We all know what dragonflies are. They zip and zoom around our flowers, ponds, and even around us. But what does all that flying around tell us? Dragonflies are known for their ability to hover in one spot for a very long time and for their darting from place to place. They breed near the water, so given the right temperatures, if you find fresh water, you can find dragonflies. To paint a picture of their speed, the dragonfly can go from a dead halt to about 90 miles per hour in just a few seconds. Dragonflies possess two sets of wings, however, if needed, they can fly just fine with one pair. This particular insect has been on Earth for over 100 million years. Because of this, they have a wonderful ability to adapt to their surroundings. They are amazing creatures, and amazing creatures often come with interesting mythology.
In the Dakota/Lakota mythology, the dragonfly is equated with the mirage or illusion, because their wings beat so rapidly that the human eye cannot see it. In the Lakota tribe, this insect and concept of illusion was often invoked when they wanted to confused their enemies. Dragonfly represented the god or spirit of “Whirlwind.”
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Ireland and parts of Europe, dragonflies were associated with fairies. Some fables and fairytales, if you will, told that if you followed a dragonfly, it would lead you to fairies. Others said that they were the steeds of fairies. This leads to an association with magic. Dragonflies are so full of spiritual energy and a sort of magic, that they represent the ability to travel between dimensions.
Dragonflies are depicted often in Japanese paintings as representations of new joy and light. And, like the Lakota tribe’s mythology, dragonflies can teach illusion. They tell us that things are not always as they seem, and that life itself is not always what it appears to be.
Information from Ted Andrews's Animal-Speak, Jessica Dawn Palmer's Animal Wisdom, and Steven D. Farmer's Power Animals.