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Dragonfly Symbols And Meaning

Updated on April 2, 2015
Paula Atwell profile image

Paula Atwell is a freelance writer with WriterAccess, webmaster, member of Pinterest Party on FB and the owner of Lake Erie Artist Gallery.

Colorful Dragonflies Postcards
Colorful Dragonflies Postcards | Source

Where Does the Fascination with Dragonflies Come From?

The dragonfly is an insect with large eyes that are multifaceted, two sets of transparent wings, and a body that is elongated. They are similar in appearance to damselflies, with the main difference being that the dragonfly holds their wings perpendicular to their body. There are over 5,680 species of dragonflies in the world, and they have always evoked feelings of intrigue and different forms of symbolism in various cultures throughout the world.

What do dragonflies represent? That depends upon what area of the world and what culture we are speaking about. Europeans consider the dragonfly to be sinister, while Romanian folklore pegs the insect as a former horse that became possessed by the devil. The Swedish lore suggests that dragonflies have the job of weighing the souls of humans, while the Welsh associate them with snakes.

Dragonfly Themes are Popular Throughout the World

Libelle Mit Roten Flugeln Eine Schlange Jagend by Joan Miró
Libelle Mit Roten Flugeln Eine Schlange Jagend by Joan Miró | Source

On the brighter side where the dragonfly is not considered to be something evil or bad, the Japanese associate the insect with the seasons of summer and early autumn. They are also recognized as symbols of happiness, strength, and courage.

What do dragonflies represent in China? The answer is prosperity, harmony, and good luck. Other more generalized characteristics that the dragonfly represents are poise, power, maturity, depth of character, living life to the fullest, becoming self aware, and defeating illusions that were self created.

With an insect that has inspired so many cultures to develop lore and symbolism pertaining to it, it's no wonder the dragonfly is often a popular theme for both jewelry and home decorating.

Cute dragonfly with abstract swirls business cards
Cute dragonfly with abstract swirls business cards | Source

Dragonfly Home Decor--Dragonfly motifs

Many people like to bring dragonflies into their home décor. When used for this purpose, the dragonfly represents a peaceful environment that incorporates the beauty of nature along with the mystery of the dragonfly.

Modern artists also like to use these insects as subjects for such works as posters and framed art work to display in the home. Dragonflies have also inspired many decorative motif designs that are used for home furnishings and fabric for home decorating.

Dragonflies are many times the subject of Art Nouveau designs in jewelry pieces. They are also a popular theme used in making Native American Zuni pottery pieces.

Dragonflies are both beautiful and colorful, which makes them a great subject for jewelry. The wings of the insect are perfect for creating stunning pieces using colorful gemstones or shiny precious metals such as gold or silver. Many necklaces, pins, earrings, and hair accessories that feature dragonflies can be found.

Warehouse by Tiffany's 1509-BB75B Dragonfly Tiffany-Style 72-Inch Torchiere Lamp
Warehouse by Tiffany's 1509-BB75B Dragonfly Tiffany-Style 72-Inch Torchiere Lamp

Beautiful details, and lovely colors make this lamp a perfect decor accent for a home or office.

 
Gossamer Dragonfly Nature Pin from The Artazia Collection P0713
Gossamer Dragonfly Nature Pin from The Artazia Collection P0713

This brooch pin is designed with hand-painted and hand-decorated wings and body. Varying textures and mixed media materials create a unique wearable piece of art.

Click through to see the different views and full measurements and description of this brooch. Very detailed work.

 

Dragonfly Jewelry

Culture also comes into play in jewelry that features dragonflies. For example, a piece of dragonfly jewelry when given as a birthday gift in Japan means you wish that person happiness, strength, and courage.

For Native Americans, dragonfly jewelry represents renewal after facing challenging times in life. Colored dragonfly jewelry, in most cultures, has the meaning of overcoming self made illusions. This is symbolic of how the color of the insect is dependent upon the way the light reflects off of it, symbolic of how humans sometimes see things the way the choose to. The jewelry also represents growth, maturity, and making the most out of life in the time that we have.

Incorporating Dragonfly Symbolism

Dragonfly on silver
Dragonfly on silver | Source

All of these meanings are sure to make wearing a piece of dragonfly jewelry, or incorporating a dragonfly theme into your home's décor mean something more than it did before learning about its symbolism.

Science Nation - Dragonflies: The Flying Aces of the Insect World

Mixed Media Art Canvas - Steampunk Dragonflies

What Makes Dragonflies So Popular?

Dragonflies are very popular as a design motif. There are numerous reasons why, but the biggest reason is the seemingly magical ability that dragonflies have to hover and flit from plant to plant and their iridescent wings.

© 2014 Paula Atwell

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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I like to see dragonflies over the pond in the middle of summer.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I've always loved dragonflies - and have had my eye on a Tiffany-style dragonfly lamp for two years now!

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @aesta Glad you liked it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      The picture you have in the intro drew me in. It is a beautiful work of art. I'm glad we still can use this All Poster pictures. I deleted all of mine but I see how you inserted it so maybe I'll put back some.

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @Catherine I will have to check out your dragon info. Love them too. :)

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 3 years ago from Orlando Florida

      I've been writing about dragons so your article on dragonflies caught my eye. You mentioned that dragonflies represent good luck in China. Makes sense because dragons also represent good luck in China.

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @Rhonda Maybe you can take photos of them now. :D

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @Grace Thanks for your comment. They are fascinating creatures.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 3 years ago from New Zealand

      I had no idea there were so many species of dragonfly. It was interesting to learn a bit about this lovely insect. Thanks.

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Your Zazzle postcards are absolutely lovely. I did not realize how many ways different cultures interpreted dragonfly as a symbol. Fun to know.

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @teaches I think one of the most beautiful things about dragonflies is the way they hover and fly about. Somewhat in common with hummingbirds.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I see beautiful dragon flys here in South Florida. The colors are vivid and they are quite big. I do see them often in home décor and paintings. Thanks for sharing information on this little appreciated insect.

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @Mel Hmmm. . .That is interesting and mysterious. Thanks for visiting. :)

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

      I once wrote a story that included a golden damsel fly. Interesting how you write that the dragonfly symbolizes overcoming the power of illusion, because this story dealt with overcoming the power of an evil witch's illusion. I wasn't consciously award of this symbolism then, but it's interesting how the hidden collective consciousness of humanity latches on to symbols. Great hub!

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @midget Thanks for sharing. Yes, they are very popular as brooches. :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      They are just about the prettiest insects we know!! I love them as brooches! Sharing.

    • Paula Atwell profile image
      Author

      Paula Atwell 3 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      @billybuc Beautiful and interesting. Thanks. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My favorite insect....interesting facts here, Paula. Thank you!