Dragonflies and Damselflies

One of my favorite things about having a garden (besides being able to step outside my door to pick some omelet fixins) is watching the insects and animals that come around it.  This year, I am especially entranced by the dragonflies and damselflies.  Here are some quick facts about both from my favorite source, Ted Andrews’ Animal-Speak.

  • Dragonflies have broad bodies and large eyes; damselflies have slender bodies.  Dragonflies still hold their wings out even when not flying; damselflies fold their wings back when at rest.
  • Dragonflies and damselflies have been around for at least 180 million years.  They are very adaptable creatures, which has helped it survive for so long.  They can even fly with only one pair of wings if need be.
  • Both inhabit two realms:  water and air.  Therefore, they symbolize both emotion (water) and intellect (air).
  • In Japanese art, dragonflies are used to represent light and joy.  To the Native Americans, they represent the souls of the dead.  For some, they are the mythical relatives of real, ancient dragons.
  • The fantastic iridescent blues and greens of dragonflies are created in much the same way that rainbows are formed.  Structures in the dragonfly’s shell scatter and refract the sunlight.

Ted Andrews writes that dragonflies and damselflies symbolize transformation and the power of light.  As he writes, “Life is never quite the way it appears, but it is always filled with light and color.  Dragonfly can help you to see through your illusions and thus allow your own light to shine forth.  Dragonfly brings the brightness of transformation and the wonder of colorful new vision.

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