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  • Writer's pictureErin Ratliff

Damselflies, Dragonflies - and What They Have To Do with Human Design & Entrepreneurism

"Dragonflies are the keepers of dreams, the energy within that sees all of our true potential and ability. Dragonflies inspire spirituality and creativity, they help us on the path of discovery and enlightenment. They remind us that anything is possible"


Did this headline get your attention? This post is what marketers refer to as "tangental content" - an unexpected subject matter that is still aligned with audience interests.

Fear not, I can assure you this is still a post about damselflies, dragonflies and yes - your entrepreneurial journey!

One of the more common questions I get relating to my business is why I chose the name 'Damsefly Digital'.

Other than the obvious *magic* in its alliteration, there are a few reasons. This post will review why my heart buzzed for the damselfly and inspired its choice for my logo and business name.

What is a Damselfly?

First, if you've never heard of a 'Damselfly" don’t worry. They don't get a lot of press, as many assume they are simply a female version of a dragonfly.

The truth is that a damselfly is a related subspecies of the dragonfly.


Dragonflies were one of the first insects to inhabit this planet, around 300 million years ago.
They are exceptional predators, catching and devouring their prey mid-air with a success rate of 95%⁣.
They are speedy and agile flyers, with two sets of wings that can each operate independently that allow them to fly in any direction at up to 18 miles per hour and over long distances.
Their compound eyes allow for 360 degree vision with over 30,000 points of visual input.
They experience 3 distinct stages of their life (egg, nymph, adult).They live under water for anywhere from 2 to 6 years after hatching. Then they mold up to 17 times before transforming into the flying adult stage.
There are dragonfly sanctuaries in the UK, New Mexio, and Japan.
Dragonflies are beneficial to humans by consuming mosquitoes and flies.

Dragonflies and damselflies do have a lot in common. They are both...

  • Classified in the same insect order (Odonata), of which there about 6,000 species exist worldwide. Odonata means "toothed ones., which is indicative of their serrated mandibles.

  • Predatory aquatic insects who go through dynamic life stages, spending most of their lives in water and only a small fraction of their lives as their adult flying states.

  • Found in a rainbow of colors and across most parts of the world.

Their differences?

  • Damselflies are in the suborder Zygoptera. Dragonflies are in the suborder Anisoptera

  • Damselflies have a more dainty appearance and a slimmer shape while Dragonflies are thicker/bulkier throughout.

  • Damselflies perch with their small, wings above their bodies or tucked together along their backs, whereas Dragonflies rest with their larger wings open wide or out to the side of their bodies.

  • Damselflies’ smaller eyes are set on either side of their head, whereas Dragonflies’ large eyes meet in the middle of the forehead.

  • Damselflies flutter and float through the air gently and delicately rather than flying fast and straight like Dragonflies do.

  • Damselflies and dragonflies are both carnivorous predators, but damselfles do not practice cannibalism (eating each other) nearly as often as dragonflies do.

Dragonflies are the spiritual messengers of our past. Like our ancestors, they are watching over us, protecting us, reminding us of the immortal and the afterlife- our endless journey.

Damselfly Digital

I chose the Damselfly name and design because

1) Their cousin, the dragonfly is my 'Totem Animal' - one that represents my spiritual essence and often appears in life at the most serendipitous moments. They are usually omens for something amazing and auspicious to come.

2) They are revered according to the beliefs of Feng Shui. The dragonfly is a symbol of prosperity and luck because they are the animal embodiment of perfect Chi, or vital life force energy. They are the perfect dynamic blend of Yin and Yang, the mundane and the mystical.

  • Masculine/Yin: ​strength, power, efficiency, minimalism, clarity, focus, predation, aggressive.

  • Feminine/Yang: elegance, poise, grace, tranquility, harmony & peace, ethereal, romantic

3) They represents the core Values of my brand:

  • Masculine/Yin: social responsibility, self-reliance, purpose-led vision.

  • Feminine/Yang: spiritual service, self-realization, process-driven growth

4) They represent the journey of Entrepreneurship.

Like the damselfly, I remained "underground" and hidden from the world for a great deal of time. I was silently incubating, growing and waiting for my right time to come to the surface to demonstrate my beauty and potential.

Indeed, the "messy middle" is one of the most important parts of the entrepreneurial journey. This is where we mature and evolve the most dramatically.

Once we're out in the world, we're presented with the everyday demands of self-promotion and marketing. Here there will inevitably be a need to pivot and change - the world will ask that of us, and we'll be ready for it having spent so much time developing our potential. We can final practice our resiliency and adaptability.

At times we may need to be aggressive and forceful but most of the time, if we want to maintain our sacred peace and alignment, we go with the flow of life. We open ourselves to RECEIVE, and abundance finds us.

Whenever you see a dragonfly over the water, remember, before its life in air, it was a nymph, silently navigating the depths below. This remarkable creature, now gliding effortlessly through the sky, once lived a completely different existence, submerged and unseen. Its journey from water to air is not just a change in habitat, but a profound transformation that speaks to its adaptability. The dragonfly carries with it the lessons of who it used to be as it carries on becoming. As it dances over the water, many may notice its beauty, but many more may remain unaware of all that it took to get here….all that it took to learn fly.

Morgan Harper Nichols

5) They represent the wisdom of the Gene Keys and Human Design systems.

At the heart of these teachings is the belief that we are experiencing a global awakening, a great shift in human consciousness. And the place where this "mutation" is occurring is Hexagram 55.

This Hexagram informs the wisdom of all the other IChing energies because it's where deep change and transformation lies.

The two systems of Gene Keys vs Human Design hold two different, but very similar interpretations for this energy:

Gate 55 Themes

The Shadow of Victimization: A low vibration frequency field that we live inside of. To be a victim is to be heavy, weighed down by worries, thoughts, concerns, opinions, plans, memories.It is also about seeking, always looking for something. The Gift of Freedom: Once we understand that we are victims of our own attitude, we can shift our consciousness and raise our frequency. The transformation occurs when we take full responsibility for our realities and stop blaming experiences outside ourselves for the cause of our emotions.. We only find freedom from letting go of all agendas and expectations, especially the need to be validated or seen. And to the ‘ego self’, freedom looks terrifying and destabilizing. The Reward of Transcendence. A higher vibration where we are both empty, and filled simultaneously. Allowing all, and being nothing. This ultimate freedom is the result of trust, acceptance and a dissolution of ego. It manifests as flow, love, and simply and following and being the way nature intended. In the move from shadow to sunlight, we become transparent, like the dragonflies wings.

​Exist in a state of detached observation, taking stock of where we are now and how we got here. We may feel discomfort, dissatisfaction or restless for a reason -usually because something is not a match for our worth, as it is spurring us forward to find a solution. Embody fullness internally, even when we don't think we have it externally. We can still feel abundance, joy and gratitude in our hearts. Cultivate clarity. We should hold onto our visions and dreams as we push through every challenge Practice faith and trust. Everything has always worked out for you, and always will. Take inspired action. Have a willingness to try as part of the learning and growing process. Finally, once we have expanded to become a vibrational match for the abundance we desire, prosperity is achieved.

The Dragonfly reminds us of the impermanence of everything and thus, how to navigate the endless cycles and rhythms of birth and death that we will inevitably encounter in life and business.

  • new beginnings

  • transformation

  • transcendence

  • ascension

This evolution from Shadow to Transcendence, or from Emptiness to Fullness, requires Pure Presence:

  • Patience (Yin, feminine)

  • Persistence (Yang, masculine)

There are no shortcuts.

In the search for enlightenment, there is an ever-present certainty that there is more to do, someone else who holds the secret, another state to attain. In the finding of it, there is the comical revelation that not one of those things was ever true.

Wei Wu Wei Ching, Gate 55

"The Dragonfly's Dream"

Dragonfly medicine reminds us to move beyond our limited, narrow views of Self when it comes to pursuing our passion and dreams. All too often we can get in our own way of receiving and but blocking Universal energies.

Let go of the limiting belief that our setbacks and challenges are permanent blockers to whatever it is you want to achieve.

Be patient and trust that life will deliver something even greater than you can imagine! And most of all, be excited that your dream is destined for you.

I help nurture, guide and grow my client's businesses through all of their dynamic life stages- from birth to rebirth, from novice to expert. There is a beautiful evolution in the process of building their dream. I have been there first-hand and it is an honor to share the wisdom I have gained in my own journey.

Interested in working together? I look forward to connecting soon.

"The way you have been learning to spread your wings doesn't have to make sense to everyone before you begin to fly how you were meant to."

Morgan Harper Nichols


Erin Ratliff is a certified feng shui consultant, holistic business coach and organic growth marketer for earth-loving, heart-centered soul-preneurs.

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