The dragonfly is an insect that has a diverse range of general acceptance by people.
It is called qing ting in Chinese and written as 蜻蜓. It can sometimes also be referred to as fei long (飞龙) which means flying dragon.
Some people simply run from them as they dislike critters of any sort. Some don’t have any affection for them and don’t even let the flying insect bother them at all. And some like them and would even try to play with them like people often do with butterflies.
Even though the dragonfly has some way to go before reaching the levels of adoration the butterfly enjoys from people, it’s symbolism is comparable.
The positive connotations of dragonflies are deeply embedded in rural Chinese culture.
This is because they are an insect that hunts other insects that are deemed to be pests by farmers.
It should be noted that in ancient China, the vast majority of the population are involved in the growing and harvesting of crops both for self-consumption and to sell to others.
A common mandarin expression qing ting dian shui (蜻蜓点水) is a reference to the dragonfly’s way of hovering and tapping on the surface of water to lay it’s eggs. This is often metaphorically referred to as a delicate skill or technique in conversation with others.
For example, in kung fu movies and drama series, masters of martial arts sometimes walk on water in battle and the term 蜻蜓点水 can often arise.
Symbolic meaning of dragonfly
For the reasons above, farmers in the old days tend to view dragonflies favorably.
So much so that when one enters one’s house, whether via the door or window, it is said to bring blessings, harmony and loving relationships within the family.
It is also considered as an emblem that drive away bad luck. This is in part of the insect’s predatory nature of hunting down annoying pests like mosquitoes as prey.
As such, the appearance of one at home is a sign that negative energy presiding in the premises would be chased out of the house.
Chasing them away would be akin to chasing away protectors that have come to help the household.
In particular, when dragonflies enter one’s residence via the main door, it is said to represent a sign that one’s career would be experiencing a sharp uptrend soon. So driving it out of the dwelling would be bad luck for the residents’ careers.
In folklore, it is also believed that the arrival of dragonflies carries the meaning that people in the household who are sick would soon recover from their health ailments.
This is especially associated with medical conditions where the sufferer is experiencing pain.
Again, this is associated with the dragon fly being an insect that hunts other insects people consider as pests. So the dragonfly would dispel bad energy from an ill person’s body.
It is also sometimes used as a representation of pureness in Confucianism.
In the metaphysical study of dreams, dragonflies appearing in our dreams are said to somewhat be an acknowledgement that one has achieved spiritual growth. It is like a validation that the dreamer has reached the next level of spirituality.