Here lately I have been making "painted" butterflies and dragonflies.  I take a spool of wire and form the body and outer lining of the wings....all as one piece.  Then I take layers and layers of acrylic paint to form the wings. My most favorite wings to make are transparent and iridescent looking!

So I decided to do some research on the 'meaning' of a butterfly and dragonfly.  There are several mythical & symbolic meanings for each of them. Seems that butterflies are a representation of ones soul & dragonflies are a symbol of transformation. Of course these meanings are also dependant of there own perspective culture & level of education. Symbolic references can also be the source of  misunderstandings.

The Dragonfly
"The dragonfly, in almost every part of the world symbolizes change and change in the perspective of self realization; and the kind of change that has its source in mental and emotional maturity and the understanding of the deeper meaning of life."

Dragonfly Picture #60

  • The dragonfly’s agile flight and its ability to move in all six directions exude a sense of power and poise - something that comes only with age and maturity.
  • The dragonfly can move at an amazing 45 miles an hour,  hover like a helicopter fly backwards like a hummingbird, fly straight up, down and on either side. What is mind blowing is the fact that it can do this while flapping its wings a mere 30 times a minute while mosquitoes and houseflies need to flap their wings 600 and 1000 times a minute respectively. 
  • The dragonfly exhibits iridescence both on its wings as well as on its body. Iridescence is the property of an object to show itself in different colors depending on the angle and polarization of light falling on it. This property is seen and believed as the end of one’s self created illusions and a clear vision into the realities of life. The magical property of iridescence is also associated with the discovery of one’s own abilities by unmasking the real self and removing the doubts one casts on his/her own sense of identity. This again indirectly means self discovery and removal of inhibitions.
  • The eyes of the dragonfly are one of the most amazing and awe inspiring sights. Given almost 80% of the insect’s brain power is dedicated to its sight and the fact that it can see in all 360 degrees around it, it symbolizes the uninhibited vision of the mind and the ability to see beyond the limitations of the human self. It also in a manner of speaking symbolizes a man/woman’s rising from materialism to be able to see beyond the mundane into the vastness that is really our Universe, and our own minds.
  • The dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life and usually not more than a few months. This adult dragonfly does it all in these few months and leaves nothing to be desired. This style of life symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living IN the moment and living life to the fullest. By living in the moment you are aware of who you are, where you are, what you are doing, what you want, what you don’t and make informed choices on a moment-to-moment basis. This ability lets you live your life without regrets like the great dragonfly.

Japanese: symbolizes summer and autumn and am admired and respected all over, so much so that the Samurai use it as a symbol of power, agility and best of all, Victory.

China: people associate the dragonfly with prosperity, harmony and as a good luck charm

Welsh: call the dragonfly the snake’s servant and think they follow snakes and stitch up their wounds.

Portugal:  they are called eye pokers and eye snatchers.

Sweden: folklore suggests that we dragonflies come around to check for bad souls.


In many regions and as a norm of this day, the dragonfly is considered to be an agent of change and presumably symbolic of a sense of self realization. Self realization from how the dragonfly uses its power to control its movements and so elegantly. And change and evolution is all about the dragonfly’s ability to fly and the way it can be comfortable on water, land as well as the air.


The Butterfly
Butterflies of all colors—not just blue—often evoke emotions of beauty, freedom, a change of season, joy, femininity, nature and earth elements such as water and fire. Butterflies are used in art to showcase beauty and depict nature and the symbol of a butterfly remains a top fashion favorite with women. In decorative cases, the color of the butterfly is simply chosen to coincide with a particular color favorite and not a specific meaning.

Read more: The Meaning of a Blue Butterfly |

butterfly pictures, butterflies picture

  • "The butterfly never meets its mother. It must survive independently and remains a stranger to affection.  An animal nurtured by mother's milk, however, is dependent on another for its basic survival. A child who grows up in a cold and detached home environment is similar to the butterfly, in that kindness is sparing. Once an adult, it will be very difficult for that person to show compassion."
  • Butterflies range in size from a tiny 1/8 inch to a huge almost 12 inches.
  • Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
  • The butterfly exists in four distinct forms.  Some consider that so do we:  The fertilized egg is planted in our mother's womb.  From our day of birth we are like the caterpillar which can only eat and creep along.  At death we are like the dormant pupa in its chrysalis.  After that, our consciousness emerges from the cast off body, and some see in this the emergence of the butterfly.  Therefore, the butterfly is symbolic of rebirth after death.  
  • In images of the Garden of Eden, Adam's soul is symbolized by a butterfly, or drawn with butterfly wings.  In paintings of Mary and her Child, the presence of butterflies stands for their care for human souls.  The Gnostics depicted the Angel of Death by showing a winged foot stepping on a butterfly. 
  • Since the insect is so fragile it can be torn apart by a hard rain, the butterfly stands for human frailty, both moral and physical.  Also, as its life is not a long one, it is also a symbol of the ephemeral nature of physical existence.  A butterfly with a torn wing is the icon for a North American charity that benefits disabled children.

Irish: blessing goes "May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun, and find your shoulder to light on  To bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond."

Canada: depict Butterfly as the companion of Raven the Creator-Trickster, perhaps acknowledging the unpredictable and unreliable nature of "flights of fancy" and dreaming.

Greek/Romans: associate the butterfly with the wandering consciousness that seems to occur during the dream state.

Ireland: In the 1600s, killing a white butterfly was prohibited since it was believed to be the soul of a dead child. 

Japan: a beautiful woman wearing a kimono is often compared to a butterfly. It is also a favoured family emblem or crest.

Aztec/Maya: the god of cosmic fire, Xiutecutli, is symbolized by a butterfly.  Fire is considered the element of transformation, as in cookery and the smelting of metals.  This association is borne out in traditional psychoanalysis where a dream or  drawing of a butterfly is taken as a symbol of the client's imminent transformation. 


Final Note:
When people are learning to experience the true nature of the mind by means of actual observation, which is the usual meaning of the term, meditation, they can have difficulty with concentration, getting frustrated or discouraged.  To help with this, they are sometimes told to imitate the example of a butterfly.  It sits for a time on the flower, but then flits away.  It returns again and again, but always with grace.

Check out these websites where I got all this information for more cool stuff!
Dragonfly        Butterfly

Look for paintings on my website: for awesome paintings insprired by these fabulous insects!!!