Dragonfly: metaphor for diversity

thanks https://pixabay.com for these pictures
I was surrounded by dragonflies. Like mini bi-planes, each dragonfly had broad flat orange wings - each with a black spot - that kept them hovering about 30cm from the ground. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and experiencing! These creatures in my experience are usually finely built and flit quickly in and out of your vision as they fly and hover over water. As I crossed the somewhat dusty flat ground toward Injalak Arts building, a hundred or more hovered and swirled not far from me, maintaining their height from the ground and seemingly not at all intimidated by this intruder. 
I've always been fascinated by insects and this was an event that was worth writing about! I couldn't effectively photograph the dragonflies as on camera they blurred with the background of the ground - so my picture will have to do! Imagine hundreds of these hovering at about knee height all around you.
Dragonflies with orange wings with black dots.

What can we learn from Nature?

Seeing these dragonflies, so unique in their shape and behaviour was awesome. That there was so many dancing to the same tune was almost overwhelming. I couldn’t help but wonder at them and ponder about what I could learn from them.

In his blog, “Australian dragonflies and man: now and in the future” , Prof. Günther Theischinger says that “Australia’s 325 species of dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) includes many ancient lineages of Gondwanan origin, and most are thought to have become restricted to the cooler wetter habitats once the continent began drying about 20 million years ago. Later, dragonflies from Asia also colonised Australia and are now about one third of the fauna, including many of the arid-zone species.”

What diversity in one species! It is crucial that this diversity is maintained for the health of our fresh water systems. The appearance of dragonflies is then, a good sign for the health of local fresh water. … And, after all, fresh water is essential for the health of every part of nature and not least, the balance of nature.

The local indigenous people read the presence of dragonflies, associating them with nature’s abundance with the changes of the seasons. “Hunting and harvesting of bush foods still plays an important part in the life of bininj, and revolves around the traditional calendar of six distinct seasons. For example, in bangkerreng, the late wet season, the dragonflies over the water tell people that the fish are fat and plentiful.” Injalak Arts

We can all learn so much from the wisdom held by Indigenous Australians. Over generations, stories told by the elders contain information about the signs that nature provides about the abundance certain types of food ready to be collected. When a species of dragonfly appears, it may mean that a certain plant or flower is in bloom ready to be collected for food, or the change of season is near. So, even if this insect isn’t itself a source of food, then it is a signal that it is time to look for the plants that are ready for collection when they appear.

Diversity is so important. To have diversity we must look after the nature that is this planet. Our planet is evolving and changing as is the nature of the Universe. Natural change such as this we cannot change. The impact of human greed and ignorance is within our power to change.

What is dragonfly magic?

The next day at Gunbalanya saw us travel along a bumpy track to No. One Waterfall for a picnic lunch. What a beautiful place it is with its sheer rock cliff and billabong surrounded by pandanus and other interesting plants and trees … and wariness for the croc that is thought to have been stranded here after the last wet season.

Lunch was spread on a cloth. Immediately, dragonflies appeared. About eight of them hovering over the food. Each was delicate of wing and a different colour; red, blue, green, orange. Diversity. All in one place.

As the dragonflies’ presence symbolised diversity, diversity was to be found in our group; Indigenous Australians and white Australians born in Australia, England and South Africa.

Looking at the symbolic magic of dragonflies is important as it helps us to align our lives with nature. Not only does it lend meaning to our lives, it serves to make us more aware and caring of our environment. So here are some thoughts about what the symbolic meaning of dragonflies might mean for you.

Dragonflies flit here and there. They hover, perfectly still. - Do you move quickly from one thing to another instead of remaining, concentrating, and finishing one thing at a time?

Dragonflies signify the changes of the seasons; also, changes for you.

Dragonfly asks you to go deeper into things; to pause, contemplate and find deeper meaning and tap into deeper emotions.

The magic and mystery of life is awakening in you.

What is dragonfly message?

As we begin to listen to nature and to what she is telling us, we notice the presence of dragonfly and find meaning relevant to our lives.

The abundance and diversity of dragonfly warning us of the changes of the seasons of the land and the seasons of our lives. They remind us to speak out, look out and act to protect our environment.

The habits, colours and resilience of dragonfly reminds us of the importance of diversity; in nature, in human cultures.

A strong message came with the variety of dragonflies that came together and joined us for lunch – that people of diverse cultures come together to share and be together, to respect, accept and honour difference and diversity, and to learn from each other.

I hope you enjoyed this journey with me,

Blessings,

Betsy

ps. I couldn't help but indulge a few of my dragonfly + one wasp photo below!

dragonfly on car antennae
red bodied dragonfly
Luminescent wings
wasp

Some references for you:

Injalak Arts Centre http://injalak.com/culture/

Prof. Günther Theischinger,  “Australian dragonflies and man: now and in the future”

Posted in Diversity, Relationships, Symbolism, Uncategorized, World issues and tagged , , , , .

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