Elephant's medicine includes strength, royalty, connection to ancient wisdom, removal of obstacles and barriers, confidence, patience, using education opportunities, commitment, gentleness, communicating in relationships, discernment, intelligence, and compassion.
Socially, elephants tend to live in two groups broken by gender. They live in separate social groups of females and male. Members of the female herds care and protect their young, act together for mutual protection from predators, and maintain loving relationships across the generations. The older, experienced females (crone) act as the Grandmothers of the Herd, using their experience and wisdom to assist the mothers and calves with the problems of life. Unlike much of human society, elephant herds demonstrate how close supportive relationships can be maintain between the generations by the feminine members of family.
The bulls are isolated from the female herds except during the mating season, roaming the countryside with their bachelor buddies. Male elephants wander with other males during much of each year, seeking food. But during breeding season, they become aggressive and go individually in search of the female herds. Once the breeding seasons are ended, they leave the females and return to their bachelor herds. In rut, the males are dangerous and so the term “rogue elephant” has become part of even the Western vocabulary. In the dark, Elephant symbolizes the abusive, enraged, out of control male.
Elephant people show great affection to their families, caring for the young and the elderly. An Elephant will give the insight into the power of the three feminine energies: child, mother and old wise woman (or crone). Elephants can teach us that gentleness, commitment, and communication in relationships is very powerful and necessary to keep relationships alive, trusting and loving, whether it be friends, family, or partner. Deeply committed to all creatures with whom they have relationships, elephants are tough when protecting others and gentle when nurturing them. The matriarch (the oldest, most experienced female leader of a herd) leads in a way that is both gentle and inclusive.
Elephants show us that by supporting and loving one another, our own ability to thrive in the physical world is enhanced. We learn from them to pass on the gift of nurturing we received in our early years, be it from our biological family or others who helped us grow into who we are now. We must honor the elders of our community and nurture the young. Like the elephant, we need to help ease the transitions of those who are going into adulthood with gentle love, wisdom, patience and compassion. By having open hearts and minds, we can create strong relationships within the community, therefore building a strong community.
Elephants communicate telepathically with herd members as well as other elephants. As we choose to become closer and more open with those dear to us, our ability to understand them can deepen to a level that transcends speech. Since Elephants are able to communicate telepathically, this can teach us how to truly listen to others.
An Elephant totem gives you ancient wisdom and power to draw upon. It embodies strength and power. Through the use of fragrances and incense, Elephant can guide you to new energies and power. Elephants depend heavily on their well-developed sense of smell to stay informed on their environments. The sense of smell symbolizes the ability to ‘discriminate’ between positive and negative environments. Elephant can bring the gift of discrimination, so that if you are contemplating some important decision, you will notice if “something does not smell right” about your options and you will take more time to find more positive solutions.
Linked with the planet Neptune, Elephant can also symbolize illusion or fantasy. Imagination is a gift of the Unconscious as well, so Neptune/Elephant can bring gifts of creativity. However, the danger of the Unconscious is the possibility of becoming lost in illusion or fantasy. The dreamer can become lost in illusion in life or escape reality into fantasy, turning ones back on the challenges and learning opportunities in everyday life in exchange for the lure of imagination and fantasy. The dreamer therefore must learn to live in the Present, using his creativity to build dreams here, instead of wandering only in the realms of the fantastic within his mind. Fantasy can also bring riches of creativity. Children often fantasize about life as a way of experimenting with solutions to problems. Adults need imagination to find solutions to life’s challenges, but too much fantasizing can lead one to withdraw from life into isolation, leading to depression and loss of healthy relationships if not attended to. If we lose the ability to play and instead start to take life too seriously however, Elephant can teach the adult how to play with others again and thereby restore lightness and laughter to his life.
The myths involving Elephant have profoundly influenced humanity through history. Dreams filled with Elephant carry messages of transformation and spiritual power. Elephant in one’s dreams can signify the emergence of one’s Highest True Self. The Self, deep within the Collective Unconscious, only emerges when one has done one’s shadow work and integrated the contents of the Unconscious with Conscious Mind. This cannot be done by oneself, but is a sign of the Grace of the Divine and gift of Love of the As Above.
Elephants in History
Throughout history elephants have been revered. They are most intelligent creatures, and honored by many cultures. As well as being the largest land animals, they are also among the longest lived, with life spans of 60+ years.
In Buddhist tradition, the Buddha picked the form of a white elephant as one of his many incarnations, thus the rare appearance of a white elephant is still heralded as a manifestation of the gods.
Ganesh, a Hindu god that is said to be the “remover of obstacles”, was described as having the head of an Elephant.
In India, Elephant was the mount of Kings. Elephant was a devastating weapon of war and would throw the enemies of the Kings of India into confusion whenever the giant animals would rush into their ranks. In India, Elephant came to symbolize the God of Warriors.
During the Roman Empire, the general Hannibul was made famous for attempting to bring the Carthagenian war elephants over the Alps to attack Rome from the city’s exposed flanks. He failed, of course.
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