Fairly often, I am asked about my tattoo. It is not something that I put on display on a regular basis, especially while working in a professional setting. My tattoo is located behind my right ear and it large enough to be seen from quite a distance but it is private to me. I didn’t get the tattoo on a whim, I thought about it for two years before committing to the ink. It is a symbol of going through a very long hardship and coming out in a different place. In addition, I was being recruited for a new position in another financial services organization based in the same city that houses the headquarters for Smith and Wesson and the Basketball Hall of Fame. That would mean this Island Girl would be living across the country in Massachusetts. At the time, I didn’t even know how to spell “Massachusetts”. Dragonflies are a symbol of change and change is peeking over the horizon in my life.
2007: Interesting to me, I became fixated on dragonflies this summer, right about the time when I was ready to escape. Escape from the prison of lies that had consumed, enveloped and torn down my peace of mind. My body and brain existed in constant fear, fear for the safety of my daughter, fear for my own safety, fear of what this stranger in my home might do. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t release myself from high alert. Code red. The truth had begun to chip away at the bright and shiny exterior of bling and things and I realized that my gut instincts are always to be trusted. Why it took so long, I didn’t want to think on that. Forgiveness is in progress, my heart has locked itself back into stillness. Thankfully, I am starting to turn the key. Turn slowly, just as I should kiss slowly.
Beginning on my birthday in April, I saw dragonflies in my dreams, I noticed images of dragonflies in books and magazines and I often mistook images as being dragonflies. They had consumed my thoughts. Strange but true. Why dragonflies? I had no idea. Because really, they are just bugs. And I don’t so much dig on bugs.
In passing, I had mentioned this to my dear friend a few months ago and she recently hand-crafted me a gorgeous dragonfly necklace. It means so much to me that she took such time and care to design a gift so personal and meaningful and now, as I discover, so powerful.
It is said in some Native American beliefs that dragonflies are a symbol of renewal after a time of great hardship. Think about it, dragonflies are a symbol of renewal. Consider what they go through in terms of physical development…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, 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 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.
So there you have it, or there I have it. The dragonfly suffers through various stages of metamorphosis, some painful, some long and trying, before it can develop wings strong enough to fly. Only after it gains it’s strength does it fulfill is beauty. To quote india.arie (who wore butterfly wings the last time I saw her perform): “My body is nice and strong…But my heart is in a million pieces. When the sun is shining so am I…but when night falls, so do my tears…Sometimes the fear is so loud in my head…that I can barely hear what God says. Then I hear the angels whisper that this too shall pass.” Or in my case, the dragonflies whisper.
About the Dragonfly
The meaning of the dragonfly according to the medicine cards:
Dragonfly medicine always beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which you need to change. […] If you feel the need for change, call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation.
Follow Dragonfly to the place inside your body where magic is still alive, and drink deeply of its power. […] This ability is ever changing, and contains within it the knowledge that you are creating it all.
“There is no death. Only a change of worlds.”
– Chief Seattle [Seatlh], Suquamish Chief-
The more that I learn about this small but very powerful creature, the more I understand that it is not only a testimony to beauty, but also to strength and more importantly, change.