The dragonfly continues to be a popular choice for a tattoo, ranging from beautiful and realistic to a quirkier stylised design. But the beauty of a dragonfly makes it an obvious choice.
The dragonfly was around 300 million years ago although was much bigger than today, the largest fossil found had a 2 ½ foot wingspan. A dragonfly has two sets of wings that beat at 30 beats per second, this allows them to not only hover but also to fly backwards. They are fast too, with one being clocked flying at a whopping 36 miles per hour! They are found all over the world, apart from in Antarctica, and there are about 5000 species. Larger species are found in Central America and have wing span of up to 18cm.
Dragonflies have been used to represent fertility and rebirth which is probably because they lay up to 100,000 eggs at any one time. And whilst a dragonfly can live up to six years, it will only spend about two months as an actual dragonfly. Dragonflies will nearly always be found close to water, they start their life cycle underwater as an egg, becoming a nymph before metamorphosing into the dragonfly. As its life span as a dragonfly is relatively short it will live its life to its fullest, so has also been used to represent seizing the moment.
There doesn’t seem to be one specific meaning for a dragonfly. We’ve already mentioned that they have be used to symbolise fertility. As they are also drawn to water, it is also said to symbolize the subconscious mind and thoughts. It seems consistent throughout most cultures that are considered to represent change and self-realisation; but this makes sense considering their life-cycle. Their wings are also incredibly sensitive to the changing elements, reminding us to avoid tempestuous weather or troubled times.
Within some Native American communities, the dragonfly is seen as a protective talisman overseeing their community. Strength and happiness is where the dragonfly sits within the Japanese culture, whilst the Chinese use the dragonfly to represent prosperity and harmony.
So, it seems that the beautiful dragonfly can be used throughout the tattoo community to is represent change, freedom, peace, luck and prosperity. Being keeping the balance between our earthy world and the mystical spiritual one. It is said that if one lands on you is a deceased loved one paying you a visit, making their image potentially a good memorial tattoo.
Surprisingly its beauty has more sinister links within some European cultures and the dragonfly has been associated with the devil and evil. If you were a naughty child the dragonfly would sew your mouth shut with their claspers whilst you slept. Being called the devils darning needles. Sweet dreams folks!
Secret Ink, tattoo information, what does my tattoo mean,
When you have a tattoo, tattoo removal or a piercing you activate the nociceptive pain receptors. This is the most common form of pain and is called ‘nociceptive pain’ which is felt when you stub your toe, burn or cut yourself etc. Our nerve fibres produce different chemical responses which influence how different sensations are interpreted; because we have different sensory nerve fibre we are therefore able to respond to different physical contact. A touch of a person’s fingers for example is very different to that of a pin prick. So when our bodies are being physically hurt, our nociceptive pain receptors are activated.
Once activated the nociceptive pain receptors send impulses through the nerve into your spinal cord where the signals make their way to…
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One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told. Eight for a wish, Nine for a kiss, Ten for a bird you must not miss.
There won’t be many of us that haven’t heard this nursery rhyme, and can probably even today recite it when seeing a ‘parliament’ or group of magpies. The rhyme in Germany and the number of magpies is very like the one we are familiar with, with the alone magpie being unlucky, two for happiness/marriage, three for a journey, four for good news, and five for an impending visit.
The magpie with its recognisable plumage tends to get a lot of bad publicity for being a bit of a thief when it comes to shiny items, gardeners tend not to be fond of them as they will take the eggs or young from other birds to supplement their diet. What people tend to forget is that Magpies, like many corvids,are however incredibly intelligent and have been taught to speak; they like the sparrow are very loyal and will mate for life. Magpies have been around for a very long time and have lots of superstitions surrounding them and not all cultures consider them either bad luck or the bringer of doom.
For us the superstition has overtime created a bird that people seem to dread with the lone magpie being a symbol of bad luck, maybe this has come about because they mate for life they should perhaps be seen in pairs? Some people will ask the lone magpie how his wife is or by saluting them will ward off any bad omens. The magpie even turns up in the bible as the only bird that refused to enter the ark, but is also said to be cursed for not singing or comforting Jesus when he was crucified. We’re starting to feel sorry for magpies as they are also said to be an omen of death, especially a single magpie near your window. A drop of the devil’s blood is said to be held under their tongue.Our guess it is probably more to do with their roguish behaviour, and their cackle.
Fortunately for the magpie not all cultures view this rather unique bird with the same degree of suspicion. In China and especially the Manchu people see the magpie as a symbol of happiness and good fortune that includes imperial rule, killing or maiming a magpie will bring you bad luck, with the name translating to ‘happiness magpie’
Mongolia recognise the intelligence of the bird within their superstitions saying that the magpie can control the weather. Whereas if you are in Korea the magpie will bring you good news.
Our favourite superstition around the magpie must come from the Greeks, who consider the magpie to be a bit of a drunkard and a bit tipsy and is therefore sacred to Bacchus the God of wine.
It’s interesting how superstition and animals have been and continue to be linked over the years. And our brief research on the magpie has made us look at this bird differently. The fact that they mate for life means that they are associated with family, devotion, loyalty and love. And we will continue to salute this amazing birds that has touched so many cultures worldwide.
The ‘Industrial’ or ‘Scaffold’ is a popular piercing; unfortunately not everyone has the right shaped ear for this piercing to be successful. We have seen the top piercing migrate within a few weeks. If the inner part of the ear protrudes the bar can rub or become embedded in the ear. Your piercer should check the suitability of your ear before proceeding. It can also be done in two sittings, and as with any cartilage piercing can take up to 12 months to fully heal Secret Ink