Elephant Symbolism: Meaning of Elephant Symbolism, Spirit, Totem and Power Animal

elephant symbolism

“If you cannot find a good companion to walk with, walk alone, like an elephant in the jungle. It is better to be alone than to be with those who will hinder your progress .” – Gautama Buddha

Elephants are massive and dominating creatures and we are confident you will like this elephant symbolism piece.

They inspire awe and fear since ancient times. Even lions who are the king of the jungle would avoid a confrontation with elephants. The elephants are a symbol of power and strength. At the same time, it is also considered a gentle and very intelligent creature.

In many cultures all across the world, elephants have a solid reputation. A reputation for their strength and power. These majestic creatures flourished in various kingdoms.
And at one point many were battle-trained in ancient warfare. In Persia, throngs of massive and well-equipped elephants intimidate enemies with their appearance.
Alexander the Great, known as the most successful military leader in the world, conquered the Indian subcontinent in 326 BC. He led a campaign to conquer the three
kingdoms after they refused to submit to his authority. Alexander got wounded in this campaign and almost lost to the Assakenians. It was a fierce battle that involved an
army with huge elephants.

The meaning of different elephant symbols

Size and power are two words that will always describe the elephant. The African elephant is the world’s largest land mammal which measures a shoulder height of up to 3.96 meters (13 ft). But it's not only size and power that elephants are known for the world over.

It is a fact that elephants have a high degree of intelligence compared to most animals. They have the largest brain among land animals and have photographic memories. In
the African desert, they travel incredibly long distances. But they can remember watering holes that are necessary for their survival.

Studies have also shown that elephants form close bonds with their companions. Still, they can recognize them after so many years of separation. In 1999, two elephants that
were once companions in a circus got reunited after more than 20 years. This happened in an elephant sanctuary in Tennessee, USA. The elephants named Jenny and Shirley immediately recognized one another. An immediate bonding occurred between them.

Elephants are also known to exhibit empathy which is quite uncommon in any animals. In one case study, Asian elephants show to comfort one another when any of them got distressed. They have physical interaction and use vocal sounds to comfort one another. They also used their long trunks in stroking each other.

One of the most amazing characteristics of elephants is the ability to mourn their dead. It’s fascinating to see the reactions of elephants to the death of their loved ones. They
display what seems to be grief and mourning as exhibited by humans. They will stand beside the body of the deceased elephant for several hours. And there are times that will try to bury the remains. They don’t show the same emotions on the remains of other animals.

Elephant Symbolism: The spiritual meanings

We have listed the main elephant characteristics that make symbolizes their qualities:

Power and Strength

The elephant symbolizes power and strength. This refers not only to the body but also to the mind. They are seen as a spirit guide to overcome obstacles encountered along
the way. Strength to defend themselves and others from forces that try to do them harm.


Many cultures acknowledge the wisdom of elephants and their intelligence has been a source of awe and inspiration.


Although they are massive creatures, elephants display a great degree of self-control and calmness. They are generally calm and gentle creatures. They will go on with their
daily lives unless threatened by other animals or humans.


Elephants think of others apart from themselves. They are loyal, loving, and sympathetic. They exhibit depths of emotions in various situations and are self-aware.

elephant as a symbolism

Elephant Symbolism in Dreams

There are many elephant symbolisms in dreams. When you dream of riding an elephant, it means that you are in total control of your inner thoughts and subconscious. If in your dream you find yourself feeding an elephant, it suggests a good sign. It means an elevation of your social status within your circle or community. Dreaming of being afraid of an elephant suggests being hesitant on confronting a big problem. A problem that you are fully aware of but decided to set aside. If you see an injured elephant that is dying or close to death, it means you are holding on to unpleasant memories. You continue holding on to it instead of letting go.

If you are the type of person who would rather keep his ideas and opinions to himself, dreaming of an elephant giving birth suggests something. It means that you should
express your view and opinions. And when you see an elephant standing in a room in your dreams, it symbolizes a personal issue. Something that you have been putting off that needs your attention.

The Significance of Elephants in Mythology and Religion

The elephant is one of the most represented animals in mythology and religion. In the Judeo-Christian religion, elephants represent patience, temperance, and chastity. The
elephant has been widely depicted in ancient works to represent God’s creation, Adam and Eve.

In India where 80% of the population are Hindus, the elephant is a very sacred animal. For them, it is the living incarnation of Ganesh, one of their most important gods or

It is not only the Hindus in South Asia that worship elephants. Buddhists also worship “white” elephants. A light-colored version of Ganesh that carry special powers. In
Thailand, white elephants are rare and so they are to be the king’s property.

Elephant Totem Animal

Elephants are generally considered a symbol of power, wisdom, strength, and control. The elephants with their trunks down symbolizes the accumulation of positive energy.
Its ivory trunk which is is highly valued showers its positive energy across the room where it is placed. As an animal totem, elephants can help you access your inner wisdom and inner strength. A steady and positive force that you never realize you have. With self-awareness, you can harness your wisdom and have the self-control. You can think
things through and thus speak and act with confidence.

Elephant Power Animal

The elephant as a power animal is right beside the bear and lion and is in a league of its own in terms of its size. The ability to stay gentle and calm, and live harmoniously
with other animals, despite its strength and size is a sign of balance and stability. Elephants exhibit great control. They can summon their great strength to show they
will not back down when challenged. Some Asian cultures even believe in the cosmic power of elephants just like the Native American lore of turtles. They believe that the elephant carries the world on its back in connection to a divine being. Standing up for others and defending the weak makes the elephant a proud and formidable leader.

Elephant as a Celtic Animal

The Celts were a group of tribes in Central Europe with a common language, religious beliefs, and traditions. It’s believed that as early as 1200 B.C. the Celtic culture began to evolve and flourish. They spread throughout western Europe and their legacy can still be found in Ireland and Great Britain.

As a Celtic animal, elephants are revered by the Celts for their power and strength. They recognized major energy from animals and they are fascinated with the gentleness of the massive elephant. They called upon the spirits of elephants to provide them the wisdom and strength they needed to defend their territories.

Elephant Symbolism in Buddhism

When Buddha was still in the womb of his mother, she dreamt of a pure, white elephant. It’s trunk outreached with a white lotus that it seemed to offer to her. It then circled her and soon entered her womb with its tusk. Upon waking, she realized that she had a divine experience. And this prophecy made the elephant symbolism an integral part of Buddhism.

In Buddhism, the mighty elephant is more revered for its mental strength than its physical prowess. Enlightenment in its early part, is represented by a gray elephant. Wild, it charges and demolishes everything that is in its path. After the practice of controlling and taming one’s mind, the result is a strengthened and controlled mind with clear intentions. This is symbolized by a white elephant.

Final Words

And that’s the end of our elephant symbolism piece. The elephant is a massive animal that is a symbol of great strength and power. Its symbolism, spirit, and totem, are a great representation of its various character traits
that are hard for other animals to surpass.

For thousands of years and even to this day, man has been fascinated and enamored by the elephant. With a calm and gentle demeanor displayed by a powerful creature. To
channel its strength and wisdom as a totem animal can bring joy and enlightenment to an individual.

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