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



-J 2018-06-20 11:41:38

I posted about my dream a few days ago and I’ve returned every day since to see if Tony Crisp would offer an interpretation of it and now it’s been deleted? Why?

    -Tony Crisp 2018-06-21 10:08:08

    J – I saw that somehow it was deleted, but set it back in place yesterday, and replied to it. Hope you find it.

    I cannot keep up with answering so many quickly, partly because there is so much alterations I do on the site, but I do try to answer as many as I can. I am 81 now and so slowing up.


-J 2018-06-17 15:14:34

Last night I dreamt that I was walking on a ridge between two oceans. The ocean to my left was dark grey almost black and rough ominous waves and the ocean to my right had shallow entry and was warmer and lighter grey almost blue and I there were children and families playing in it and I could see ocean life in it too. As I walked on the narrow ridge I saw a hole in the sand that was on the side of the dark ocean and it looked like a tide pool and there was a tiny elephant inside it and it was stuck and couldn’t get out and looked exhausted and distressed. It was about the size of a house cat and was the same color as the dark ocean and had an injury on its back which was dried blood. I decided to save it but thought it needed food and water first and would be ok until I collected those things. I stepped into the warmer ocean to my right and scooped up two fish into each hand. An orange and black fish in my right hand and a grey and black fish in my left and I felt them wriggling against my palms. I walked back to the hole with the elephant and there was a man with his young son observing the elephant and the father was explaining to his son that the elephant had somehow gotten lost and hurt and needed rescuing and I said to them yes I’ve got food for it and I’ll help it. So I fed the fish to the elephant and it hungrily are them and I pulled it out and cuddled it in my arms and it began purring like a cat. I then brought it to a building where my family was working. It looked like a house that was turned into an office building. After giving the elephant water I decided to bath the elephant and let it rest and because I don’t have a good relationship with my family I knew I had to keep the elephant hidden or they’d take it from me and hurt it. I kept thinking I had to keep its ears dry in the tub and kept imagining it dying in my care and I was extremely worried that it would so I tried to be very careful in the tub. When I pulled it from my arms and placed it into the tub it became extremely small to about the size of my thumb and I had to take care not bathe it too hard and not to let it drown. When I applied soap and water and rinsesd it off the dark grey color washed off and it became the light color of the warmer lighter ocean and had pink skin showing through the light grey. It looked much happier as I dried it off and when I held it close to me again it grew back to the size of a cat and began purring again and I knew it would be ok. I’ve never had a dream like this ever. What could this mean?

    -Tony Crisp 2018-06-20 14:30:30

    J – In the first place we are all dual in nature, your two sides of the ridge. We exist strung between enormous duality – sleep and waking, male and female, pain and pleasure, light and darkness, life and death, and death and resurrection, war and peace, matter and anti-matter, consciousness and unconsciousness, negative and positive, the void and bodily existence. To be whole we need to accept and meet these opposites. In the pursuit of well being we need to recognise that we must integrate both sides to become whole.

    The grey side most likely represent the side of your nature that you have been less aware of, your unconscious. The term unconscious must be taken to represent many functions and aspects of self, rather than something we can neatly define. Therefore, we might think of the term as being like the word BODY, which means a whole spectrum of organs, functions, chemical processes, neurological events, systems, cell activities, as well as ones experience of these.

    So you get a glimpse of this grey area and see a tiny and injured elephant. Such symbols must not be mistaken for what they appear to be but represent important functions in us. For we collect information at an enormous rate, millions of bits every second, but unfortunately we do not synthesis it to see what it means.

    You dream suggests that you have learnt recently to become more aware of this duality, and that has led to see that an important part of you has not been cared for, but you have started caring. This may link with attitudes your family has about a non working scene. It seems that the house turned into an office sums up their attitude.

    We all have an inner world that is quite distinct from the outer world we encounter with our physical senses. Every thought you have, every emotion. Every belief you hold on to, every fantasy, dream or creative imagination is creating your inner world. The grey ocean is most likely your inner world. Your inner world is also all your convictions, fears, beliefs and abilities and failings. Mostly people do not recognise they have an inner world because they are so focussed on the outer world, what they call the ‘real world’ – yet it is their inner world that forces them to see the outer world in a particular way.

    The attention you gave to the tiny elephant changed it; it had been so small you were hardly aware of it, “it was about the size of my thumb and I had to take care not bathe it too hard and not to let it drown. When I applied soap and water and rinsed it off the dark grey color washed off and it became the light color of the warmer lighter ocean.”

    There is so much more – the catching of the fish – but I feel the most important is the work you are doing on your inner life, and so be aware of your families influence and the damage it has done and must be doing to them.

-Janet 2018-06-09 19:40:11

I had a dream last night about a few grey elephants in a forest or a green field that was hilly. The elephants were hurt and bleeding and I was trying to help them and comfort them and keep them alive. None of them died as I recalled. They were smaller elephants but bigger than me. small enough for me to lay down and hold them and I stayed with them to make sure that whoever hurt them wouldn’t be back to hurt them again. But I felt for them, I was crying for them. I was very upset that they were hurt and I just wanted them to be ok. The rest was vague, we had to hide from whoever did that to them. But in the end I remember seeing a white tiny elephant walk around them towards me. Like a ghostly/misty white color almost mistical looking. And it was tiny, maybe as tall as my knees. That’s all I remember from the dream

    -Tony Crisp 2018-06-11 9:54:54

    Janet – When we dream we enter a real virtual reality world that is an attempt to communicate something to our personality. Perhaps you didn’t realise that as humans we live in two very different dimensions. The one most people identify with is the three dimensional physical world of the body. There are a lot of rules to learn in this world; when very young we learn not to touch hot things; not to rush out into a road with moving cars. But as adults we have learnt not to step out into space while at a height because we will fall and have a major injury or die.

    The second dimension is totally different and is experienced in dreams or deep mental activity. It will surprise many people to realise that in this dimension you have no physical body – the body died – although most people are so locked into thinking that their reality is their body, that they create a body image of themselves. In fact they create images all the time because they feel safe using images of things they know. But the images are a mask behind which real life exists in wonder. Because all the images, the people, animals, places we see in our dreams, are simply your own feelings, fears, hopes and wonder projected onto the screen of your sleeping mind as images.

    If you could see your dream as I see it, you would realise that you are just waking up to taking care of a primal and enormous energy that in the past you have ignored to the point of injuring – the elephants. You were crying partly because you were blind to what you have done to them, but also because you are truly sorry for their suffering. So please read https://dreamhawk.com/dream-encyclopedia/brain-levels-and-dreams/#mammalbrain

    Of course most of us are raised to be blind or even repulsed by knowing their own animal heritage. Your dream animal can portray your relationship with the fundamental life processes in you. Dreams depict these processes as intelligent and responsive, not just as chemical actions and reactions as modern medicine so often does. Therefore your conscious attitudes influence these fundamental living processes in you – processes that maintain health, digestion, beats your heart, rebuild damage and fight infection. Negative feelings or attitudes can cause these ‘animals’ is you to despair or lose motivation, and thus lead you to depression or illness.

    Remember that in looking at the animal in your dreams you are yourself an animal, a living mammal. You as a person are a tiny spark of consciousness, a little bit of self awareness riding an incredibly ancient animal you call your body. Remember that your body has formed from cells and genetic information that has gradually developed over millions of years. It holds that information in it unconsciously. No plant or creature grows from a dead seed, and each living seed carries within it all the past gathered from all its forebears. So, the seed in your mother’s womb is as old as and even older than human kind, and you carry that wisdom or memories in you. But in this life you developed a new brain, and the memories you gathered this time are what you built your personality from, but beneath that is a very ancient self.

    The animal in your dreams depicts this ancient wisdom and how you relate to it. It shows you how you are dealing with the urges in you that are natural, but might need to be helped into modern life or transformed in some way, not killed out, maimed or tortured.

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