfly symbolizes transformation. When a dragonfly keeps visiting you, know its message is all about bringing about the changes you need to make in order to grow. It’s time now for transformation so you can reach and live to your true potential.
While transformation can be a scary journey for many, know that the dragonfly species does it many times over. Throughout its different life stages, it continues to evolve and grow, resulting in the magnificent adult dragonfly.
Watch a dragonfly and you’ll notice how it can suddenly change direction in mid-air even when flying at high speed. This makes the winged creature a highly flexible insect, adaptable to change at a moment’s notice. Perhaps the spiritual meaning of your dragonfly’s visit is to become more flexible in your own environment.
Ask yourself where you need to be more adaptable and identify if you’re willing to change at any given time should the situation require you to be more flexible.
Bringing in Light and Joy
The dragonfly not only flies at the “speed of light” but its wings capture the rays of the sun, seemingly making it glow. The lightness of the dragonfly conveys a sense of joy while reminding you to shine your light bright for all to see.
If the dragonfly is paying you a visit it may be asking you to start bringing some light and joy back into the world.
A dragonfly is a magical creature. It may startle you with its sudden appearance as it darts across the water's surface. One moment you see it, the next it’s gone. But, in that short time of seeing it, you surely felt something change within yourself. Whether it was your perspective or the turning on of your light, the spiritual message of the dragonfly is special.
Heed it with love and make sure you continue on your personal journey of transformation.
This post was first published on August 24th, 2021, and updated on October 17th, 2022.