Several years ago I started having close encounters with dragonflies. They began to show up everywhere I turned. Outside on my deck, sitting by water, taking a walk, they flew around me and landed on me in numbers that I’d never encountered before. At the same time, several new clients arrived wearing dragonfly jewelry or accessories and I was given a couple of dragonfly inspired gifts.
I’ve learned over the years that when something starts showing up in my life in that way, Spirit is generally trying to get my attention! I’ve also learned to pay attention to these kinder, gentler nudges, so Spirit doesn’t need to get my attention in more assertive ways!
Being a naturally curious person I undertook some research about dragonflies and was completely fascinated with what I found. It became quite apparent why dragonflies were showing up en masse at that point of my life. There are no coincidences!
A Butterfly Summer
Years before I’d had a similar experience with butterflies and went to various sources to discover the meaning of butterflies. Every day when I walked my dogs in the tree farm behind my house I would see hundreds of butterflies, many of them dancing together and then parting. As I’m sure you know, butterflies symbolize making a transformation or being reborn. Seeing butterflies fly upward circling each other and then part, going in separate directions, can relate to a change or end in a relationship.
For me, both things were true. Shortly after my “butterfly summer” I made the very difficult decision to leave my 30-year marriage and move out on my own, leaving my kids with their dad. At 52, I was living on my own for the first time in my life. It was the end of many relationships as I knew them, including my relationship with myself, and certainly was a time of transformation. It took a while longer for the rebirth part, as I struggled to adjust to a life as a single woman, having also left my paid employment, trying to support myself with my newly opened healing center.
The Transformation of the Dragonfly
Years later, enter the dragonflies, which symbolize breaking through illusions of the tangible world! Dragonflies start out as nymphs, living for many years at the bottom of a body of water. All they know is their dark, quiet, watery world. Until one moment when, driven by a biological imperative, they begin to seek out a plant stem they can climb.
And they begin a journey to a completely unknown world, following this biological imperative to move toward the light. They climb the stalk while simultaneously undergoing a process of transformation from a nymph to a dragonfly. When they reach a leaf or flower on the water’s surface they begin to unfurl their wings and let the sun and wind dry off any remaining water. Once dry, they begin to fly and do whatever it is that dragonflies do!
Imagine this process for both the caterpillar and the nymph. Each enters a process of transformation without having any idea of what is happening. Inside the cocoon the caterpillar turns to mush before it begins to reform and rebirth itself into a butterfly. The nymph also completely changes form on its way to becoming a dragonfly.
In each case, the original being must die to its old self in order to emerge into its fullest potential.
Don’t you just love this idea? Some scientists have referred to this as imaginal cells. The “idea” of what we are to become, whether we’re an acorn, a caterpillar, a nymph or a human being, is already known to our cells and is waiting the perfect conditions and timing to fully actualize.
My ‘dragonfly summer’ represented this passageway in my own life. It was time to break through the illusions of the tangible or “real” world, listen to my spiritual imperative to enter my own transformation, be willing to die to the parts of myself that were no longer serving me, and trust that I would be held in the process until I was ready to rebirth a fuller version of myself.
Sounds easy, eh? LOL. Not so much. Unlike the caterpillar and the dragonfly, whose purpose is clear and short-lived, we humans have a longer and more complicated period of rebirth. It is a moment to moment opportunity to seek a higher perspective, gain deeper clarity of our passions and our purpose, learn to live from the heart and let go of all the emotions, beliefs and patterns that keep us grasping on to the old self.
One of my clients told me today that she’d been having close encounters with both butterflies and dragonflies just this past week. I smiled and shared my story with her. I invited her to be open to the possibility that they have shown up for a reason and to pay attention to her life in a new way. If she is open she may have the opportunity to enter a period of deep and profound transformation and rebirth. If not, she could just see it as an interesting experience and go back to life as usual. There’s no right way, no judgment, just the knowing that her life will reflect her choices.
How about you? Are you having your own butterfly or dragonfly moments? Is Spirit trying to get your attention? Are you open to the possibility that some spiritual imperative is bubbling up inside of you? And, if so, are you willing to say YES and allow it to unfold?
Sometimes this unfloding can create challenges. At West Hartford Holistic Counseling Center we love hearing about and helping you through your experiences of transforming and giving birth to a more authentic, passionate and purposeful you! You can contact us at by email or call us at 860-258-4171.