Dragonfly Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

Dragonfly Tattoos: History, Meanings & Designs

When it comes to tattoo options that really pack a wallop, Dragonfly tattoos certainly deliver. Dragonflies have a lot of symbolism associated with them, as well as colorful carapaces that look nothing short of amazing in ink.

Like the tattoo’s owner, there’s a whole lot more than meets the eye, Let’s take a look!

Untitled-1 copy

What is the History of Dragonfly Tattoos?

Dragonfly tattoos allow you the option to draw on a lot of different interpretations, based on their myths from different cultures. For instance, the Chinese believed the dragonfly to be a symbol of prosperity and harmony, it being the actual soul of a dragon.

It also represented purity, as dragonflies seemed to sustain itself by feeding on nothing but the warm wind to sate its hunger. By contrast, the Hopi and Pueblo Native American tribes believed that dragonfly was a medicine animal and representative of adaptability and change, as it molts it’s shell up to 12 times in a lifetime.

The Navajo associated the dragonfly with water and the serenity which goes with it and when native American tribes were Christianized, monks allowed them to wear a cross with 4-arms. You may have seen this before and wondered about it. Why would there be 4 arms?

Early Catholic priests quite often allowed other cultures that they would convert to retain pagan elements, as a way to make conversion easier. As the story goes, those aren’t 4 arms that you see on that cross, but rather it is a representation of the wing and body shape of Dragonfly! It’s a symbol with quite the history, indeed!

Untitled-2 copy

What Do Dragonfly Tattoos Symbolize?

Dragonfly tattoos are often interpreted as representing a transformation or the adaptability of the tattoo’s owner. That is because these creatures will shed their ‘skins’ up to 12 times in a lifetime and they emerge from it as the colorful, graceful creatures that they are.

Dragonflies also represent a certain grace and buoyance of spirit. If you’ve ever watched them flying, it seems effortless and almost magic, as they dart to and fro with relative ease and will even land on your outstretched finger if you are patient enough and the dragonfly is feeling curious.

They are also a good symbol for those who associate with the element of water. After all, in places where dragonflies frequent, there is typically a body of water nearby.  Dragonfly can also symbolize one’s ancestry.

As there are dragonfly myths all over the world, depending on what is worn with the tattoo, it could simply express that cultural heritage so that anyone who looks upon it and can relate will instantly know that they share a common kinship with the tattoo’s owner. There are a wide variety of interpretation options — it’s ultimately up to you!

Untitled-3 copy

What Do Dragonfly Tattoos Mean?

Meaning is a very personal thing, but we can give you some general ideas and examples.

A dragonfly tattoo might mean an affiliation with a Native American tribe that reveres them. For instance, as the Hopi and the Pueblo tribes equate it with powerful medicine, then a Dragonfly tattoo might indicate a shamanic bent and a tribal association.

Someone who loves fishing and boating and has Navajo ancestry might well wear the dragonfly as a way to honor their love of water and their cultural heritage. You don’t have to be Native American to wear a dragonfly, however. Remember, there are myths from all over the world associated with these creatures.

If you like Asian culture, then you might wear a dragonfly as a way to express that you are a peaceful soul, and a dragonfly tattoo might be selected simply because one studies insects and dragonflies happen to be among the most beautiful of them.

Finally, you don’t even need any deep symbology to wear a dragonfly tattoo, as some simply select them because of the sheer aesthetics of these insects. Dragonflies are extremely colorful and delicate of shape, which makes them perfect just as an expression of Nature’s amazing natural art. The meaning is yours to decide and deeply personal – you’ve definitely got options!

Untitled-4 copy

Characteristics and Styles of Dragonfly Tattoos

Dragonfly tattoos comes in many different flavors. You might go with a photorealistic tattoo, showcasing the natural oranges, greens, and blues of the creature, along with it’s delicate shape, or you might go with a more tribal representation that simply incorporates a centerline with 4 ‘arms’.

Then you have to consider styles. A delicate dragonfly done in Japanese tattoo style would truly be a thing of beauty, or you could try the more exaggerated New School style to make a cartoonish dragonfly with attitude. A Geometrical dragonfly might be a good choice for a tech-savvy person who gracefully handles code.

Color is amazing, but not required – this is an old symbol and instantly recognized around the world. Think about what you want to express about yourself and give it a little time to percolate. You’ll be happy that you did!

Untitled-5 copy

Where Do Dragonfly Tattoos Usually Go?

Dragonfly tattoos have so much symbolism behind them that they are almost equally displayed somewhere that the world can see them or somewhere private. That said, a dragonfly on the outer arm lets everyone get a peek, though the amazing color options would make for a truly epic back piece.

A simple dragonfly on the ankle also makes a beautiful statement or it might be placed on the hip to be shared only with someone special. Once you’ve got the design down, then don’t worry – the perfect placement will quickly come to you!

Untitled-6 copy

Some final words on Dragonfly Tattoos

Today we’ve talked about Dragonfly tattoos and as you can see, you’ve really got a lot of options as to what you can say and do with them. They can represent heritage or grace of the soul. Dragonflies can express shamanic spirituality or simply show the world the natural aesthetics of this beauty that Nature created.

Take the time to envision your design and to find an artist whose portfolio you like and the sky is the limit with Dragonfly tattoos!

Leave a Reply