Dragonfly meaning and symbolism includes opportunity, transformation, spontaneity, ancient wisdom, and other mystical qualities. And the dragonfly spirit animal is a powerful totem that appears in the spiritual beliefs in cultures around the world.
As ancient beings, dragonflies have fascinated people around the world for centuries. One of the first winged insects, they have inhabited the Earth for over 300 million years. By comparison, evidence of the first humans dates back to just 2.8 million years. As ancient artifacts attest, dragonfly meanings intrigued our distant ancestors, just as they intrigue those of use living on Earth today. When the dragonfly spirit animal calls to you, you are being blessed with the wisdom of the ages.
“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.”
– Ama Vanniarachchy
Table of Contents
- What does a dragonfly symbolize?
- What does it mean when you see a dragonfly?
- Detailed Dragonfly Symbols and Meanings
- Transformation, Change, and Opportunity
- Vision and Insight
- Maneuverability and Finesse
- Dragonfly Color Symbolism
- Red Dragonfly Meaning
- Orange Dragonfly Meaning
- Yellow Dragonfly Symbolism
- Green Dragonfly Symbolism
- Blue Dragonfly Meaning
- Purple Dragonfly Meaning
- Brown Dragonfly Symbolism
- Black Dragonfly Symbolism
- White Dragonfly
- Dragonfly Spirit Animal
- Dragonfly Symbolism in Ancient Cultures
- Celtic Mythology and Fairies
- Dragonfly Symbolism in Nordic Folklore
- Dragonfly Symbolism in the Bible
- The Dragonfly in Japan
- Dragonfly Symbols in Feng Shui and Chinese Culture
- Native American Dragonfly Meanings
- Organizations that Protect Dragonflies
What does a dragonfly symbolize?
What does it mean when you see a dragonfly?
If a dragonfly makes their presence known to you, whether it’s in real life, through the media, in art, or in some other setting, pay attention. There are no coincidences.
Allow the dragonfly who has crossed your path to expand your awareness. The dragonfly has a message for you.
Detailed Dragonfly Symbols and Meanings
Transformation, Change, and Opportunity
The dragonfly is blessed with an abundance of unique traits. Throughout the world, they are viewed as symbols of self-realization, transformation, and change – even rebirth.
Dragonflies are born in or on the water. They exist there in their larval stage for months or even years before they molt. Finally, they become an adult dragonfly – the beautiful flying insect with clear wings that we love to see.
However, like the butterfly, the dragonfly only lives as an adult for a short period of time. Thus, they remind us to seize the day and live in the present. Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.
The dragonfly also symbolizes that change is imminent. This change can be a personal transformation, a change in an area of your life, or a change in your relationship with someone else.
Now Is the Time
Because the dragonfly’s time in their Earthly manifestations is temporal, they are also symbols of opportunity. Timing is important. If you’re presented with a promising opportunity, jump on it, as it may not come again. The dragonfly says, “Now is the time.”
Vision and Insight
Like the owl, the dragonfly have powerful vision that sets them apart from other creatures, including us. Where humans, and many other animals, have trichromatic vision, which means we see things in combinations of three primary colors: red, green, and blue. The dragonfly, on the other hand, see the world through up to 30 “primary” colors. Their eyes are far more sensitive to light than ours. Thus, the dragonfly sees things in ways that we do not.
In addition, like the owl, the dragonfly can see nearly 360 degrees. Their special visionary powers are why they are also symbols of vision and insight. If you ever hear stories from people who have had near-death experiences, one theme that is common to many is that when they passed over, they saw colors that they never knew existed. Perhaps they saw the colors that a dragonfly sees.
The dragonfly reminds you that you have the ability to look at things from different perspectives. Let your mind be flexible, and your consciousness will expand.
Maneuverability and Finesse
Like the hummingbird, the dragonfly has special flying skills. They can fly as fast as 45 miles per hour. In addition, they can maneuver instantly from side to side, upwards, downwards, and then stop in midair.
The dragonfly can also lift things that are 15-times their body weight. These powers have fascinated scientists because we humans, as of yet, have been unable to duplicate something so extraordinary with our own flying machines.
The dragonfly’s unique flying skills remind you to be more flexible – think quickly on your feet and be ready to “switch gears” and change course if needed. In the way that the fairy Tinker Bell is here and then she’s gone, the dragonfly spirit animal reminds you to be quick and light. Envision the lightness of your being, and you can handle the changes coming your way.
Dragonfly Color Symbolism
Dragonflies come in a rainbow of colors, so many people are curious about the different colors that the dragonfly symbolizes. I’m always hesitant to apply a specific meaning to what an animal or insect means if you dream about them or if you see one in a specific color because interpretations can be so personal. We all have the capability to tap into Universal Wisdom, or our spirit guides. My purpose for writing this post is to help you tap into yours.
I’m a firm believer in chakra energy because I’ve personally had experiences with chakra toning that were quite profound and had a positive effect on me. So, in this post, I associate chakra colors with dragonfly symbolism. Yet, I encourage you to explore your own super-conscious through learning, prayer, and/or meditation to understand more about what these symbols might mean for you personally.
Red Dragonfly Meaning
If you see a red dragonfly, depending on your location, it could be a meadowhawk, of which there are a few different sub-species, such as red-veined darters. Another red dragonfly is the calico pennant. Red dragonflies are rare, so if you see one in the wild, it’s a special event.
Red is a powerful color. It’s the hue of primal energy, passion, anger, and intensity. In Asian cultures, red symbolizes good luck and wealth. In Japan, red dragonflies are associated with autumn.
Red is also associated with the first or “root” chakra. The root chakra is the foundation of your physical vitality, your will power, your passion, courage, desire, and security. As the name implies, your root chakra helps you to feel secure.
If you see a red dragonfly, think about areas of your life related to your root chakra that may need transformation. Do you need to fortify your personal security, whether it be physical, financial, emotional, or even spiritual? Are there areas of your life where you need to infuse more passion? If you see a red dragonfly, make a wish for good luck and more vitality in an area of your life where you need more security or passion, or to help yourself feel more grounded.
Orange Dragonfly Meaning
Dragonfly species that are orange include a variety of skimmers, such as the flame skimmer, firecracker skimmer, golden-winged skimmer, or Needham’s Skimmer.
Orange dragonflies can symbolize joy, creativity, wellness, and sensuality. Orange is the second, or sacral, chakra. It’s called Svadhisthana in Sanskrit. This chakra is in the area of your lower abdomen. It affects your gut instincts and (along with the root chakra) your sexuality.
If you see an orange dragonfly, consider the areas of your life that need nourishing. This could be your relationships, such as with family, friends, colleagues, or your romantic partner. It could also be your physical well-being. We all perform at our best when we come from a place of health and wellness. We are more creative, more sensual, and happier. Your orange chakra is foundational within your body. When wellness thrives within you, the rest of your life can thrive too.
The orange dragonfly reminds you to go with your gut. The fast and agile dragonfly is not about mulling over decisions. The orange dragonfly says, “Trust your instincts and be quick about it!”
Yellow Dragonfly Symbolism
Yellow symbolizes happiness, optimism, intellect, and honor. Your yellow chakra is called Manipura in Sanskrit, and it governs your solar plexus. Your yellow chakra represents your will and how you assert yourself in the world.
The energy of the yellow dragonfly is one of youthful exuberance. He reminds you that you have the energy within in you, no matter how ancient or tired you may feel at times, to accomplish what you must in your soul’s journey. If you see a yellow dragonfly, tap into your inner youthful vitality. It exists!
In addition, the yellow dragonfly calls on you to consider how you can use your wits, your intellect, and willpower to exert positive change in your life and the lives of others.
There are forces at work in the Universe, and yet – you have been blessed with free will. How do you tap into your higher power so you can better use your will to bring more happiness to yourself and the world?
Yellow is also the color of light. The yellow dragonfly reminds you that you are a light worker. You are here to honor God, or your higher power, with the greatest expression of yourself. No matter how difficult, painful, or frustrating life can get, the yellow dragonfly reminds you that you are here to do good work on Earth.
Green Dragonfly Symbolism
Dragonflies that are green include the green darner, the pondhawk, and other species.
Green symbolizes nature, renewal, growth, fertility, and emotions. It also symbolizes financial abundance and security. This is a color of trust; hence you will notice a lot of financial institutions use the color green in their logos.
Your green chakra is your heart chakra, or Anahata in Sanskrit. As your fourth chakra, Anahata governs your chest, including your heart, lungs, and respiratory and circulatory systems. This chakra also affects your heartfelt emotions and relationships.
If you see a green dragonfly, it may be time for a new relationship to come into your life. It can also be a reminder to reach out to those you haven’t spoken to in a while to reconnect. Like so many other things in life, with nurturing, relationships can grow and evolve. This dragonfly reminds you to come from a place of heart and make sure you are nourishing your relationships in an authentically healthy way.
The green dragonfly may also be a sign that financial abundance is on its way.
As the dragonfly is a symbol of transformation and rebirth, consider the areas of your life that are related to your heart chakra that you would like to expand and improve, such as your relationships, your respiratory and circulatory systems, and your finances.
To keep your heart chakra tuned up, make sure you’re moving enough to get the energy flowing in your body. In addition to exercising and dancing, chakra toning is a fun and easy way to get the chi, or energy, flowing in your body. There are a number of videos on YouTube that offer chakra toning sounds.
Blue Dragonfly Meaning
Blue symbolizes loyalty, as in a “true blue” friend. It also symbolizes trust, faith, and wisdom.
Blue, or turquoise, symbolizes the fifth chakra. It is Vishuddha in Sanskrit. Your fifth chakra rules your ability to connect, communicate, and express yourself.
If you see a blue dragonfly, think about the messages that you are putting into the world. Even without speaking, you are constantly communicating to others. This may be in how you carry yourself, what you post on social media, whether you greet people with warmth or judgement, or even with your silence.
The blue dragonfly asks you if you are being authentic. Are you presenting yourself and are you communicating in a way that reflects the truth of who you are and the highest version of who you were meant to be? As the saying goes, “The truth will set you free.” The blue dragonfly reminds you that we all need to stand in the truth and speak our truth.
Some blue dragonflies are indigo in hue. Seeing a darker blue dragonfly can also be a sign to tune up your sixth chakra, which you can read more about next.
Purple Dragonfly Meaning
The color purple is special in the way it combines the warm hues of red with the cool hues of blue. Striking this balance and creating something beautiful from this dichotomy is why purple symbolizes peace. Purple also symbolizes nobility, wealth, aspiration, and devotion.
Both your sixth and seventh chakras are shades of purple. Your sixth chakra is indigo and your seventh is violet, though some may interpret it as white.
The sixth chakra, or Ajna, rules your mind and your third eye, or intuition. Your seventh chakra, Sahasrara, is at the crown of your head, and it governs your super-conscious.
If you see a purple dragonfly, you are being called upon to tap into your higher power. Use your mind to connect to this source through prayer or mediation. The purple dragonfly is an exalted symbol, one that asks you to seek out something greater than yourself. You have within you the capability to tap into a higher power, and your angels are standing by, waiting for you to reach out and connect with them. The purple dragonfly reminds you that there is more out there, and you are capable of living in an elevated state.
Brown Dragonfly Symbolism
Dragonflies that are brown in hue include the brown hawker (Aeshna grandis), the swamp darner (Epiaeschna heros) – which has brown and green stripes, and the striped saddlebags (Tramea calverti) – which can be reddish-brown.
As a warm color, brown is reminiscent of soil, the Earth, and wood. Thus, it symbolizes Earthiness, groundedness, security, and stability. The meaning of brown is exemplified in the description of someone who as “very down to Earth,” meaning they are real, easy to relate to, and without pretense.
As is the case with brown butterflies, the brown dragonfly reminds you to ground yourself and get back to basics. Honor that which is real in your life, that which truly gives you a solid foundation from which to blossom.
Seeing a brown dragonfly can also mean your home could use a little more attention. Does it feel like a refuge or is it a place of stress? Getting some new house plants or a miniature indoor fountain, gardening, and playing soothing music can all bring a more harmonious vibe to your home.
Black Dragonfly Symbolism
Black symbolizes mystery, formality, elegance, and rebellion. Without black, other colors would lack variety in depth and hue.
The black dragonfly reminds you that some matters require discretion. In our culture of over-sharing and seeking attention, the black dragonfly reminds you that you have the privilege and a right to your privacy. It’s ok to politely shut out anyone who invades your privacy in an unwanted way.
Seeing a black dragonfly may also symbolize that you need to explore an issue in your life more deeply to truly understand it. For positive transformations to occur, we often have to “go deep” vs. just skimming the surface. If something is “not adding up to you,” go with that instinctual feeling, and explore more. A change is afoot, and the black dragonfly is telling you to investigate the unknown further.
As with butterflies, a white dragonfly symbolizes purity, innocence, simplicity, clarity of thought, and angels. White is also be associated with the seventh chakra – your intuition and psychic abilities – as described in the section on purple dragonflies above.
Seeing a white dragonfly can mean that an ancestor or loved one who has passed is reaching out to you. The purity of the white color serves as a reminder to you that whatever pain they experienced before they passed is now gone. At the same time, it serves to remind you to not focus on the pain or anguish leading up to death, but on the purity of your love and the happy experiences you shared together. This is how you honor and celebrate their life.
Dragonfly Spirit Animal
While they are insects, the dragonfly is still considered to be a powerful spirit “animal.” As with other spirit animals, the dragonfly serves as a guide to help you navigate your life path here on Earth.
Your dragonfly spirit guide reminds you that you are here to learn and evolve. Born in the water, the dragonfly evolves to become an airborne being. Water represents your subconscious, and the air – your intellect. Your dragonfly spirit guide reminds you to use your intellectual curiosity, not just your gut instincts and intuition, to learn and to evolve in this lifetime.
When the dragonfly is your spirit guide, pay attention to your dreams and the ideas that pop into your head, seemingly from out of nowhere. The dragonfly spirit helps you to turn your creative ideas and “aha moments” into reality in the material world.
If you are curious about other animals and insects who might be your spirit guides, you can take UniGuide’s spirit animal quiz to explore additional possibilities.
The dragonfly’s clear and iridescent wings show you the beauty and magic in life. How can something that looks so delicate, as if it’s made with air, carry something that is 15-times its body weight? In a dragonfly’s wings is the miracle of nature and the ancient wisdom of evolution. The dragonfly’s wings are also iridescent, magically reflecting every color of the rainbow.
The dragonfly spirit animal reminds you that miracles can originate from the simplest of ideas and from things that appear to be delicate, frail, and temporal. As the author Roald Dahl said, “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
The dragonfly spirit animal reminds you that creating something wonderful in your life starts with a vision of what you want to make happen.
Dragonfly Symbolism in Ancient Cultures
For as long as humans have lived on Earth, the dragonfly has been here. Thus, dragonfly symbols and folklore have existed in cultures around the world throughout human history. Here are some examples:
Celtic Mythology and Fairies
While it’s hard to find specific stories in Celtic mythology that involve dragonflies, there are many Celtic stories about fairies. If you met someone who had never seen a fairy, you could described them as tiny, human-like beings with dragonfly wings. Thus, many historians believe that fairies were inspired by dragonflies.
Dragonfly Symbolism in Nordic Folklore
In Swedish folklore, dragonflies were viewed negatively. The ancient Swedes called the dragonfly the Devil’s Steelyard. They thought the dragonfly’s body resembled a weighting tool, and that the Devil used the dragonfly to weigh people’s souls. It was believed that a dragonfly circling a person was measuring the weight of their soul.
Dragonfly Symbolism in the Bible
Dragonflies are not directly mentioned in the Bible. Yet for many Christians, they are representative of the rebirth of Christ and his ascent to Heaven. Dragonflies evolve dramatically in their lifetimes, just as Jesus did. This evolution is one of the tenets of Christianity: You have within you the power to do better, to forgive, and to be forgiven.
The Dragonfly in Japan
In Japan, the dragonfly is a positive symbol who represents rebirth, courage, happiness, and the changing of the seasons, in particular, autumn. The dragonfly is also a common theme in Haiku poetry.
The dragonfly appears often in Japanese folklore. According to one Japanese legend, Emperor Jinmu, the mythical founder of Japan, climbed a mountain 2,600 years ago. As he looked down from the summit, he said that Japan looked like a dragonfly. In another version of the story, Emperor Jinmu is bitten by a deadly mosquito, but is saved because a dragonfly eats the mosquito.
Dragonfly Symbols in Feng Shui and Chinese Culture
In China, the dragonfly symbolizes summer. Yet, they also symbolize change and instability. In Feng Shui, a dragonfly symbolizes happiness and new beginnings. Placing dragonfly art in your home or workplace can help to bring new insights and positive change.
Native American Dragonfly Meanings
For tribes of the American Southwest, the dragonfly is called “snake doctor” because they were believed to follow snakes and heal them if they got injured.
For the Navajo, the dragonfly is the symbol for pure water. The Hopi and Pueblo tribes view the dragonfly is a medicine animal who is associated with transformation and healing. Among the Pueblo, it is bad luck to kill a dragonfly.
For the Zuni, the dragonfly symbolizes abundant harvests. There is a Zuni legend that tells the tale of a Zuni tribe who had to quickly leave their land. When doing so, they mistakenly left behind two children. To occupy themselves, the children made an insect doll from grass and corn.
As the land became barren because it was not being tended, the children began to starve. So, the insect doll flew away to find the goddesses of the corn. The corn goddess returned and made the land fertile again, so the children could eat. In return for the favor, the insect doll asked for a companion. The offspring of the two insect dolls were dragonflies.
For the Plains tribes, the dragonfly represents invincibility and protection. The Plains tribes painted dragonflies on their clothing and teepees to ward off injury and other dangers.
The Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, such as the Tlingit, carved dragonflies in their totem poles, and the Yaqui have a dragonfly dance.
Cherokee Dragonfly Legend
The Cherokee have their own dragonfly legend. The Cherokee believed the star cluster constellation known as the Pleaides, or the Seven Sisters, was a sacred water world. They also believed that the constellation Orion was where the Dragon Serpent dwelled.
Coyote and the Dragon Serpent
The Dragon Serpent lived in the sky, but there was someone who was jealous of his power. Coyote, being a magician and a trickster, wanted to steal some of that power. Yet, he knew he would not be able to do it on his own. So, Coyote turned to the beautiful Dragon Goddess High Priestess, whom he knew would be able to beguile the Dragon Serpent into giving up some of his power.
So, Coyote lured the Dragon Priestess to his cave. Once she was in his lair, Coyote imprisoned her. Coyote tempted the Priestess with gifts and told her that the stars were under threat. He told her that to save the stars, she must change her shape. The Priestess resisted, but she wanted to be free of the cave and was worried about the stars. Finally, she relented and began to shapeshift.
Dragons can shapeshift into many different beings; however Coyote was unhappy with the creatures the Dragon Priestess presented.
The Coyote decided to convince her into shapeshifting into a being whose powers he himself wanted to possess: the Dragonfly. With this disguise, Coyote knew the Dragon Serpent could be tricked.
So, the Priestess transformed herself into something even more beautiful than she herself was, a dragonfly with magical transparent and iridescent wings. As the Dragonfly, she could fly through space in every direction emitting magical colors.
As the Dragonfly Goddess, she flew high in the sky and became aware of Coyote’s false pretentions. She had insight that he was trying to steal her power. So, she dove into the mystical water world of the Pleaides and escaped him for eternity.
Organizations that Protect Dragonflies
If you care about dragonflies, please help to protect them. Here are some organizations and resources that will show you how: