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Although the elephant is much like any other animal in your dreams, it tends to represent the power and influence of the potent forces active in your body and mind, that if you relate to well bring about health and success, and if badly illness and ruin. For example the elephant can refer to the powerful responses in us such as fear, sex, survival, and the power of imagination to evoke great anxiety or great pleasure. Often our personality evokes these forces in a destructive and disorderly way. A person may have read an article about cancer for instance and develop a great fear they have the disease, causing much stress and actual physical illness in some degree.

So some elephant dreams revolve around how we relate to this power, and the attempt of the elephant to place us on its back to direct it. So in general it is your potential or energy. Also depicts your big self, or the power of the unconscious and your cosmic, eternal nature. The tremendous inner power of the unconscious, with a mahout, or conscious direc­tion or co-operation can achieve wonderful things. Ganesh, the Indian elephant god, represents the remover of all obstacles, the power of life manifesting. He is the god of good fortune.

So it is the totality of yourself rather than awareness of only the conscious ego. It is what is referred to in Christianity as the ‘spirit’, the influence that can heal or instruct, thus power from our unconscious; strength; unforgiveness from association of long memory; patience; fidelity; intelligence or wisdom of the unconscious. In some ways the elephant has similar qualities to the crocodile in its link with the collective unconscious. The difference is that the elephant does not usually in dreams seek to consume you like the crocodile or alligator. It therefore depicts a relationship with one’s incredible potential that can lead to directing or working with the potent forces of the unconscious. See: alligator.

If we run from the elephant: Being afraid of our own strength or inner power. The question is, can we meet this enormous energy in ourselves enough to direct it? Sometimes represents the collective unconscious.

Elephant’s trunk: Sometimes a sexual symbol, the penis. As such it is usually referring to how your sexual feelings are being influenced by the great spirit of Life acting on you – the cosmic power of the spirit. Also the trunk illustrates the ability to get or reach out for ones own needs – see example below.

Example: During an experience arising from the use of psilocybin, I had a very clear mental image of a baby elephant. It was like a bas-relief made out of clay, but mobile. I could see that the baby elephant had some problem with its trunk, and I wondered why my unconscious had produced this image so clearly and what it meant. Immediately the image disappeared and a series of associations arose unbidden. It was that the elephant actually ate with its mouth, but it had to reach out for everything with its trunk. As a baby the elephant would suckle, but as it matured it would have to learn to get its own needs with its trunk, therefore the problem was about me reaching out for my own needs. Danny.

Example: The I experienced the elephant as a powerful force which I intuitively sense and feel some anxiety about. I felt the elephant as a powerful influence which works below the level of normal consciousness, which acts upon masses, although it obviously influences individuals. But it influences individuals unconsciously, so they are inclined in a direction along with many others. As it enters my life I sense it seems to be an influence which might direct me into a communion with this deeper, more inclusive or integrative influence. Thus my personal activities might have added to them this influence which co-ordinates the processes of life, and adds to ones small endeavours the stamp or power of a grander life – the spirit. The life of the spirit I sensed here as the ‘company’ where I was accepted as a worker in this wider organisation behind life.

Example: I was on a road and noticed that a magnificent elephant had appeared. It had enormous tusks and ears, the latter being powdered with blue dust and adding tremendously to its impact. As it was coming in my direction I was frightened and began to run. I ran off the road, over a fence into a field. I thought the elephant would be stopped by the fence. It wasn’t. It walked straight through it after me. Then I tried to climb a low bank back to the road. The elephant was drawing nearer and I was so frightened I could hardly move to climb the bank. The elephant caught hold of me and I suddenly realised it wasn’t going to destroy me, but wanted, despite it being a magnificent and powerful beast, to sit me on its back. I was still frightened however and ran to a doctor’s surgery. The elephant came and, thrusting its trunk into the surgery, drew me out to it. AT.

Example: I looked out of a window and noticed a wild elephant in full charge. It ran past the end of the building and I went to the opposite window, seeing it charge another elephant. After the impact it seemed to be a strange mixture, in my mind, of elephant and rhinoceros. It then stood shaking with sexual motions, until a great deal of sperm came out and its tension was released. AT.

The above two examples illustrate firstly the enormous power of the elephant and how it is not usually an attacking or destructive power, and in the second example it shows the link between that power and the sexual drive.

Idioms: White elephant; pink elephants; rogue elephant. See: the self under archetypes.

Useful Questions and Hints:

If I imagine myself as the elephant what do I experience?

What powerful influence am I meeting or directing at the moment?

Am I aware in any way of the enormous impact the collective power of society and my own unconscious has on me?

What is my relationship with the elephant and what does this depict in my life?

See Do you imagine that is a real creature – Avoid Being VictimsYou are the Projector



-Marie 2014-09-11 6:55:05

I just dreamt seeing a baby elephant being eaten by a full sized lion. The setting was in a school playground. What can this all mean?


    -Tony Crisp 2014-09-16 8:26:18

    Marie – I wonder what age you are or what you are engaged in, because the dream appears to show that a small child with enormous potential is eaten/attacked or subdued by an adult or older child.

    It could even apply to you in that your wonderful potential has been put down by someone or you by what you have been taught.

    Try being the lion and the baby elephant. It doesn’t matter in dreams if you get eaten by the lion, because then you are the lion and so have all its strength. To do this use http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson



      -Marie 2014-09-17 18:53:55

      Thank you Tony for your response.
      About my baby elephant being eaten by the lion- -
      2014-09-11 6:55:05.
      I am 33 year old mother of two young children. I’m a stay at home mom.
      When I saw this in my dream, I felt disturbed by it.


-Teresa 2014-09-11 8:49:05

I had a dream about a baby elephant and would love to get a responce or a thought on what it might mean. I was in the middle of a forest it was cloudy and misty at the same time. Both the baby elephant and I were attached to these climbing ropes while going up this tall tree (like the ones in red woods California). The baby elephant was climbing up the tree ahead of me and we were both very excited and fond of each other, we were having fun. But our happiness and joy soon turned into an uncomfortable situation. The elephant started pushing himself up higher, to where I couldn’t see it anymore. In concern, I started climbing up faster and by the time I got there it was sitting on a branch almost freezing of cold. I quickly started to warm it up by hugging it. The scene then changes, im at a talk show telling them my experience. I remember feeling like the elephant was so important to me because my “son” (that I do not have in real life) would be devastated if I had not come back home with it… what does it mean?


    -Tony Crisp 2014-09-17 7:24:59

    Teresa – A great dream, and one I explored to see if I can make sense of it for you.

    The forest represents a state of mind in which you have relaxed your everyday concerns and are immersed in the deeper levels of yourself – your awareness. It is your natural state of existence and right on the edge of what you know about yourself. In other words you are looking beyond your personal experience and seeing a wider view – your unconscious.

    The baby elephant is your enormous potential that you still need to grow to reach your full power. And the tree is what you have achieved so far in your personal growth – quite a ‘tree’ you have. The tree also shows what you have grown from, your forebears and your inner inheritance.

    So climbing the tree shows you are exploring the upper reaches of your potential. The baby goes quickly ahead because it is uncovering what it knows about itself/yourself. But it gets to a point where it is too young to meet the hard climb – it/you like an Everest climber needs more experience and growth.

    Then the change in scene is I believe a look into your possible future in which you are telling a wider public about what you have realised about your personal experiences.

    The son is yet another aspect of you, and probably represents a young and growing part that is active in the world that you are proud of.

    I suggest you read http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/questions-2/#Summing and http://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/acting-on-your-dream/#BeingPerson



-Maggie 2014-09-17 10:47:10

Hello! I just dreamt about a ton of dead elephants laying all over the water by the river. I was poking them with a long stick and throwing them I to the water. I was watching them float away, dead. Afraid
Someone would see them. I was in charge of hiding there bodies. I was crying and didn’t feel good about this at all. I could feel the stick poking through there skin, and I did NOT like the feeling. I was crying and very upset I was put in this position. I remember watching one float away with his trunk in there almost in like a pose. And being amazed. Soooo strange this dream. I woke up so sad and irritated and wanting to cry. What do you think?


-Lila Hofmann 2014-09-17 12:23:22

I didn’t have the dream, my husband did. He dreamt about a giant elephant that was hanging out on the loading ramp of his business. The elephant defecated, then proceeded to step in its dung and make a mess. At this point my husband briefly woke up, told me the dream and promptly went back to sleep. I know in the most general sense dreams about defecation are related to money, but I’m curious as to how the elephant is tied in.


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