Dragonfly Symbolism – The Eye-Snatcher

A dragonfly came to visit me last week. I live in the middle of a city so this was an unusual occurance. I can’t remember the last time I saw one but I do remember the first time I ever saw a dragonfly.I was five years old and on holiday with my parents and Grandmother in Torquay. I was happily playing by the pool when this huge THING flew past me. They must have heard me screaming all the way across the ocean. I was convinced it was going to sting me. My Grandmother mopped me up and told me they don’t sting and that I was safe from the big flying monster. She also told me that they only live for a day. Wonder took over fear and I saw the dragonfly in a new light. I noticed the iridescence of its wings, its similarity to fairies (whom of course I absolutely believed in). I could not contemplate being born, growing up, living and dying in a single day.

Now whilst writing this article some 38 years later (!), I have discovered that dragonflies can in fact live up to 3 years but their connection to a short adult life (in comparison to the lavae stage) still generates much of the meaning found in folklore and symbolism. Most likely, my Grandmother had confused them with mayflies of which certain species do only live for a day. But there is something that endures with the dragonfly. They seem to evoke a moment of mystery – their dance in the air brings a little magic into the every day.

Dragonfly visits us to remind us to live life to the fullest. What do you want to do with your life? Do your really want to put off your dreams until tomorrow, next week, next year? Dragonfly reminds us that living is the moment, the breath of now. Happiness is the spark within, new beginnings are possible, transformation can happen. There is hope and there is change coming.

As a creature of water, dragonfly can also serve to remind us that what we can dream, we can manifest. Dragonflies are born in water and spend the majority of their lives as larvae living in pools. At this stage they are known as nymphs. Their affinity to water connects us with our unconscious and the dreaming mind. Look to what is bubbling up from the depths. What are you manifesting in your own life? Old European folklore told children that if they misbehaved the dragonfly would come and sew shut their eyes and ears as they slept. This too is symbolic for turning ones attention inward to attend to the inner mind and the depths of the psyche. When dragonfly appears in your life perhaps it is time to consider what your dreaming mind is trying to tell you. In Portugal they are also called ‘tira-olhos’ – Taker of eyes or eye-snatcher. A dragonfly has two eyes made up of around 30,000 individual lenses. Perhaps, this is why they were seen as eye thieves. Sometimes we need to close our eyes in order to see. Sometimes we simply need to look with our heart.

Dragonfly may be born of water but they end their lives in the air: the delicate body blown by the wind. Sometimes you need to check which way the wind is going before you set sail incase you are blown off course. At other times, maybe you need to go where the wind takes you, allow life to carry you to a new destination. The movement from water to air suggests that whilst our feelings carry a primary urge, they must be tested against the logic of the mind. With the application of a little thought, dreams can take flight.

There are many species of Dragonfly across the world in a spectacular range of iridescent colours. Dragonfly may also bring to our attention that we too are made of light. Perhaps there is a need to lighten the load in order for our true colours to shine.

For me personally the main message was about living life in the now – the old story my Grandmother told me still rings in my ears. I felt such joy as my visitor circled around me and danced through the sunlight. The fragility of beauty, the sheer joy of light. My dragonfly reminded me that there is nothing to fear.

3 thoughts on “Dragonfly Symbolism – The Eye-Snatcher”

  1. Leah Whitehorse

    Hi Susannah – thank you! I had been wanting to change the site around for a while. I think I have square eyes after all the staring at the computer screen I have done this week but I think it was worth it 🙂

  2. I really love dragonflies, as you said. They are dreamy. They make me forget about the world for a while.

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