elephant symbol

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the symbolism of elephants.

Elephants are majestic creatures that hold a wide variety of meanings and symbolism to various people and cultures all over the world.

Because of the many deep meanings and interpretations behind the symbolism of elephants, they have been featured prominently in a lot of religions and mythologies for centuries.

Here is a detailed guide to elephant symbolism:

The general meaning of elephant symbolism

1. Elephants symbolize strength

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The elephant is a universal symbol of strength. This meaning is mainly derived from the mighty body of the elephant.

The elephant is also a very smart animal with a powerful mind, which further lends reinforces its symbolism of strength.

Some people believe the elephant is their spirit animal because it gives them strength when they need it in their lives.

2. Elephants symbolize power

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Elephants are large and powerful.

However, their greatest power lies in the fact that while they could potentially kill any animal or dominate the wild, they are peaceful and calm in the wild. They only attack when provoked or threatened.

3. Elephants symbolize wisdom

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Elephants are smart animals with long memories.

In nature, they have been observed to exhibit “higher” traits like determination, sensitivity, stability, understanding, and forgiveness. They even mourn their dead and have special graveyards for them.

Gaze into their eyes and you will see wisdom and intelligence in them.

4. Elephants symbolize loyalty

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Elephants are fiercely loyal to their herds.

They care deeply about other elephants around them.

They are nurturing even to calves that are not their own. They have also been known to show respect to their elders.

They are responsible, reliable, and loyal to those that are important to them.

5. Elephants symbolize patience

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Elephants are gentle giants that are usually calm and collected.

They are slow to anger, only reacting violently when they absolutely have to.

When searching for water or a fresh source of food, an elephant can walk up to 122 miles/ 195 kilometers in a single day. They do not give up until they get to where they want to be.

On average, African elephants walk 16 miles/ 25 kilometers a day.

Elephant symbolism in various cultures and religions

In some cultures, it is believed that having the elephant symbol in or around the house invites good luck. This is because the elephant has qualities that are revered by most people, which is why it is associated with positivity.

Examples of popular cultural items with elephant symbolism include wall art, paintings, tapestries, figurines, cloth fabric, and jewelry.

Elephant symbolism in Buddhism

According to Buddist legend, an elephant played a vital role in Buddha’s birth.

Queen Maya, Buddha’s mother, was unable to conceive. One day, she dreamt that a white elephant gave her a lotus flower. The elephant then circled her three times before entering her womb. She was finally able to conceive.

Because of this, white elephants in Buddhism symbolize purity and divinity. Dreaming of a white elephant means a calm, collected mind that is on the path to enlightenment.

On the other hand, grey elephants in Buddhism symbolize impurity and agitation. Dreaming of a grey elephant means your mind is untrained and prone to wandering off the path to enlightenment.

Elephant symbolism in Hinduism

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The Hindu god Ganesha is depicted as an elephant in Hinduism.

Ganesha is the god of good luck, the god of protection, the god of good fortune, and the remover of obstacles.

This goes to show the significance of elephants as a symbol in Hinduism.

In Hindu mythology, the goddess Lakshmi and the god, Indra, are depicted as riding white elephants.

Indra is the god of rain, thunder, lightning, and rivers. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, beauty, prosperity, and power.

Because of this, elephants are also linked to water and rain in Hinduism.

Elephants are also a symbol of royalty in Hinduism. Kings and princes ride them in processions as a sign of their power and might. This is because it is believed that the gods, too, ride elephants as their mounts.

Elephant symbolism in Christianity

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In Christianity, elephants symbolize patience, chastity, and temperance.

Elephants are depicted in many ancient Christian artworks. Some scholars believe they depict Adam and Eve.

In the Bible, elephants are mentioned extensively in the books of the Maccabees. They were used in the armies of the Seleucids. Their ivory is also mentioned in the book of Revelations.

To Christians, elephants represent power, strength, compassion, loyalty, and the majesty and vastness of God.

Elephant symbolism in Chinese Cultures

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Elephants are a symbol of good luck, good fortune, and happiness in Chinese culture.

They symbolize wisdom, good luck, fertility, and protection.

In Feng Shui, the meaning behind the elephant symbolism changes depending on the position the elephant is facing or the position in which it is depicted.

Where to place elephants in your home according to Feng Shui:

  • Placing a pair of elephants at the entrance of your home facing inwards brings luck to the household.
  • Placing a pair of elephants at the entrance of your home facing outwards guards the home against evil and negative energy.
  • Hanging a painting of elephants in the bedroom will strengthen your relationship with your partner.
  • A pair of elephants statues in the bedroom will also prevent any negativity from entering your relationship while promoting love and faithfulness.
  • Hanging elephant paintings in the office will bring good luck to your business
  • A mother-child elephant combination is perfect for your child’s room as it protects them while they sleep.
  • A toy elephant on a child’s study table will strengthen your child’s knowledge and improve their focus and memory.
  • Placing elephant statues or paintings facing north brings career growth and financial success.
  • Elephants with raised trunks are trumpeting to attract luck into your home.
  • Elephants with trunks that are facing slightly upwards are like vacuum cleaners that sweep away negative energy.
  • Elephants with trunks that face downwards symbolize focus, vitality, sensuality, and longevity.
  • Elephants with trunks facing downwards also store luck and good energy and distribute it throughout the household. They symbolize being grounded in wisdom and knowledge.
  • Elephants with their trunks facing upwards and standing on their hind legs symbolize power and protection.
  • Two elephants crossing their trunks symbolize love and strong relationships.
  • Two elephants where one is larger with tusks while the other is smaller and tuskless represnts the powerful bond between males and females

Elephant symbolism in African mythology

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According to African mythology, the elephant was a wise, fair chief.

The elephant is considered one of the chiefs of the animal kingdom whose job is to settle differences between other animals.

Because of this, the elephant symbolizes power, strength, and wisdom in African cultures.

Meaning of Elephant Mandala

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Mandala means “circle”.

It is a sacred form that when combined with the elephant sacred symbol denotes the interconnection between your own universe and the cosmos.

Elephant mandalas are sacred to the mandala maker or wearer. They serve to center and ground the mind.

An elephant mandala in meditation or yoga is thought to enhance the overall experience.

Elephant symbolism in dreams

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What does it mean to dream of elephants?

Well, it depends on what the elephant looks like in the dream and what it does. Here are the various meanings of elephants in dreams:

  • Seeing an elephant could symbolize the need for patience and understanding. Your subconscious could be asking you to be patient about something or to be understanding of someone else. If the elephant is aggressive, it could mean that this need is urgent or dire.
  • Dreaming of an elephant could also mean you are holding onto the past. You may be holding onto a memory that you should have let go of by now.
  • An elephant in your dream could also be a reflection of yourself. It could be how your subconscious sees you. The elephant symbolizes all the qualities you possess.
  • Riding an elephant in your dream could mean that you feel in control. It could also mean that you feel like you deserve to be a leader.
  • A threatening elephant could mean that you are afraid of something in your life. There may be a problem in your life that needs to be confronted.
  • Dreaming that you are an elephant means that you need to be more proactive, more expressive, and more outspoken. You need to open up more.
  • An elephant in your dreams could also represent your maternal instincts. In elephant herds, the female is in charge and she takes care of all the calves. Perhaps there is an issue in your family that needs your attention?

Final Thoughts

What does the elephant symbolize for you? Why do you love these gentle giants? Let us know in the comments!

We also have other guides to meanings behind symbols that you can check out. Here are some of them: Meaning of the evil eye, Meaning of the Hamsa hand, Meaning of the lotus flower, Meaning of mandalas, Meaning of the Dharma Wheel, Meaning of the Flower of Life, Meaning of the Tree of Life, Meaning of Dreamcatchers.

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