The Meaning of Different Elephant Symbols

December 03, 2018 7 Comments

The Meaning of Different Elephant Symbols

Elephant Symbolism 

Elephants hold significant meaning in many cultures and symbols of these majestic creatures have been depicted in mythology and religion for thousands of years. Here at One Tribe Apparel, they adorn our traditional Thai Elephant Pants and Elephant Bracelets. There are many meanings and interpretations behind elephant symbols, which are particularly significant in Indian and Asian faiths, including Hinduism and Buddhism.

Strength & Power: In the most general, universal meaning, the elephant symbolizes strength and power. This meaning refers to both the body and the mind. The elephant is also seen as a sort of spirit guide to help us along a journey that requires patience. 

Wisdom & Loyalty: Elephant symbolism also represents sensitivity, wisdom, stability, loyalty, intelligence, peace, reliability and determination, which are all seen in the animal's nature when observed in the wild. Elephants are gentle giants, who show great care toward their herd, offspring and elders. This symbolizes responsibility, determination and loyalty. These traits are well depicted in our elephant tapestries

elephants playing

Patience: Elephants are also a symbol for keeping calm and having patience as elephants are generally calm and mellow creatures, unless their young or herd is threatened. The elephant is very slow to anger and is, therefore, a calming, stable and patient symbol.

Power: In its huge physical form, the elephant could do a lot of damage if it wanted to but it isn't in their nature to be destructive. This makes the elephant symbol so powerful and admirable, as even though they have the power to dominate, they choose to lead a calm and harmonious existence.

meaning of elephant symbols

In many cultures, elephants are revered and highly respected due to their symbolic meaning. Cultures in most regions across the world hold some sort of value to the elephant as a symbol, which makes it a very powerful and prominent symbol. 

It is believed that using elephant symbolism in and around one's household will invite good luck and fortune into one's home, while keeping any negativity out. Tapestries, wall art, figurines and jewellery featuring elephants is very popular.  

Meaning of Elephant Mandala

In Sanskrit, Mandala means "circle" and the elephant mandala is a sacred symbol. It explains the interconnectedness of the mandala maker's universe with the vast cosmos.

An elephant mandala is useful in helping center the mind during meditation, enhancing the spiritual joy derived from a meditation practice and even during yoga.  

Elephant Symbolism in Dreams 

what does it mean when you dream of elephant


Dreaming of elephants can have various meanings depending on what the elephant is doing in the dream.  

What Does It Mean When You Dream Of An Elephant? - Seeing an elephant in a dream, could suggest that you need to have more patience and understanding of other people. It could also mean that you have been holding onto a specific memory for too long and that it's time to let the past go.  

If you're quite an introverted person, the elephant in your dream could merely be a reflection of your own character. Riding on an elephant could indicate that you are someone in control, someone with good leadership qualities.  

Dreaming that you are scared of an elephant suggests that you are afraid to confront a serious problem in your life. If you dream that you are an elephant, it means that you need to start expressing yourself and your opinions more.


The Significance of Elephants in Mythology and Religion 

Buddhism & Elephants: The significance of elephants in Buddhism stems from ancient legends of Buddha's birth, in which a white elephant played a vital role. Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, did not fall pregnant until she dreamt of a white elephant. The elephant gave her a white lotus flower, circled around her three times and then entered her womb. When she awoke, she knew that the dream was an omen of the divine, and was finally able to conceive a child.  

There is also a difference between the meanings of a white elephant and a grey elephant. White elephants are believed to be a symbol of purity, divinity and a calm mind, while grey elephants symbolize an untrained and agitated mind, which tends to wander off from the path toward enlightenment.

elephants in buddhism

Hinduism & Elephants: The elephant is a very powerful and significant symbol in the Hindu faith as one of their favourite gods, Ganesha, is depicted in the form of an elephant. Ganesha is thought to be the remover of obstacles, as well as the god of luck, protection and fortune.  

Elephant symbolism in Hindu mythology, is also associated with water and rain because of the god Indra. Indra was the god of thunder, rain, river flows and lightning and was usually depicted riding on a white elephant. Elephants also represented royalty as they were depicted as the mounts of gods, and were ridden by kings in processions.

elephants in hinduism ganesha

Christianity & Elephants: In Christianity, elephant symbolism denotes temperance, chastity and patience. They are depicted in many ancient artworks and are thought to represent Adam and Eve in their male and female forms. The Bestiaries, which contain information and stories about almost every animal thought to exist (even imaginary ones), suggest that there are many symbolic meanings to the elephant.  

Long ago, it was thought that elephants had no joints in their knees and therefore symbolized the "fall of man". A fallen elephant would represent a person who had fallen into sin. Elephant symbolism was also indicative of chastity as the animals showed no indications of passion.


Certain Asian cultures believe that the world is carried on the back of a cosmic elephant, instead of a tortoise as some other cultures believe. This signifies the power of the elephant as a symbol. In Asia, elephants are revered as they also represent the divine, so there are many ceremonies where offerings are made to elephants.

Chinese Culture & Elephants: In Chinese culture, the elephant is believed to be a symbol of good luck and happiness. In Feng Shui, elephants can also symbolize good luck, wisdom, protection and fertility, depending on the position they're depicted in. An elephant with its trunk raised up represents good luck, while fertility is symbolized when the trunk is down. Two elephants sitting at entrances provide protection.

elephant in chinese mythology

The significance of elephants in mythology was that it was seen as a cosmic animal that represented the structure of the universe. Their body is composed of four pillars upholding a spherical body, symbolizing power and stability.

African Mythology & Elephants: African mythology depicts the elephant as the wise chief who can objectively settle the disputes of other animals, which has resulted in its symbolic meanings of strength, power and wisdom. 

african elephant

What does the majestic and gentle elephant mean to you? Does it invoke a childhood memory or a recent dream? Do you love these beautiful giants? Tell us in the comments below!


7 Responses

Roslyn Harris.
Roslyn Harris.

November 18, 2019

I’m 72yrs young and from a very young age I was drawn to the Elephants, I don’t know why. My home has always been adorned with these charismatic peaceful gentle giants. Trunks up I’m lead to believe bring good fortune, whilst they haven’t bought me loads of money I believe they have given me richness through life. My partner once said if anymore Elephants came home we’d wake up one night to a stampede, HaHa.

Nicole Jackson
Nicole Jackson

November 18, 2019

I have long since loved, respected, admired and revered the large, calm, regal and powerful beauty of the magnificent elephant. I can only strive to have their compassion for their young and their respect for their elders, the slow to anger mild mannerdness unless provoked. I have many of them in my home on display in every room I also wear a gold elephant around my neck to remind me that I must also be compassionate, slow to anger, protect and provide for my loved ones.

Ermane Asante
Ermane Asante

August 28, 2019

I have always looked at my daughter as a little elephant, she’s so calm, caring and energetic. The fact that I love elephants, I chose to decorate her room with an elephant symbol. Hope she grows to live up to an elephant character….

Lisa Lake
Lisa Lake

August 28, 2019

While in deep meditation an elephant appeared and put its trunk around me as if to comfort me. It’s presence gave me comfort. Never had an animal appear while meditating,

Anne harrison
Anne harrison

July 11, 2019

I have been a believer in elephants for many years they mean family courage, gentle strength, memory of family,and courage

Ben Smith
Ben Smith

April 17, 2019

I have always been mesmerized by these beautiful giants. When I look into their eyes, there is a look that portrays so much intelligence.

Philip Schermerhorn
Philip Schermerhorn

April 17, 2019

Yes I do!!!! They are so tender and kind and there are so many pictures that bear this out. Unfortunately, because of their kind and gentle nature they unwittingly subject themselves to abuse, and torture. I wish I could find an organization I could volunteer for to help free any of these gentle animals from their chains. Most organizations want only donations but offer no hands on work people like me.

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