elephant symbolism

Spirit Animals: EARNEST ELEPHANT

The Matriarchy

Elephant society is female dominated, what is otherwise known as a matriarchy. Each herd is lead by an elder female who is at once the older sister, the eldest aunt, the mother, and the grandmother. She travels with her sisters and all of their offspring. There is a deep sense of community among elephants and they mourn the passing of their loved ones. Mature males travel alone or in lose bachelor groups. They only join the females during mating.

Elephant symbolism speaks of the wisdom in the trinity of maiden, mother and crone. By encompassing all generations of females and venerating the matriarch, feminine wisdom is rich in the world of elephants. Elephants are known for their altruistic and compassionate treatment of each other. Whenever you’re feeling the need for empathy and nurturance, elephant spirit animal can help you come home.

Natives of Vibration

Elephants have the ability to hear low frequency sounds, known as infrasonic sounds, better than any other animal we’ve tested.  They can also communicate over long distances (at least 7 km and possibly up to 70 km) with their infrasonic rumble calls.  We cannot hear the sounds they make, but we can feel the vibration of the rumbles. Infrasonic sounds travel through air farther than higher frequency sounds, and this gives elephants the ability to coordinate their movements over long distances.

The law of vibration states that everything in our world is actually moving, vibrating at a molecular level. It is the rate of this vibration that determines what form the molecules will take. In a moment of Divine revelation, we have the opportunity to feel the vibration of all life. This experience is completely breathtaking. Anyone who’s fully entered the law of vibration is irrevocably changed.

Elephant symbolism brings us into contact with this universal law and opens us up to a life of service of the whole. Once you understand the grandeur of the world through the law of vibration you can’t help but come into service of it.

There is no evidence of territoriality in elephants and this may be because the family herds are in continual contact with each other over long range. In talking, they avoid going to the same area to graze when resources are limited. Elephant symbolism teaches us how to take our neighbors (both literal and figurative) into account when making decisions about how to obtain and utilize resources. So many of our decisions are short sighted and it is time we take into consideration everyone that is affected by what we do. With the help of elephant spirit animal, we have the opportunity to truly live our lives in a more “global” way not only taking our fellow humans into account but also the earth and all her children.

Studies have found that elephants call more at night when a temperature inversion makes their sounds travel farther. This shows an acute awareness of the density of air. The element of air is associated with our thoughts. Elephant symbolism brings us into knowing that even our thoughts have a frequency, a vibration, that affects everything around us. When we get busy thinking in private, in the dark, elephant symbolism says we may have the most wide reaching effects.

Elephants are in contact with vibrations in other ways. They may be able to detect seismic vibrations from thunderstorms through their feet. They can detect vibrations of running animals through sensitive nerve endings in tip of their trunk when they place it on the ground.

Complex Cognition

Elephants have a similar brain structure to primates (humans, monkeys, chimps, and apes) and cetaceans (dolphins and whales) and they have advanced abilities for problem solving and tool use. Their communication is highly intricate which is another sign of complex thinking. Scientists have discovered that elephants are able to recognize their own reflection in a mirror. Self-recognition indicates a very high level of awareness only found elsewhere in cetaceans, magpies and primates.

The meaning of elephant is therefore linked to self-awareness and heightened thinking. There are all kinds of intelligence in the world, but elephants have the kind of intelligence we most closely relate to. Relating with elephant spirit animal can indicate a time of heightened awareness and thought.

Tactile Trunk

The most distinguishing characteristic of elephants is their enormous trunk. The trunk is the nose and upper lip combined into a single appendage. The trunk is used for many, many things including breathing (70% of their breath comes through the trunk), smelling, sucking up water to deliver to the mouth, sucking and blowing dirt to cover their backs as a sun protectant, gathering food, snorkeling while swimming, communication (much like we wave our arms in gestures), sensing vibration, and manipulating tools.

The trunk is strong enough to uproot trees and refined enough to pluck a flower. The trunk in elephant symbolism teaches that with great power comes great responsibility

African Elephant vs. Asian Elephant Symbolism

There are a number of difference between the two species of elephants. To start, African elephants are much larger than Asian elephants. The African elephant’s ears are twice as large and shaped like the continent of Africa. African elephants have two fingerlike appendages on end of trunk used to grasp objects, while Asian elephants only have one. The males and females of African elephants both have tusks, while only the male Asian elephants have tusks.

Besides these obvious physical differences, there is a distinct difference in disposition of the two. Asian elephants are easily domesticated and have been beasts of burden for millennia (dating back to 2000 BCE). They help with logging, farming, building and transportation. They’ve also served in the less palatable role of war machine. Asian elephants are worshipped, richly adorned and elaborately painted for ceremonies and festivals throughout Asia. This is the species we see in our circuses. Like the horse, the Asian elephant has played a key role in the advancement of our civilization and has suffered immense atrocities as a result of domestication. The bond between an elephant and a human can run very, very deep both emotionally and archetypally. Our past is linked inextricably with theirs.

African elephants are not easily domesticated, so we rarely see them in captivity aside from zoos.

When exploring the meaning of elephant in your life it is worth determining which species of elephant speaks most to you. The Asian elephant will tell of a rich and tortured past of servitude full of the paradox of intense reverence and great trial. This very similar to the plight of the horse, but different in that it is mind boggling to consider that such a giant animal would so gently and generously submit to a small human’s demands. The African elephant will demonstrate a wild nature that cannot be tamed and has been left untouched.

A Note on Land Clearing

Being the largest land animals, long living (they live to 60 or 70 years), and invested in future generations, elephants must be aware of the impact they have on the land and their ability to shape their environment. In shamanic work, elephant spirit animals are brilliant helpers with land clearings. They have the power and strength to clear away what is no longer needed, the wisdom to use restraint and the foresight to prepare the land for future generations.

 

what is my spirit animal?

About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch

Stacey Couch shamanic practitionerStacey L. L. Couch, Certified Shamanic Practitioner, works as a publicist and journalist for Mother Nature and is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. She empowers people with the ability to explore life’s big questions by calling on nature, story and synchronicity as a source for guidance and healing. With her deeply rooted experience in the field of shamanism and passion for working with wildlife and rescue animals, Stacey has a unique blend of rational and mystical perspective that makes the world of shamanism easily accessible to others. She values mindfulness, wonder, and compassion in her daily spiritual practice. Learn More about Stacey.

Stacey Couch

About Author, Stacey L. L. Couch

Stacey Couch is a Spiritual Advisor who supports creative seekers learning as they go on the spiritual path. She serves beginner and life-long students of the soul. Her compassionate and collaborative approach honors the humanity and value of each person. Wisdom found in story, mysticism, and nature provide guidance and healing in her work. Through meeting with Stacey, lost souls find refuge. Connection to the Divine is realized. Belonging comes. She is the author of Gracious Wild: A Shamanic Journey with Hawks. Learn More about working with Stacey
30 replies
  1. Alia
    Alia says:

    This was so thoughtfully and beautifully written. Spiritually and scientifically synergistic in nature. Thank you Queen.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Nancy, That is a very good question. I don’t know how far back elephant statues go back, and my guess is that spiritual beliefs surrounding elephants likely go back before written history. Most mythology concerning animals was passed on through oral traditions to help people better understand the environment they lived in. Although not an exact answer, I hope this helps. Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  2. kituna
    kituna says:

    Hi Stacy does it mean that the symbols that loaded on my device are my spirit animals. I was able to identify with the spirit

    Reply
  3. Kim
    Kim says:

    Very fascinating and educational. I have always been intrigued by elephants. My mother collected them and always said they were lucky. I am a very spiritual person and my animal guide has always been a grizzly. Until, last night I had never seen an elephant in meditation. But a huge African one, ears, came walking towards me in a dense green jungle, before I knew it, I was on top and we were traveling through the jungle at a trotting pace. Unbelievable the depth of the reality of it. So, this am, I decided to research what a visit by this beautiful beast meant, and found your article. Fabulous.
    Coincidentally, at this time I am studying vibrations, healing and frequencies. After reading your article on the ultrasonic abilities of elephants and their close relation to whales, humans, which I never knew, has directed me in new research directions, which was obviously
    why I was guided to the elephants. I thank you for your research, and I am sure I haven’t seen the last of the elephants in my meditations.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Kim, No matter how many stories I hear of synchronicity I am always still delighted. What a wonderful thing that all of this is coming together for you. Here’s to happy journeys with elephants! Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  4. Amy
    Amy says:

    Wow! Elephant has been my spirit animal for most of my life but i have never read such an awesome description of why they resonate with me. I finally get it. Thank you so much. I also loved your beautiful article about mouse totem.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      You are most welcome Amy! Thank you for your kind words. I am so pleased that this article has helped you understand more about your spirit companion. I could write a book on each animal, and elephant spirit animal is no exception. They are incredible creatures! Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  5. Linda CROCKETT
    Linda CROCKETT says:

    Thank you for this. I have been using shamanic journeys for some years for personal guidance, and then beginning last year, for guidance for a social movement I am involved with. This morning, three elephants came to me in the lower world. It is the first time an elephant has appeared to me. The journey was intense and powerful. Reading your brief article helped me to unpack a bit more of its meaning, although I am sure that will take some length of time!

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Linda, You are most welcome. I am glad to hear that my article helped you connect further with elephant medicine. What a powerful energy for helping with social movement! These three beautiful beasts can carry you far in your service. Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  6. Sunshine
    Sunshine says:

    My power animal was a significantly big elephant. My Shaman told me bigger than ever seen. So big that it was initially interpreted as an African Elephant. However, the elephant wanted me to know specifically that it is an “Indian Elephant” not an African Elephant. I’ve been googling for significance and so not know what this means.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Sunshine, Indian elephants are the same as Asian Elephants. So, the section of this article on Asian Elephant spirit animal will apply to you. Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  7. Dillon
    Dillon says:

    Hi Stacey, I like the article. It’s funny because I always have dreams about wild animals, and my interactions with them. I had three different dreams about the redtail hawk and three physical encounters in my backyard. I’ve researched animal sprit messages and it’s led me to researching shamanism as well. In the process, I found your book Gracious Wild, which I have on order right now. Anyway, I dreamed about riding an elephant last night, and again found your article on this. Thanks for the insight on the elephant medicine.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Dillon, You are most welcome! I am glad to meet you and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Gracious Wild once you are finished. Please do stay in touch. Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  8. Cindy c. Beck
    Cindy c. Beck says:

    I’m a huge believer in dreams and their meanings. Has always guided me. Last night I dreamt of elephants for the first time ever. A small Asian one*but she was pink) named paisley and a Large African one named Howard. Apparently the Elephants had been in my family for years and I recently found out. They were kept at a stable and it was snowing and I rushed There to get the inside as they were left outside. I had to get a key from a man who said he didn’t care what happened to them. There was so much meaning in the dream to my waking life. I was in awe at the beauty of them. Your article REALLY help break more down So well. Thank you.

    Reply
  9. Sherry tucker
    Sherry tucker says:

    My daughter, Nancy-Jane Tucker David, was killed in a traffic accident in April 2017 in Austin TX. where she was a student at UT. It’s been a very difficult year. We miss her bright light and spirit desperately. She loved elephants, and in fact had travelled to Thailand in 2015 to live on a elephant preserve for a few weeks. The more I read about elephants, the more I understand why she identified with them. They bring me, our family, and her friends some comfort. I loved your article and insight. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Stacey Couch
      Stacey Couch says:

      Hello Sherry, I am glad that her spirit brought us together through the spirit of the elephant. May you continue to find solace along the way and may elephant spirit animal continue to deliver the comfort you need to continue on in love and life. Many Blessings, Stacey

      Reply
  10. Sally
    Sally says:

    I have been seeking a deity and i wrote to other wiccans about not feeling connected to any. Someone then said to connect to your higher self. I did automatic writing and kept writing elephant…wasnt sure why until i read your post ????

    Reply
  11. Mamie
    Mamie says:

    Thanks for this information. Just discovered my spirit animal and wanted to know more. So accurate and beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Ann
    Ann says:

    Thank you for this insightful post on Elephants. I lead a group meditation and prior to the weekly event I clear myself and then invite in the benevolent helpers, guides teachers, elementals who desire to join us. Each week new things happen and last night the Elephants showed up and asked us all to connect with them. It was a very real experience for many in the group. We rode them, went to a watering hole, and they trumpted our prayers for all of creation. Then they asked us to get off and move to their trunk, they bent down so we could touch their turn and look into their eye. It was beautiful and their knowledge felt very old and inviting to teach. I will invite them back into my life often.
    Bye the way, I also do healing work and one of the methods I use is sound, with the use of a machine Cyma 1000. I will be inviting the elephant to any clearings I do in the future.
    Thank you for this informative and intuitive post.

    Reply

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