Understanding This Beautiful, Delicate and Fierce Creature…
The image of the dragonfly sparks the creative power of the imagination. Living
in an aura of fantasy, the dragonfly’s fluttering wings inspire thoughts
of fairies and butterflies; bubbles and snowflakes. They flit from flower to
flower, from tree to tree; settling on dew-kissed leaves and grass. Within sight
yet always out of reach, the dragonfly has buzzed itself into the tattoo culture.
Dragonfly tattoo designs are landing everywhere – on arms, chests, hips
Now, instead of capturing these enchanting creatures in glass jars or nets,
many people have decided to eternally capture them on containers of flesh. Blue,
green, or violet; pink, silver or golden; the dragonfly has proven itself a
deserving addition to the world of parlor art.
Why Are Dragonfly Tattoo Designs So Popular?
Dragonflies began to see a sharp rise in popularity in the later half of the
90’s. Along with ladybugs, butterflies, fairies and flowers, they witnessed
to a rising trend of young women going “under the gun”. Small, demure
but incredibly sexy designs began showing up more and more often across the
country, and in truth, the world. On breasts, shoulders, hipbones and tailbones,
starkly feminine designs like the dragonfly were finding more forms and homes.
But dragonflies have brought with them more than simply an artistic appeal.
The more that you learn about this small but very powerful creature, the more
you understand that it is not only a testimony to beauty, but also to strength
and more importantly, change.
You see, the dragonfly is very similar to the butterfly in two respects: first,
they both are flying insects with four wings, and secondly, they both go through
a metamorphosis period to emerge as fully formed and functional new creatures.
For the dragonfly (and its closest relative, the damselfly), life starts out
encased in an egg. These eggs are laid in water, and when the young dragonfly
emerges, it is known as a nymph. These juvenile dragonflies are not nearly of
the beauty or stature of their adult counterparts. In fact, they can be downright
ugly. Their wings are tiny and their jaws are large and extended, to make it
easier to find their favorite foods (like mosquito larvae). They can spend three
years in the nymph stage, living in water, waiting to truly take form.
The chance that the procedure of morphing from nymph to dragonfly is painful
is very high. The first step seems easy enough. The nymph just climbs out of
the water to rest on a plant stem or leaf. But then, the process really begins!
The skin of the nymph begins to split, with the new head emerging from the ruins.
The rest of it emerges, until finally free, its wings have a chance to dry and
become strong enough to fly. The process takes about two hours. However, it
won’t be fully complete for another day or two, when the beautiful colors
begin to fully come in.
Putting the “Dragon” In Dragonfly
Dragonflies were originally given their name to pay tribute to the awesome power
and strength of their jaws for hunting and catching their prey. Their diet consists
mostly of flies and mosquitoes and the like, which luckily we view as pests.
As a matter of fact, their hunting skills are usefulness to us has earned them
the nickname of “mosquito hawk”.
Of course, the dragonfly has been around for millions of millennia, showing
up many years before dinosaurs emerged. This has given them plenty of time to
adapt to their environment and breed in amazing hunting and survival skills.
The only real difference between their ancient predecessors and the modern progeny
is in the matter of size and wingspan. The ancient dragonflies were considerably
larger than even the largest of today’s dragonflies (which has a pretty
impressive 7” wingspan).
Through this time, they’ve learned to maneuver like masters, out-flying
and out-thinking their prey. They’ve also got amazing eyesight, with eyes
somewhat like a spiders, based on hundred of small 6 sided facets which form
a grid-like pattern to detect even the slightest movements.
So, what may have appeared as simply a feminine design turns out, in fact,
to be quite a fierce natural predator! Much like the people who chose the dragonfly
as their emblem, it would be dangerous to judge these creatures based on appearances
alone – especially is you’re a mosquito.
The Hidden Meaning of the Dragonfly
The dragonfly’s shell is designed with special facets that reflect and
refract their beautiful colors and the light of the sun. This almost sparkling
appearance has leant added meaning to the dragonfly’s form. They’ve
taken on a mystical and magical symbolism. The dragonfly’s magic is it’s
light magic, and all of the wonderful similes, metaphors and clichés
that light has inspired. In Japan, the Japanese people have chosen to honor
the dragonfly as a symbol of joy and new light.
Thus, the dragonfly has come to be an image that inspires us to not only learn
to practice the shedding and mirroring of light in our own lives, but to learn
to see when others are doing it too!
Your Dragonfly Tattoo Design
Dragonflies lend themselves to so many other thought, ideas and associations
that it’s pretty much futile to limit the possibilities for a dragonfly
tattoo design. Any color you like would be appropriate: silver, gold, emerald
green, sky blue, grey, lavender, you name it. They can appear on ankles, thighs,
backsides, lower backs, shoulders, armbands and breasts.
Additionally, dragonflies certainly aren’t limited to women! In Native
American astrology, there is a strong belief that each person has a totem animal
spirit which serves as their guardians and guides through certain phases of
life. Often, an individual would have many different totems throughout life,
some for just a time, some for their entire lives. And one of these totem spirits
was the spirit of the dragonfly. It would adopt men and women, young and old.
The dragonfly spirit means you must consciously make an effort to express your
hopes, dreams, needs and wishes.
The dragonfly spirit is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of
wisdom and enlightenment; and the communication from the elemental world. Its
medicine beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which need changing.
You can turn to the dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to
the pathway of transformation.
Is the dragonfly spirit beckoning to you?
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