Like the rest of my homestate, Louisiana, the town where I use to reside in battled mosquitoes almost year round. They send out fogging trucks--they spread poison in the ditches. But, a few years ago, some bright spot on my parish council thought to try a natural pest control. The parish released dragonflies! I had only been living in that town for a few months when suddenly my backyard was full of flashing red, dazzling green, brilliant blue, shimmering gold and more! It was as if the Goddess herself had released a living rainbow in my backyard.
Charmed by these flying bugs, the more I watched them the more I felt called to name them to my totem animals. But, before I did that, there was one thing that had to be done. Yes, you guessed it-- hit the library and do some research! I prefer to know why a certain animal calls me.
So, off to the local branch I trotted. I found several scientific books which told me that dragonflies were different from damselflies. I knew that already. Hey! I was a Girl Scout most of my life. grin. Dragonflies can not collapse their wings while damselflies can. The various colors in my backyard had wonderful names like Emperor and Texas Red. Even the Latin name was wonderful... Anisoptera.
Dragonflies patrol areas. They have specific flight plans and patterns that they adhere to. Makes me wonder who is running the control tower! "Tower to Texas Red! Collision alert! There is a Green to your left....please adjust your course 30 degrees west!"
I also discovered that there is folklore attached to the dragonfly. Some of its folk names are Devil's needle, Darner, Serpent Doctor. Many people fear the dragonfly because of its needle-like body. They think it will sting them. Actually, the dragonfly is a very gentle creature and has no stinger. I have been bitten by one though! That story will come later. Normally, they land on you and examine you with their many-eyed eye. My ex, Keman was treated to one using her knee as a lunch counter one day. She told me that as she lay in the backyard soaking up sun, a green holding a fly landed on her knee. It proceeded to eat the fly giving her the opportunity to watch the process up close and personal! I was quite jealous.
Another bit of lore that I didn't know was that in the Appalachians it was considered bad luck to kill a dragonfly. They were thought to be protectors of snakes and if you killed one, its snake would come after you. Since serpent has long been one of my totems, I found this fascinating!
My own experience with a dragonfly is where I take the name of my coven (to be) from. The Black Dragonfly Coven is called so because of an event one summer evening. Keman and I had a screen porch whose screens were not secure in many spots. Dragonflies, butterflies and even a hummingbird and a mockingbird had to be rescued from the netted confines. It was not unusual for one of us to get up mid-supper to go rescue a dragonfly from the back porch or the curiosity of a cat.
One evening, late--9ish CST, motion caught my eye. I went out on the porch to see a large dragonfly dancing at the porchlight. What was interesting about this one was its color. She was black! And, this was the largest dragonfly that I had ever (and still to this day) seen. I cupped my hands around her in my normal dragonfly rescuing manner. Keman was on the porch with me in case of roach attack. Yes, Arwen is mortally afraid of Palmetto bugs!
As I scooped her up, she tucked her head and BIT ME! Even though it did not hurt at all, it startled me and I squealed! Then I cussed her soundly. Keman was quite amused by the whole affair! I felt unloved and unappreciated by dragonfly kind, let me tell you! heehee I stomped back in the house telling her that she could just stay on the porch then! The next morning she was still there so I scooped her into a jar and released her into the backyard. Black dragonfly became my special guide from that point forward.
Cool Dragonfly links!
Cool Science Page!