What does an elephant symbolize? Are you curious about the symbolism behind the word ‘Elephant’? There are endless meanings behind each letter in our words. Find out why an E means ‘Everything’ and L means ‘Love’.
This gentle animal can display a wide range of emotions, including joy and sorrow.
According to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), the first written record of the word ‘elephant’ was in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The name comes from the Greek word ‘elephas’, which translates into the Latin word ‘elephas’. The word then entered Middle Persian, Arabic, and Hebrew. In Sanskrit, the term ‘Ajna’ means elephant or the eye.
There are several theories regarding the origin of the elephant. Some believe that they are closely related to manatees because both have trunks and tusks. Others claim that they evolved from dinosaurs. Whatever their origins, they are now one of our favorite animals. Elephants are gentle giants who live in herds and are considered intelligent creatures. They are very social animals.
Did you ever wonder what an elephant symbolizes? This question has puzzled many people over the years. Many cultures around the globe have their own symbolic interpretations of elephants. In Japan, the word for elephant means “large body” or “big thing”.
In ancient times, these creatures were thought to be powerful, magical, mysterious, and wise. Elephants were also revered as sacred symbols throughout history, appearing in numerous religions, beliefs, and legends. For example, they were considered the guardians of kings and queens and served as messengers from gods to humans.
Symbols can convey meanings beyond literal definitions. They serve as metaphors to communicate ideas and emotions. An elephant symbolized many things across time and culture and continues to symbolize something today.
What does an elephant symbolize? Elephant symbolism and meaning
Elephants have been around for thousands of years. Mythological tales show us that this wise and loyal animal led lost people in the forest back on the path.
Elephants represent strength and good fortune. They also symbolize health and happiness and are thought to promote spiritual well-being in our daily lives.
Elephants are strong and nurturing, they are loyal to their family and are determined and protective. Elephants remind us to always be true to ourselves and keep those we love close to our hearts. They also teach us that with a little strength and determination we can overcome any challenges that arise in life.
Elephant-shaped figurines and art have been seen during the Renaissance period. Elephant symbolism is somewhat complex, for it embraces certain secondary implications of a mythic character.
In Hinduism, elephants hold a sacred symbolism. The iconic Hindu god Ganesha is seen as the god of overcoming obstacles. It is always depicted with an elephant head. Ganesha has half of his body in human form and the other half is in elephant form.
This symbolizes that it can relate to humans while also comprehending the animal world. He is often seen holding a lotus flower, which shows that he knows when people are ready to bloom into something greater than what they once were. The lotus flower grows out of muddy waters but still maintains its beauty and purity regardless of how it starts its growth.
Ganesha allows us to see our inner beauty regardless of what life gives us, even if we start our lives in muddy waters. It allows us to start from square one and work our way up to a better position, no matter where we come from.
In Buddhism, the elephant is admired for its strength and is known to be the guardian of the temples. Many people use elephant statues in their homes facing the front door to bring good luck inside. There is some debate as to whether the elephant’s trunk should be up or down to bring good luck.
Some believe that when the trunk is up, it will shower good fortune onto the people around it. Others believe that when the trunk is down the good fortune will flow naturally and freely to all those around it. Either way, the elephant is the perfect symbol to promote good fortune or give the gift of luck to someone special.
In India, the Elephant God is worshiped before the start of anything important or auspicious for this God is the destroyer of obstacles and clears the path to wealth, health, and prosperity.
In some parts of Europe, the elephant was a symbol of dullness and lethargy. In many Eastern countries, owing to their mammoth size, these animals were made to carry the royals. They played an important role in processions and palanquins.
Elephants also became the symbol of power, strength, and vitality. Owing to their round shape and grey color, they became representative of clouds. In some cultures, they were the caryatids of the Universe.
Elephant Native American symbolism
Elephants did not exist in North America, but the tribes hunted large animals similar to the elephant, known as the mammoths. To most tribes, the large mammoth was a symbol of wisdom, good luck, strength, and power.
When a mammoth raised its trunk, it was considered a blessing. These large animals also became the symbol of strength, fertility, virility, and sexual energy. That is the reason why elephant or mammoth tusks were used in animal medicine and for healing.
The mammoths soon became extinct. The Native elders would often find bones and tusk of the wooly mammoth, which they used as remedies for sexual or reproductive problems.
Just like deer antlers, bones, and tusks of these large other animals were worn as headdresses or jewelry. Finding tusks was considered to be good luck. The ivory found from walrus and elephants went into making jewelry or as gifts for deserving members of the tribes.
Sometimes, the Natives fashioned the bones and tusks into whistles and used them for hunting or even for gifting as symbols of peace. Elephant bones and ivory came to be useful in fighting many ailments.
The Cheyenne Indians made tea from a plant called Elephant’s Head (Pedicularis Groenlandica) to relieve coughing. These remedies were so beneficial that many Americans who used Native Indian tribes on expeditions started to rely on traditional medicine.
Elephant Eastern Symbolism
Asian elephant symbolism is very powerful. Elephants are revered as a symbol of good luck, prosperity, destroyer of evil, remover of obstacles, as well as strength, power, wisdom, memory, and vitality.
Some Asian cultures believe that the elephant is a cosmic creature that, much like the turtle in Native American lore, carries the world on its back.
In India, there are millions of temples dedicated to the Elephant God, who has the head of an elephant and the body of a young boy. This God is the child of Shiva – the sustainer of the Universe. Elephant god figurines are placed in vehicles and gifted as housewarming gifts to bring luck and positivity to the recipients’ lives.
The Japanese hadn’t seen elephants until the 16th Century. So, much of the elephant representation is based on the artists’ fantasy. In Shinto, elephants are portrayed alongside other large animals like leopards and dragons. The association may derive from Makatsugyo, who is a part elephant and part crocodile and dolphin.
Because of the elephant’s association with water, the Japanese believe that the spiritual elephant figurines protect wooden structures against fires and also bring rain.
In Chinese legends and mythology, the elephant symbolizes strength, wisdom, and prudence. The road that led to the palaces of Ming Emperors near Beijing is lined with large statues of elephants sitting and standing.
Childless women are known to place stones on the backs of these statutes with the belief that doing so can help them give birth to a son. The elephant is also sacred to Buddhists. Buddha’s elephant is seen in many art forms and Buddha’s mother, Maya, or Illusion is known to have dreams of a white elephant before His birth.
Elephant Christianity symbolism
Not only his thick skin but also his habits make the elephant a popular symbol in Christian art. The elephant in the Bible symbolizes the strength of prayer. In Noah’s Ark story, the elephants raid all of the Ark’s food supply and grow so fast that they threaten to tip the Ark over.
Noah prays to God and God answers him in his dream, asking him to tickle the hyena. This sets off a whole reaction, which ends up with the mouse hiding under the head of the cabbage.
When the elephants go to eat the cabbage, the mouse scares them a result of which the elephants run to the opposite ends of the Ark, which restores the balance.
There is another story of Three Blind Men who touch different parts of the elephant. When asked to describe the elephant, one man says that the elephant is like a snake (he has touched the elephant’s tail), another says that it is flat like a fan (apparently he has been touching the elephant’s body), and another says that it is like a thick rope (the trunk).
Experts use this spiritual meaning of elephants to describe the vastness of God; He is too vast to be accurately described or defined by one religion or faith. The elephant symbolizes the vastness of God and also his all-encompassing strength and love.
Elephant African symbolism
In African elephant symbolism, elephants or mammoths came to symbolize sovereignty, war, royalty, and wisdom, as well as moral and spiritual strength.
African shamans believed elephants symbolize victory and triumph. An elephant draws the triumphal chariot of Fame personified. African Art of fabulous beasts always includes mammoths, elephants, and other large beasts.
The Tree of Life is usually depicted on elephant ivory, which is used in headdresses, jewelry, and artifacts. Many African tales exist about these beasts and in these, they are always linked with wisdom.
Elephants are thought to be the King of Animals as they often resolve disputes among other animals. Numerous tales exist about elephants shape-shifting into human form and vice versa.
Elephants, with their strong social bonds and family values, also have become the symbol of trust, loyalty, and family bonding in many African tales. After the Supreme God, Nzame created the Universe. He was asked to create a Supreme Chief to rule the animals.
Nzame decided to appoint the Elephant as one of the three animals to serve jointly in this position owing to its great Wisdom. Ashanti tribes of Ghana believe elephants to be reincarnations of human chiefs. For this reason, they give dead elephants proper burials.
Elephant medicine includes dignity, grace, strength, wisdom, confidence, patience, commitment, gentleness, discernment, intelligence, compassion, collective consciousness, and the removal of obstacles.
Call upon the elephant when you are about to start a new project, undertake a long journey, or simply when you are feeling anxious about the future.
You can chant the Lord Elephant’s name 108 times as they do in Indian culture or simply meditate upon this majestic beast. The elephant is a gentle giant. He is a vegetarian and never knowingly harms other animals. He believes in family and bonds and takes care of the young.
The young elephant is playful and often found frolicking in the mud. The elephant totem or elephant medicine will bring strength, power, courage, memory, good luck, happiness, bliss, and positivity to your new undertakings.
The Elephants’ massive head symbolizes the wisdom of the Universe while its trunk emanates the OM sound, which is one of the primordial sounds that occurred at the beginning of the Universe. The elephant medicine will bring you good luck, health, and positivity.
It will remove obstacles and also connect you to the wisdom of the collective consciousness. Be playful like the baby elephant and calm like the adult elephant. You can place a feng shui elephant in your home and car for good luck and prosperity.
Elephant in dreams
Elephants in dreams meaning symbolize wisdom, strength, and also good luck. They may also represent memory. Jung believed elephants to represent the self. The defensive nature of an elephant symbolizes introverted nature.
In Eastern cultures, dreaming of elephants is considered good luck and the removal of obstacles from one’s path. The Western representation isn’t too far off in that; a dream about elephants with trunks up means something positive is on the horizon.
In ancient American culture, the Natives believed that dreaming of dead elephants meant that the chief would die soon. In Africa, the elephant is considered a symbol of wisdom as well as good luck and he is considered the King of Animals.
As a result, he amicably resolves disputes among his subjects. For this reason, elephants are believed to bring wisdom, peace, and resolution to long-standing disputes in the dreamer’s life. Baby elephant in dreams means you need to address your playful side.
Hebrews believed that if one dreams about an elephant wearing a saddle, then something wonderful is about to happen to him. And, if he dreams of several elephants, then the wonder of wonders is about to happen.
At the same time, it is a bad sign to dream of an elephant without its saddle since the saddle represents its abundance. He who dreams of mounting an elephant will be revered.
Things You Didn’t Know About the Elephant
Power & Strength: The elephant invites you to become more aware of your own power
The elephant has long been admired because of its strength and power. Elephants can lift or carry as much as 16,000 pounds, and they can also run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour despite their heavy weight.
This incredible animal teaches us to recognize our own strength and power. We all have power and we can use it for good, making our lives and the world a better place. We only need to be aware of this power and take charge of it.
Through contemplation and meditation about the elephant’s spirit animal qualities, we can use its wisdom to enhance our own strength.
If we feel powerless, there are ways to balance this out. For example, you can become more mindful, listen to your intuition or reach out for help. Also, by recognizing that power comes from within us, we can begin the journey of feeling powerful again.
When you find the elephant spirit guide in your life, you will become more aware of your own strengths and abilities. You will become more secure, knowing that you have the power to create what you want your life to be.
Stability: The elephant inspires stability in our lives
The elephant is said to symbolize stability because of its deep connection with the land. Its long legs protect the animal from predators like lions and bears. This is a symbol that can be attributed to men as well since it shows their ability to rise above the pressures of change and remain stable in their lives.
Able to remain stable in life despite external pressures, the elephant symbolizes steady progress or lack thereof. People looking for change often gravitate towards the elephant because of this animal’s ability to remain stable at all times.
If we are feeling unstable in our life, the elephant spirit animal will help us to find inner stability that comes from knowing that we have what it takes to move forward with confidence.
Wisdom: The elephant, is a symbol of wisdom that inspires us in our lives
The elephant spirit animal has an old soul, one that has lived for many years. It understands how to live in the world and what we need to do to live a balanced life.
Elephants are known to be the wisest and most intelligent of all land animals. They exhibit a calm and gentle nature on the outside, and deep wisdom on the inside. This is why the elephant spirit animal invites us to connect with our own inner wisdom.
We all have wisdom, but sometimes we can be so busy trying to fit in or make things look perfect. We can forget that being true to ourselves is the best path to take. Embracing the wisdom that’s within us is a good way to connect with the elephant spirit animal.
We can learn to listen to our inner voice and trust our instincts. We will benefit from the wisdom that we’ve collected over a lifetime, and we can use it to guide us in this life’s new adventures.
Intuition: The elephant spirit animal helps us to become more intuitive
We all have an intuition, but it may be a difficult thing to identify. If we want to tap into our intuition, the elephant is a perfect symbol for us. Elephants have been described as having a gentle, sensitive, and intuitive nature. This is why the elephant spirit animal will encourage us to listen to our intuition and value our thoughts, especially when they come from a deeper place within us.
Listen to your intuition. Use it to guide you. Learn to trust yourself and your inner voice.
Our intuition is always giving us signs, but we may not be tuned in to it. When we’re attuned to our intuition, we can use it as a guide in our lives. The more we tune into our intuition, the more receptive we will be to its guidance. Receiving help from the elephant spirit animal is a great way to live a life that is more attuned to our intuition. By doing this, we will be able to connect with what’s happening around us and become more sensitive to what’s happening inside of us.
Earth-Connectedness: Having a Spiritual Connection with the Earth
The elephant is strongly connected to the earth element, which could mean that it represents your need to feel more grounded or settled in your life. When you feel more grounded, you are at peace with your world and don’t worry about how things are changing around us.
You can tap into your inner power to face whatever situation you are facing. You have inner strength when things are tough because you know how to handle tough situations.
Sometimes, you might forget about your connection with the earth, and become disconnected from yourself or your environment. In this case, it might be difficult for you to feel grounded because you forget that your inner world is part of the world outside of yourself.
As a result, you may start feeling lost in life and not sure about who you are and what your purpose is. You must dig deeper into yourself to find meaning and purpose in life. Therefore, being connected with the earth means being related to yourself, your own purpose, and meaning in life.
Positive energy: The elephant boosts your positive energy
Everyone needs positive energy in their lives especially when trying to overcome difficult times. The elephant spirit animal gives strength to those who need it the most during the heaviest times of life. It can be seen as a beacon of light during the darkness.
The elephant is a large mammal, deemed one of the strongest creatures to roam on earth. It is because of this quality that elephants are able to get through obstacles in life that others may not be able to handle on their own.
An elephant appearing in your life, whether in real life, in the media, or elsewhere, could be a sign of your intellect to solve a problem or overcome an obstacle that may be in front of you.
As an animal guide, it represents the power of the human spirit. It gives us the power to overcome our obstacles in life. If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, you can draw strength from the elephant to amplify your positive energy.
Look at this inspiring creature as an example of how to cope with difficult tasks ahead through willpower and perseverance. It will also help you become more self-sufficient throughout your life by giving you strength in even the darkest moments.
Elephants symbolize inner strength and wisdom. They may also represent memory. I believed elephant symbolism is connected to the self. The defensive nature of an elephant may represent an introverted nature. Whether you have been seeing elephants in your dreams or wish to get an elephant tattoo, we hope this guide helps you decipher your own special elephant meaning.