DRAGONFLY and DAMSELFLY
By, Ted Andrews; Animal Speak 1993
Keynote: The Power of Light
Dragonflies and damselflies are very ancient with estimates of having been around for over 180 million years. They have a beautiful, jewel-like coloring. The bright colors take time to develop, reflecting the idea that with maturity our own true colors come forth. This is part of dragonfly medicine.
For many it is difficult to tell the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly. Dragonflies have broad bodies and enormous eyes. Damselflies are more slender and delicate. When dragonflies are at rest, they hold their wings out like a glider. Damselflies will fold their wings over their backs when at rest. Dragonflies will often eat while in flight, and damselflies will always land before eating.
Both are known for their fast flight and their dazzling aerial feats, as if imitating how light itself can be moved and directed. They twist, turn, change direction in an instant, hover, move up or down, and even fly backwards. Dragonflies are sometimes known as mosquito hawks. Both the damsels and the dragons are excellent hunters of flying insects. They can spot a movement forty feet away. They use their sharp, spiny legs and strong jaws to capture their prey.
Dragonflies and damselflies inhabit two realms - water and air. The significance of these should be examined. In their early life - as a nymph - they live within water. As they mature and go through their metamorphosis, they move to the realm of air. It is not unusual to find individuals with dragonfly totems to be very emotional and passionate in the early years, but as they get older, they learn to balance it with greater mental clarity and control. Sometimes it can indicate that the emotions have gotten shut down because of emotional issues in early life. Remember that the dragonfly and damselfly are always found around water. There must be expressions of the emotional and the mental together.
If a dragonfly has shown up in your life, you may need some fresh air in regard to something emotional. You may need to gain a new perspective or make a change. It may even indicate that you are neglecting your emotions. Are you being to rational about everything? Are you not keeping the color of emotions alive?
Dragonflies are very territorial. They will lay their eggs within their territory near the water. The egg eventually develops into the nymph stage of metamorphosis in this insect, and remains as a nymph for almost two years before it transforms into an adult. This can reflect the number of possibilities for those with this totem. It can indicate that an approximate two-year period of change is about to reach its culmination. It may reflect that you are coming into a two-year period of transformation. It may even reflect a need to institute changes that may culminate in the colorful transformations you desire within a two-year period. Only by examining your life and activities will you begin to understand its specific role.
Just as light can bend and shift and be adapted in a variety of ways, so can the archetypal forces associated with the dragonfly. It is one of the most adaptable of insects. It is why it has been able to survive so long. Dragonflies have two pairs of wings, but if need be, they can fly with one. Their eyes are kept clean with special combs on their legs and by washing the eyes with water drops collected in the mouth.
The main predators are frogs and birds. Particularly the frog should be studied by those with this totem.
Their realm is the realm of light, and they are only out during the day, as they are cold-blooded. Summer is their most powerful time, as they need the warmth and the light of the sun. For those with this totem, this will be important to consider. Spending time outside in the sun near fresh water sources will be beneficial for restoring and changing health conditions for the better for those with this totem.
Although some have color pigments in their skin, for most the colors are caused almost the same way rainbows form. Structures in their shell scatter and refract the light, making them look iridescent green and blue. As they age, they may pass through several color changes. This ability to reflect and refract light and color has caused it to be associated with many forms of magic and mysticism - including color magic, illusion (causing others to see only what you wish them to see), and more. Dragonfly's magic is the power of light and all that has ever been associated with it.
Dragonflies and damselflies are often depicted in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy. To some Native Americans, they represent the souls of the dead. Some stories speak of the time in which they used to be real dragons. Often we assume that dragons have to be gigantic beasts breathing fire, but the fantastic creatures of the Faerie Realm often come in many shapes and sizes. Dragonflies because of they are mythical relatives of the ancient dragons are wonderful links to working with nature spirits.
The dragonfly and damselfly reflect and work with the sun and light. The light changes throughout the day. The dragonfly and damselfly undergo their own transformations. If they have shown up, look for change to occur. Are you resisting change when you shouldn't? Dragonflies remind us that we are light and can reflect the light in powerful ways if we choose to do so. "Let their be light" is the divine prompting to use the creative imagination as a force within your life. This is part of what dragonflies and damselflies can teach us.
Life is never quite the way it appears, but it is always filled with light and color. Dragonfly can help you to see through the illusions and thus allow your own light to shine forth. Dragonfly brings the brightness of transformation and the wonder of colorful new vision.