16 Meaningful Tattoos That Show Your Ever-Changing Spirit

You know that life is full of changes, and you make the most of them. Thats why a dragonfly tattoo is the perfect symbol for you.

"Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? ...We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves"

–Diane Ackerman

Life is full of constant transformation, and yet we seem to yearn for peace, comfort, and serenity. That's why in everyday life major change is a scary reality. I think that deep down we're afraid of the uncertainty that comes with it as well as the way it confronts our view of the world or the things we take for granted. However, the best thing about these challenges is that they often bring out the best in ourselves. Even if they make us hit rock bottom. As cliché as it may sound, the only path left for ourselves is to learn and improve.

You may be well aware of this natural part of life. Nonetheless, it’s always better to carry a reminder with you, so you don't forget your adaptable spirit, which will help you grow and be the best version of yourself. While a tattoo is one of the best options to do that, sometimes a symbolic design can say more than a whole speech. Most of the time, we think of butterflies as the symbols of transformation par excellence, but there’s another animal that represents this concept with even deeper and more interesting connotations: the dragonfly. While the long wings and slim body of this insect create a shape that is beautiful on its own, the importance of this animal in different cultures can help you choose a meaningful option for your next ink.

Japan is one of the countries where dragonflies are regarded as divine creatures. In ancient Japanese dialects, the name of one of their islands was Akitsushima, which means “Island of the Dragonfly.” According to a legend, the first emperor gave it that name after climbing to the top of a mountain, gazing at his realm, and seeing it looked like a dragonfly. Other legends say that this insect acquired its significance in Japan because it was thought to be a lucky animal since its watery habitat was found where crops flourished. It was also regarded as a symbol of perseverance because it always flies forward and fast, never backwards, and it is a skillful hunter, with the precision of an arrow hitting its target.

Nonetheless, the main reason why it is considered a symbol of transformation can be found in cultures such as the Navajo. For them, the dragonfly's life cycle represents purity and renewal. When the dragonfly is a nymph, it has to survive underwater, feeding from passing animals, such as tadpoles and small fish. After many hard years surviving like that, when it's strong enough, it climbs to the surface of the water, leaves behind its larva body, and uses its new wings to start its flight. Its new body shines in the sunlight with different nuances and hues, from metallic red to silver blue, and its translucent wings make it look as if it were just floating like a feather carried by the wind.

The dragonfly’s lightness and changing nature is the best way to represent an easygoing and resilient spirit. It embodies the ability to overcome hardships to be reborn stronger, wiser, sharper, and more beautiful than ever. The greatest quality of the dragonfly is that, although it seems to make no effort at all while flying and catching its prey, it actually had to go through years of growth and vulnerability under dark waters.

This can be your best choice for a tattoo because you know that all the obstacles and challenges you’ve faced in your life have shaped you into the great person you’re now. However, to do so, you had to learn that embracing change and life’s mutability is the best way to show your true colors, and they couldn’t be more beautiful.

Here are other designs you might find interesting:

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