Dragonfly – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

In spiritual and symbolical sense, beautiful dragonflies represent human soul, regeneration and life.

This enchanting and colorful insect shares many of its symbolical characteristics and traits with his flying cousin, the Butterfly.

Just as butterflies, dragonflies are born from caterpillars. They symbolize rebirth, karma, the circle of life and immortality. They are associated with two of the most powerful life forces, the air and the water.

What do dragonflies symbolize?

These enchanting insects are some of rare members of wide family of insects that are not so repulsive and scary to humans.

There are only few others that we admire, love, and are not afraid of, such as butterflies, ladybugs and, perhaps, hardworking and amazing bees.

Unlike the later, dragonflies are benevolent and they do not bite humans, which is certainly something that makes them even more attractive and inspiring.

Dragonfly is an ultimate symbol of some of the greatest qualities and values people admire and aim for. It embodies the idea of freedom, fortune, wisdom, peace and harmony;

In addition, dragonflies are usually seen as positive omens, mysterious creatures that bring good luck, prosperity and purity. Because of their specific biological life path, they also represent change, transformation, resurrection and development.

However, not all cultural conceptions are the same. We will see later on.

Dragonflies are connected with realms of dreams and human subconscious. As a spirit animal, this creature helps us bring our hidden thoughts and emotions to life, to have a better insight and understanding of our own self.

It is a powerful totem animal that helps people deal with everyday challenges.

Dragonfly gives us strength to go through big events in life, such as great or unexpected changes, either bad or good.

Dragonfly is probably the most powerful insect totem and spirit animal when it comes to discovering strength and power of our own subconscious, intuition and spirituality;

Dragonfly spiritual meaning and cultural significance

Dragonflies are associated with both positive thoughts and fortune and mystical dark forces. This incredible flying creature has a deep connection with realms beyond our imagining, so it gives us the glance to those magical universes. It brings harmony and peace to the world, as it is believed in many cultures around the planet.

Dragonfly is one of the less known Feng Shui symbols. It is rarely mentioned and often stays in shadow of more popular Feng Shui animals, such as tortoise, frog or dragon. It is interesting that dragonfly motif or figurine could be placed anywhere in your home and it will still bring you luck and fortune, no matter if you keep it beside your front door or in your bedroom.


Chinese, Feng Shui masters, believe dragonflies are manifestation of dragons, in a miniature form. Well, that explains why English word for this Anisoptera (classification order) insect;

It is interesting that dragonflies are called different names in languages around the world and many of those have some magical aspect within. Apart from being identified with dragon in some languages, these insects are also associated with fairies and other supernatural beings.

In some Slavic languages, dragonflies are called ‘vilinski konjici’ and the closest translation for this term would be ‘fairies’ horses’. Their enchanting and magical appearance makes them perfect fairies’ companions, indeed;

Japanese tombo

Japanese people have always had a sophisticated sense for all natural phenomena that are beautiful, gracious and amazing. Their delicate taste in nature and beauty did not miss out beautiful dragonflies, flying spirits that are highly praised and admired in Japan.

Did you know that Japan is also called Akitsushima, which is Japanese for ‘Island of the Dragonfly’? Modern Japanese term for a dragonfly is ‘tombo’ and the old one is’ ‘akitsu’, while ‘shima’ means an island;

Japanese tell many stories and legends about origins of their land and its mythical name. According to one of the stories (they all begin with one main figure, which is a legendary emperor of Japan), mythical Emperor was sitting atop of the highest of mountains, looking down upon his land.

As he was looking at the shape of islands below, the way they are positioned, lying in waters, reminded him of a dragonfly. Stories slightly differ, but they all tell us about dragonfly-like shape of the islands of Japan.

According to one of legendary Japanese tales, the islands and their connection with the continent resemble the sight of two mating dragonflies, in another one islands are described as a curled dragonfly, while others tell about flying dragonflies;

We leave to your imagination to decide which legend is the most appealing. Search for an image of Japan map and compare it to pictures of magnificent dragonflies!

Apart from this inspiring legend, dragonflies have been always appreciated and loved in Japan as symbols of glory and victory. They were particularly significant for Japanese samurai warriors.

Samurai dragonfly

Dragonflies had important place in Japanese cultural history. They were known as fortunate insects with magical powers. It was believed they bring glory and victory to Japanese warriors. Japanese admired this enchanting flying creature for its beauty and traits they would ascribe to it.

They thought of dragonfly as symbol of victory, courage and fearlessness.

Did you know samurai helmets are made to resemble the shape of a dragonfly? This so-called dragonfly helmet was invented in seventeenth century’s Japan and it was worn by commanders and military leaders of high rank so they would be easily spotted on the battlefield;

Japanese warrior equipment was commonly adorned with dragonfly motifs. If you think of a battle, it is logical to assume high ranked lords with so remarkable helmets and armor would be easily followed by their warriors, but they would also be an easy target for an enemy.

Therefore, we could certainly think of dragonflies as Japanese symbols of great honor, bravery, knighthood and magnificence.

According to one Japanese legend, the twenty-first emperor of Japan named the whole prefecture the Dragonfly plain or Akitsu-no in Japanese, in honor of a lucky bug who saved him from an biting horsefly, by killing and eating the malicious bug;

Modern Japan

Japanese are known for nurturing their traditions and incorporating them in their modern life and work. Today, dragonfly motifs are to be seen in all sorts of artworks, from pottery and paintings to fabric designs, clothing and fashionable accessories.

Dragonflies remind Japanese people of the old tradition of rice growing, because these beautiful insects inhabit plains where rice paddies lie.

Modern Japanese still believe dragonflies are souls of their ancestors, appearing in our real world. They praise those insects and regularly organize the summer festival of Obon, in honor of dragonflies and spirits of their ancestors;

European and American folklore

Opposing to positive and glorious depiction of dragonflies in Japan, European Westerners did not have much love for these beautiful insects. They associated them with witchcraft and even Satan! There are many names given to this innocent insect, which include Devil’s Needle, Ear Cutter and Horse Stinger.

Negative conception of dragonflies was also spread to Australia, once Britain had colonized the continent.

Europeans named dragonfly the Horse Stinger, because they had wrongly accused the insect to bite horses. It is true horses would often be seen waving their tales to chase dragonflies away, but these insects actually hunt and eat parasites that bother horses;

There are also other strange beliefs about dragonflies in Europe. Old Romanian folklore says dragonflies are some sort of demon-possessed horses, while in Sweden people believe dragonflies are Devil’s tools and assistants for weighing human souls.

Because of their strange eyes and appearance, dragonflies are also commonly associated with snakes.

Native Americans also link dragonflies to snakes. In South America, people believe dragonflies are snake healers. They help injured snakes heal and make them whole again if they are hurt or cut;

In Native American folklore of the North, dragonflies are seen as fast, agile and magical beings. They symbolize activity, quickness, agility and speed. For Navajo tribe, dragonflies are closely related to water element and represent its purity.

Dragonfly spiritual meaning in general

Dragonfly spirit is by all means a magical one. Forget about those notorious old European beliefs, because these beautiful insects are truly benevolent and they do not represent any threat to humans.

They would bite you if you catch and hold them, but only to defend and free themselves, which is a natural response.

However, very few of them are able to do any damage to us.

They are not poisonous or anything like that.

People find dragonflies intriguing and fascinating, so they would catch them just of a pure curiosity or to collect them;

Cultural and folklore attitudes towards dragonflies vary, as we have seen. The greatest difference is seen between Far Eastern and Westerners’ ideas about these beautiful, strange and incredible insects.

However, we could summarize some of the ideas and create a general picture about dragonfly symbolism and their importance for people who do not represent either of the ideas mention, but deal with spirituality and strongly believe in mystical forces and signs coming from our magical earthly companions.

Dragonflies are seen both divine and devilish beings, but they are always depicted as magical or in connection with spiritual realms;

What does it mean when a dragonfly lands on you?

Common superstitions about insects often include those about specific insect’s behavior or an act, such as landing on human body. Some insects are believed to bring fortune, others to be bad omens.

What about dragonflies?

Speaking symbolically, without messing up with different cultural conceptions about these insects, it is generally accepted amongst spiritual people that dragonflies are lucky insects. They are beautiful, benevolent and appear magical.

If a dragonfly lands on you, it is a positive omen. Dragonflies are connected with mystical positive energies of spiritual realms and they pass those positive vibrations to you;

Because of their specific manner of flight and so fast movement of wings, which makes them appear invisible, dragonflies represent illusions. Thus, if a one lands on you, it reminds you should get rid of illusions you surrounded yourself with or simply pay closer attention to your environment and people around you.

Do not let fairness and soft talk seduce you; get on your feet and break the magical circle.

If a dragonfly lands of you, it might be carrying a message of change. This delicate creature represents transformation and might be a herald of big life changes;

Dragonfly totem and spirit animal

Dragonfly totem is mystical and extremely spiritual one. This delicate, colorful insect carries messages from realms unknown to humans and reveals the great mysteries of life; as a totem animal, on a personal, very intimate level.

Dragonfly people are mysterious, extraordinary people with smiles on their faces and positive approach to life.

They have great wisdom and knowledge about the world and they might be in touch with levels of our subconscious that are not easy to reach for everyone.

However, their peaceful and harmonious characters never let them feel down about miseries and misfortune this life is certainly made up of.

They value all things in life and are aware overall existence must consist of both positive and negative things, in order to be balanced and harmonious in general.

They have amazing intuition and perception.

Illusion and transformation

Dragonflies represent transformation. These insects begin their lives in water, then go through caterpillar stage and finally rise into the air in a form of beautiful colorful dragonflies. Both water and air are powerful elements that represent changes, emotions and soul. Dragonflies’ connection with so fluid and mysterious elements makes them even more magical.

Dragonfly persons are aware of constant change. They believe in movement, transcendental things and transformation;

Dragonfly people are able to adapt to different circumstances in life. They are ready for changes and embrace life opportunities with their arms wide open.

They, however, do not risk much, because their powerful intuition helps them evaluate the right moment to act.

They are calm, relaxed and observant. Dragonfly people believe in power of change and know that sun always shines after the rain.

Fortune and optimism

Dragonfly personalities are extremely positive. They are open-minded and love to learn. Their natural optimism helps them go through the most difficult life situations and survive them without damage.

Their souls are pure and intact by envy, greed or lust.

Dragonfly attracts fortune and prosperity, so people born under Dragonfly totem are predisposed to have happy lives. It does not mean they do not face danger or evil, but they do not give them credits.

Dragonfly people are characterized by positive and optimistic approach to life, which brings them good luck and attract positive energy;

Dragonfly people are rarely to be found involved with shady business and bad people. They surround themselves with good, loyal and supportive friends, because that is how they behave towards others.

They do not find it hard to help those in need and do that with all their heart. Dragonfly people are very pleasant to be around.

Extravagancy and charisma

Think of dragonflies’ vibrant and sparkling colors and their fast moving, silent wings. These magical features are passed on to Dragonfly people from their totem animal. These extraordinary individuals are very charismatic, artistic and chic.

They find it natural to stand out of masses and easily attract attention. However, they are not loud, aggressive or annoying. They do not seek attention by noise and scandal, but by their positive attitude and smile that takes breath away.

Dragonfly people have sophisticated taste in art and fashion and often find themselves involved with such things, either as a hobby or a profession;

They are chic and fashionable, sometimes eccentric. These individuals are talented and attracted to art, music and similar things. They could be narcissistic and think of themselves as avant-garde divas, but it is easily reduced by their good nature and intelligence.

Illusions, mysticism and spirituality

Dragonfly represents mystery, secrets and illusions. If this animal is your totem, it means you have great ability to create illusions. It does not mean Dragonfly people are deceptive and tricky, but they do surround themselves with a curtain of mystery. They enjoy that.

This ‘habit’ makes other people intrigued and fascinated about Dragonfly individuals. They are masters of disguise, but in an artistic, spiritual and magical way.

Dragonfly people are dreamers and masters of creative illusions, which might be both good or bad for themselves;

On the other hand, Dragonfly totem reminds you not to lose yourself in illusions you created or found yourself into. Bad side of Dragonfly personalities is that they could be seduced by mystical things (e.g. alternative cults or such).

Just keep your mind reasonable and divide fantasy from reality.

Wisdom and intuition

Dragonfly people are wise, introspective and open minded at the same time. They absorb knowledge from the world around them and learn from experience. They are interested in deeper knowledge, even mystical and spiritual.

They are intelligent and sharp minded, mostly focused on social sciences or art, rather than exact sciences.

Dragonfly people are certainly the ones you should seek an advice from. They have great experience and gathered knowledge about many subjects;

They also have good intuition and are not easily manipulated, except in terms and conditions mentioned above. You could not outsmart them by double-dealing and trickery. They are far more intelligent and intuitive than that.

Enjoyment and harmony

Dragonfly people know how to enjoy life. They are peaceful, benevolent and harmonious. Vibrations they spread around are positive and thus they attract luck and fortune to their lives.

They are good in mediation and they are peacemakers. Dragonfly people love life and life loves them back.

Dragonfly tattoo meaning

Dragonfly tattoo is an interesting one, because it is one of the rare female tattoo designs featuring an insect. They are of similar symbolism as butterfly tattoos. Dragonfly tattoos are done in different manners, but the most common is simple picture of this gentle insect with its wings spread.

Dragonfly tattoos symbolize lightness, harmony, life, peace, femininity, elegance and beauty;

Dragonfly tattoos also represent connection with spiritual realm, souls of deceased loved ones, deeper knowledge and higher self;