Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Dragonfly

Click image(s) to see the larger version(s).

This nifty dragonfly tattoo comes from the Flickrstream of Fabi Dorighello and is licensed under Creative Commons.

This tattoo was created by the fine folks at Dark Side Tattoo out of Sao Paulo. (At least I think that's where they're located; I don't understand Spanish so I could be wrong. UPDATE: In the comments section Clare has informed me that the language in question is Portuguese, not Spanish, and the shop is indeed in Sao Paulo. You'll have to forgive me folks, I'm a moron when it comes to geography and languages. Thanks Clare!)

The dragonfly has, in recent years, become a very popular critter to be found on everything from wind chimes, flower pots, clothing and yes, even skin. The dragonfly is a creature of the air as well as the water as they're larvae, called nymphs, are aquatic critters usually found around wetlands, streams and lakes. The dragonfly has plenty of rich folklore surrounding it, mostly expressed through its many names. A fascinating sampling of these names can be found at Crystalinks:
Some of these are Teufelsnadel ("Devil's needle"), Wasserhexe ("Water witch"), Hollenross ("Goddess' horse"), Teufelspferd ("Devil's horse") and Schlangentöter ("Snake killer"). Also the name Snake Doctor has been used in Germany. In England the name Devil's darning needle and Horse stinger have been used. In Denmark the dragonfly have got such different names as Fandens ridehest ("Devil's riding horse") and Guldsmed ("Goldsmith"). Different names of dragonflies referring to them as the devils tools have also occurred in many other European cultures, some examples are the Spanish Caballito del Diablo ("Devil's horse") and the French l'aiguille du diable ("Devil's needle").
As far as specific mythic figures are concerned the dragonfly is historically identified with Daldal, a hero of the Takelma who were American Indians of Oregon, mostly living along the Rogue River. Daldal does great deeds and slays monsters that would threaten his people.

Aside from all of that, the dragonfly can represent change and adaptability. Similar to the butterfly they transform from one flightless state of being to magnificent creatures of the air. And dragonflies, moving forward, backward and side to side in quick succession are masters of the air and a source of inspiration for those of us seeking to roll with the changes of our lives.


Clare K. R. Miller said...

That does appear to say it's in Sao Paolo, but it's in Portuguese, not Spanish ;) (I had to look at the website to see why the heck a tattoo parlor in Sao Paolo would have a website in Spanish!)

I had no idea dragonflies had so many names. I know that the Welsh word for them translates to "snake" something something. I like "water witch"! I'm a big fan of dragonflies so that was really interesting to me.

Livia Indica said...

Thanks Clare, you're a gem for correcting me!