I am sitting by the rooftop pool in a hotel and watching a dragonfly trapped behind a glass wall. Its wings are crimson and they reflect an iridescent shimmer as it flies. I marvel at how powerfully the spirits are communicating with me today as I have come here with the intention to write about the symbolism of dragonfly, its significance in my life, and how it represents my work today.
When I was a kid, I loved being among nature. I loved playing in the gardens – finding cool, shaded spots among bougainvillea shrubs and creating sanctuaries for myself. I was a natural witch, spending lots of time collecting ingredients from various parts of plants, slicing up little roots, picking flower petals, extracting juices from leaves – and I’d pretend to make potions on a crudely assembled altar in the garden. I was happiest when I was in nature – feeling an easy flow with the elements and an innate understanding of how energy worked.
Like any child, I had a vivid imagination and I believed in magical creatures. I imagined what it was like befriend a mermaid or to come across water babies. I was into unicorns, dragons, fairies. I also loved dragonflies. To me, they were almost mystical creatures, in the same league as unicorns. There was a tree from my childhood that attracted lots of dragonflies in the early evenings and I used to play with them every day. They seemed to dance rather than buzz or fly or any other words usually used to describe the movement of insects. I didn’t think of dragonflies as insects, they were from a magical dimension, as far as I was concerned.
Today, the dragonfly is still very appealing to me. In my spiritual path, learning to work with animal symbolism in the shamanic tradition has opened me up to establish stronger links with my spiritual self and has provided pragmatic tools for me to exercise my personal power. In working with the Power of the Dragonfly, I’ve discovered that my work converges with this power: what the dragonfly stands for sums up neatly what my work is about.
The premise of my work is that we are seldom as trapped as we think we are. It’s an illusion, and we have the power to not only see through this illusion but to change, transmute, transform what we saw as a helpless situation. This is why my body movement system is called Body Renew – “body” being our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies; and the concept of being able to renew ourselves on these different levels.
In Native American Shamanism, the dragonfly stands for Illusion. As an insect, the dragonfly is remarkable in its ability to manoeuver its body and change directions during flight. It can fly up to 30 mph and spot movement 40 feet away. What this means is that the dragonfly can approach and see things from many different angles, rather than stuck with one viewpoint. This is how we see through illusion. Moreover, its ability to reflect and refract light gives the impression of transforming colours – another way of showing us that things are never quite what it appears to be.
See the convergence? That is why I have decided to use the dragonfly in my logo. The logo is created by Adam George, artist, shamanic facilitator, sailor and healer. My heartfelt appreciation to Adam for his creative help and being so spot-on in ‘getting’ where I’m coming from.
Looking up, I see that the dragonfly is no longer behind the glass wall. It has found a way out of its trappedness – a perfect illustration of its shamanic power. I’m going to pay attention and watch its movements, knowing that such a perfect manifestation can only carry a powerful message for me…..