Daddy's Christmas Angel

Monday, February 18, 2013

Symbolism in Writing - The Dragonfly

"Dragonfly Morning" (detail) ©Mary Montague Sikes
From the time I first started reading, I was captivated by symbolism. Of course, at a very young age, I didn't know what that word meant, but anything that brought pictures into my mind gave me joy.

These days, I enjoy creating images that symbolize or express an intangible ideal. I am especially intrigued by the dragonfly.

Did you know that certain cultures, like some tribes of the native American Indians, believe dragonflies are the souls of the dead? There are many other beliefs as well, such as they represent new beginnings, prosperity, happiness, and much more.

While I was working on my novel, Night Watch, we took a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Upon our arrival, I heard a lot of commotion on the balcony outside our sliding glass door. Concerned, I went to see what was happening. To my surprise, a half-dozen or more dragonflies were flying around, bumping into the glass, with the light of the setting sun reflecting on their transparent wings. I was enchanted and in complete awe. It was like a sign because in my book, the dragonfly holds a special meaning. It is symbolic of the change taking place in my heroine's life. For many centuries, the dragonfly has been a symbol of change, so what better creature to be a part of my story?

Last week, I decided to make a painting with dragonflies in it. I then took a detail from my new art work and made a greeting card. Inside each card, I placed the following message on an insert:

"The dragonfly is a symbol of change, going beyond self-illusion to create new beginnings and happiness. Because their colors result from reflected and refracted light, dragonflies may be associated with color magic and illusion. For some Native Americans they represent the souls of the dead.

When Lily discovers the dragonfly necklace in Night Watch, she reconnects with a past she does not quite understand. The dragonfly represents all the change that has occurred in her life. It is a symbol of a new beginning for her, and it brings back a bit of magic into her life as well."

At my book signing, I focused on Night Watch and gave a copy of my new card and insert with each purchase of my books. The dragonfly represents magic and beauty to me.

Souls of the dead?

Perhaps. We know so little about life...

People are attracted to dragonflies. During the next few weeks, I plan to paint more of them.

--Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I didn't know that about dragonflies. Very cool you gave out a card with each book.

Monti said...

Thanks, Alex, for visiting. My readers seem to enjoy the art cards.

Marian Allen said...

I love dragonflies! I have one daughter who thinks they're "creepy", which I canNOT understand! Your painting is beautiful -- I wish I could give my readers such a lovely extra. :)

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes

Monti said...

Thanks, Marian. I started reading about them and found how special they are!