The Midnight Blue Dragonfly
This very large indigo blue dragonfly was waiting for me beside the raised lily pond at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina one steamy August afternoon. He patiently paused while I got him framed and in focus, allowed me two snaps of the shutter, and then was gone. That’s how dragonflies are, you know, here and then gone–with maybe a bit of fairy dust left in their wake.
Like many people, I find dragonflies captivating and am thrilled when I meet a new one. There’s the name, of course–I mean, who isn’t drawn to a flying lizard that spews flames? There’s that magical association with fairies and other dancing spirits, too. And in the physical plane, dragonflies can angle and beat their front and back wings independently—how cool is that? And they migrate! Dragonfly migration is not the international event of a monarch butterfly journey, but the nomadic doings of dragonflies are just as amazing. The thing that I find really special about dragonflies, though, is their role as Spirit Animal, specifically their association with Illusion.
House of Mirrors
I think often about illusion, thanks to Dragonfly, and I have a metaphor that I use to remind myself how I create my own world of illusion by manipulating my perceptions of things to fit my expectations. It goes something like this…
Imagine yourself surrounded by people, situations, and things—all the people, situations, and things that are in your life now or were ever in your life. Each one of those brought some energy to your existence, but exactly what was brought and the impact it continues to have in your life is going to depend upon your perception. Perception is widely defined as the “organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment”. Yeah, how we organize things in our minds and then assign meaning to them.
The interpretation part is what’s important here because it’s very easy to manipulate experiences by making judgments, assigning intent to others, allocating importance to events, and remembering just those bits of life that support your “story of you”. Consider that you can feed the emotions you hold around a memory until you create a reflection, not quite of what happened, but of what you expect to see every time you conjure the memory up in your mind. If you invest enough energy, especially into judgments of good and bad, you eventually build an entire house of mirrors with dingy looking-glass after dingy looking-glass set neatly in front of each person, situation, or thing in your life—reflecting back to you exactly what you expect to see and feel.
As you wander around in your house of mirrors, and see staring back at you from each glass precisely what you project into it, consider how many of those mirrors reflect back to you pain and hurts, slights and disrespects, a battering of your self-esteem. We all have a tendency to continue holding those particular mirrors up before us so we might gaze again and again into them, keeping the pain alive–not aware that we have the power to just…drop them. Drop them to the floor.
Dragonfly would ask that you pause right now and simply drop a mirror. You know that one you crafted so carefully and polish daily to explain the reality of your childhood? Yes, yes, the one that keeps the sting of the painful relationship with your father, your mother, your sister, your brother, your grandmother, your uncle, your fourth-grade teacher, your junior high bully alive? Yes, there may be many. Pick one and throw it down. Who sits there behind the mirror? A broken little boy, a scared little girl? Do they still hold the power that you’ve built up in the illusion that you fed—the perception and the story that you allowed to reflect back to you?
Now, what if you continue to throw down mirrors? How about the one that reflects back to you the slight that was intended when you didn’t get that promotion? The one that beams back the jealousy you perceive from the folks next door? (Yes, yes, your car is nice and your lawn looks fabulous). What about one or two of the dozens that keep your anger with your ex-spouse alive? Just one or two…go ahead and smash them. Is there anything at all behind those mirrors once you smash the illusion? Or is there just empty space that can now fill up with something insanely happy, positive, and uplifting?
Release What No Longer Serves You
Spiritual people talk a lot about “releasing that which no longer serves you”. Watch yourself a little Oprah on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll eventually come across someone talking about the need for release. That’s what Dragonfly is all about—releasing all those beliefs and stories that you carefully keep alive to explain your life. Yeah, smashing mirrors. Or simply allowing them to dissolve into vapors. And just why should you bother? Because all those mirrors–all those stories–are weighing you down and Dragonfly wants you to lighten up and become air-borne—darting here and there, hovering, flitting, dancing with the fairies, flashing your vivid colors in the sunlight, migrating with the butterflies to Mexico each winter, living life in this very moment with the sense of wonder and joy that is your birthright.
The Art and the Poetry
I wrote a little poetry to convey the removal of illusion from my own life recently to go along with the mandala I created to carry the energy of that indigo blue Dragonfly. It goes something like this:
I smash my room of mirrors
and dim my eyes
so I might see.
My house of mirrors was very full and very dark…so full of illusion that I could no longer see my way forward. Tripping over first this mirror and then the next…landing on my face and then explaining, to myself and to the world, the mirror that had caused me to fall.
I had created that mirror so long ago and it sat so many years away, so far away in the dark, that I was straining my eyes to keep it in view. Straining and grasping to keep the illusion alive as it tried to fade and dissolve from my life.
And one day I decided, a little bit out of the blue, that it took too much energy to keep that particular mirror polished just enough so that I could see its reflection through the dark from decades away. So I smashed the glass. And I dimmed my outward-looking eyes…that part of my mind that was straining to explain my life. Quite suddenly I saw clearly the unlimited possibility that is…me.
And that’s the message of Dragonfly.
The energy to release that which weighs us down so we might take flight has been intense since at least late last year and has tapped on most of our windows! If this post rings true for you, I’d love to hear from you–please add your comments below.
If you’d like to add some Dragonfly energy to your space, my Indigo Illusion mandala is available as a framed print and also as a greeting card that is suitable for framing. I created this mandala using a wedge of just the photo you see at the top of the post–the tip of the dragonfly’s tail is in the center of the piece and the edge of the mandala is the area right below his eyes. Please contact me for pricing on custom giclee prints in multiple sizes on beautiful papers, with and without the poetry.