Links of the site are right at the bottom of the page)
Some of the links for the 197 pages in this Totem Animals section
are below. For the rest please go HERE
*Lady Stearn Robinson & Tom Gorbett/The Dreamer's Dictionary:
These big animals if in a normal friendly mood are an omen of
great good luck. Performing they
signify helpful friends and/or associates. Working, they indicate
assured success in all your
undertakings. If you fed it, watered it, rode, or sat on it,
you may expect a sudden rise of status or
other improvement through a sheer lucky break or the discovery
or return of something you
thought irretrievable. Even the adverse aspect of this beast,
which is if it frightened or attacked
you, isn't really dreary, as it signifies annoying but temporary
obstacles to your progress.
*Zolar/Encyclopedia of Signs, Omens, and Superstitions:
Because of its size, the elephant is often used as a good luck
charm. Elephants are said to mate at
night and in hiding. They rejoin the herd only after purifying
themselves in the river water. When
they are ready to die, they are said to leave the herd and to
go to an unknown place at which their
ancestors are buried.
In Africa rings or bracelets made from elephant hair are said
to keep away evil spells. In the
United States, the elephant has become a symbol for the Republican
party. This was due to
publication of a cartoon by Thomas Nast in 1874; it carried
the caption "Republican Votes"
under a picture of an elephant.
It is said that flies who bother elephants are killed when the
elephants fold their skin.
*Barbara G. Walker/The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets:
The totem of Shiva, who took the form of the elephant and also
of the god who killed the
elephant. After dispatching his victim, Shiva put on the elephant's
skin and turned himself
elephantine, while "watched by the Goddess-spouse."
In the erotic poem Song of the Cowherd,
the god was incarnated as Krishna and the Goddess-spouse as
his sexually insatiable consort
Radha, "She-Elephant." Radha was named for an elephant
because elephants were common
symbols of the most powerful sexual energies. The Kama Sutra
designated "elephant men" and
"elephant women" those with the largest genitals and
most voracious sexual appetites. Yed
Radha was entirely human, described as Woman, "the object
of devotion to which even God, the
Creator himself, bows down."
A male elephant was often given the title of Begetter, or Father,
or Grandfather. Budddha was
begotten of the virgin Maya by the elephant god under his title
of Ganesha, "Lord of Hosts,"
most probably derived from the use of elephants in warfare.
Every history student knows North
African war leaders considered the magic of elephants so essential
to victory that the
Carthaginian general Hannibal insisted on trying to take them
over the Alps to attack Rome from
the north--a disastrous tactical misjudgment, resulting in the
loss of all his elephants and his war
The elephant-god "Lord of Hosts" had a flourishing
worship in North Africa and Egypt, which is
why this same title was taken by the biblical Yahweh, who was
identified with the elephant god
at his sacred city of Elephantine during the 5th century B.C.
Jewish mercenary soldiers stationed
there insisted that their god was the same as the elephant mate
of the Virgin Mother Neith, or
Anath; the tow of them were totemized as Cow and Bull Elephant
at what was then called the
source of the Nile. Elephants were worshipped as sexual-symbolic
deities in Egypt from an early
date. Totem standards showing elephants, and artifacts of elephant
ivory, appeared in predynastic
Judeo-Christian scholars tended to ignore Yahweh's involvement
in the elephant cult because, as
Hooke says, "it is naturally repugnant to most people (i.e.,
men) to entertain the suggestion that
Jahveh could ever have been thought of as possessing a female
consort like all the Baals of
Canaan"; and for no more reason than this allegedly natural
repugnance, evidence of the sacred
marriage at Elephantine was suppressed. Yet the same author
admitted that Jahveh was once one
of the very same Baals, and even addressed as Baal in the Bible.
A curious parallel to the Flight into Egypt of Yahweh's son
is found in Buddhist iconography.
The Virgin Mother was shown riding a white bull, led by Shiva
in the costume of a peasant,
holding in her arms the elephant-headed Divine Child, the reborn
Ganesha. Possibly the original
Egyptian version of this reborn god entered the Bible under
the name of Behemoth, who became
an elephant-headed demon in the later mythology of western Europe.
The elephant still symbolizes the sacred marriage in a Buddhist
fertility ritual. Monks lead a
painted white elephant in solemn procession, attended by men
wearing women's clothes and
making salacious jokes. "Through this ritualistic female
disguise they do honor the cosmic
female principle, the maternal, procreative, feeding energy
of nature, and by the ritualistic
utterance of licentious language stimulate the dormant sexual
energy of the living power." The
same transvestism and lewd language can be found in fertility
rituals the world over.
*Denise Linn/The Secret Language of Signs:
The elephant is a sign for power. This can be either gentle,
loving power or angry, destructive
power. The powerful Hindu elephant god Ganesha was the remover
of obstacles. You have all
the inner strength and power that you need to remove obstacles
from your life.
It is said that an elephant never forgets. Is there something
in your life that you need to
remember? Or perhaps the elephant is a gentle reminder not to
When someone is thick-skinned, it means that they are slow to
take offense at the small
irritations in life. The thick-skinned elephant is a reminder
to let things roll off your back. Life is
too short for you to be concerned with petty matters. Or perhaps
you need to be more sensitive to
your own feelings and those of the people you care about.
*Timothy Roderick/The Once Unknown Familiar:
Key Words: Justice-oriented, people-loving, dominant
Magical Influences: Longevity, memory enhancement, restful sleep,
Personality: Elephants are wonderful individuals. They are just
in their dealings and can't stand
situations of imbalance. They will go out of their way to correct
an out-of-kilter situation. they
are take-charge individuals and frequently take positions of
leadership either in their field of
work or in their community. They love politics and, understandably,
are often elected to public
*Mary Summer Rain/On Dreams:
Elephant stands for a generous and gregarious nature.
*D.J. Conway/Animal Magick:
Elephants are the largest and most powerful land animals alive.
There is one Asiatic or Indian
species, and one in Africa. They are huge, with a thick gray
hide, leathery and tough. They have
massive heads, a long rope-like tail, small eyes, large fan-like
ears, and ivory tusks. An elephant
may weigh from 3-4 tons, with the average life span at 80 years.
The Indian elephant has a high domed forehead, moderate sized
ears, a concave forehead, for-5
nails on each hind foot; the tip of the trunk has one finger-like
protuberance. The African
elephant does not have a domed head, but has large, broad ears,
an arched forehead, and three
nails on the hind foot; the tip of the trunk has two finger-like
Because of the slaughter for their ivory, the elephant stands
in danger of becoming extinct.
Although they have an acute sense of smell, elephants possess
only fair hearing and poor
eyesight. They are very intelligent and keep learning all their
In Africa, the elephant is found in areas where there is sufficient
water and trees for food. The
Asiatic elephant lives in India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Indo-China,
and the Malay Peninsula. After
the cow, the elephant is the most venerated animal of the Hindu
The rulers of India trained and used the elephant in war. In
280 B.C.E. King Pyrrhus waged the
first war using elephants against the Romans. Hannibal employed
them in the battle between
Rome and Carthage in 218 B.C.E.
Sometimes a "white" (really a slate-gray color) Asiatic
elephant is found; it is especially sacred
and is usually presented to the ruler of the area or to a temple.
In the East, the white elephant is
said to bring extremely good fortune.
The Hindu god Ganesha (Lord of Hosts) has the head of an elephant
and is very popular with
people as the god of removing obstacles. The god Indra rides
a white elephant whose name is
Airavata. sometimes the deity Shiva wears an elephant skin.
Krishna, whose highly sexed wife
was Radha ("She-Elephant"), could assume an elephant
form also. To the Hindu people, the
elephant symbolizes royalty, intelligence, might. long life,
sexual prowess, and the strength of
the sacred wisdom.
The Buddhists class the elephant with the dove of peace, saying
it represents wisdom, strength,
prudence, and sovereignty. In Buddhist fertility rituals, the
elephant is the symbol of the Sacred
Marriage. The Chinese Buddhist deity P'u Hsien was said to ride
a white elephant.
The Greek Dionysus and the Roman Bacchus were sometimes pictured
as riding in a chariot
drawn by elephants. In this aspect, the animal represented victory
over death, immortality, and
The symbolism of powerful magick in the elephant extended to
its ivory, particularly in the
Middle Ages. The hero Roland was said to have a war horn made
of such ivory; it was called an
Superstitions: The folk saying of a "white elephant"
originally meant something of great spiritual
value; no it has come to mean an object that has no practical
use and is expensive to keep. The
white elephant booth by P.T. Barnum to exhibit in his circus
cost him $200,000.00 just to get it
to New York. Elephants never forget. Elephants don't have the
fantastic memory with which they
are credited, although they are intelligent. Elephants only
get pregnant once and live for 300
years. Elephants are afraid of mice.
Magickal Attributes: Removal of obstacles and barriers. Always
being willing to learn new
things. Building confidence. Patience and confidence to tackle
a new job, schooling, or learning situation.
*Patricia Telesco/The Language of Dreams:
Elephants exhibit many positive attributes, including affection
and loyalty. Consider how much
of both you have given to yourself, or to those around you,
and vice versa.
These creatures also have a strong sense of smell that affords
discernment. How does your
present situation smell? Is something amiss?
An affinity for nature worship. According to Pliny, this creature
worships the sun and stars, and
invokes the heavens. In ancient Rome, this image appeared on
coins representing the power of
charity. Does someone around you have a need that you've overlooked?
Among Hindus, the
elephant symbolizes wisdom. Ganesha, the god of sagacity, is
an elephant, often portrayed
Buddhists regard the white elephant as emblematic of compassion,
love, kindness, self-restraint,
and patient endurance, revealing the emergence of such positive
traits within you. Note,
however, that Western society transforms this image's meaning
to that of useless decoration (e.g.,
a "white elephant sale"), which might reflect a lack
of self-worth or feeling ineffectual in a
Chinese: Prudence and independent authority over self, others,
or a situation. Don't be afraid to
In modern aphorisms, a pink elephant represents being deluded
by your own senses. Such
delusion usually comes by your own hand (as happens when one
drinks too much alcohol).
If the United States is Turtle Island, a continent supported
on the back of a turtle, then India
would be Elephant Island, a continent supported on the back
of an elephant. Throughout the
centuries, Indian tradition dictated that all royalty, the rulers
of the land, be borne on the backs of
the children of the great beast that carried the world through
The elephant was the totem animal of the god Shiva, the Destroyer,
who seeks to banish illusion
and to encourage a clearer perception of reality. Shiva and
his goddess-spouse, Radha, produced
among their children the elephant-headed god Ganesha, who as
Lord of Hosts, impregnated the
virgin Maya to bring Buddha into flesh.
Especially sacred in India was the white elephant, considered
far too priceless to be used for
work or warfare, but to be maintained by its owner in the finest
of style. When we speak today of
a "white elephant" purchase, we have realized too
late that we have purchased an object at a
price that exceeds its true value.
Sometimes seen as a symbol of great sexual prowess in the Asian
countries, the Chinese portray
the elephant as representative of royalty, strength of purpose,
In the widest, most universal, and most obvious depiction of
the elephant, it is a symbol of
strength. At various times in Medieval Europe, the elephant
also became an emblem of wisdom,
moderation, and eternity. Then, accomplishing a complete change
of cosmology, there appeared
the elephant-headed demon, Behemoth, a favorite in Dark Side
If you have accepted the elephant as your totem animal, it may
not be long before you are asked
to assume a role of great responsibility in the workplace or
in your community. If you feel
attracted to the elephant as a totem animal, it is likely that
you are involved in social work, public
service, or politics. You may also feel a strong commitment
to caring for the ill, the very young,
and the elderly. Whenever you sense an injustice, you will be
there on the side of the underdog.
As your spirit helper, the elephant will be able to draw you
back to a greater appreciation for the
ancient mysteries than you have previously experienced. You
will soon discover that your guide
is extremely concerned about your maintaining always a solid
balance of body, mind, and spirit.
Under the tutelage of this spirit helper, you will place your
time in the Silence as your top
priority. You might find yourself wishing to burn some incense
while you are meditating with
this totem animal in order to help create an environment in
which exploration of other higher
levels of consciousness will be the rule, rather than the exception.
Keynote: Ancient Power, Strength, Royalty
Cycle of Power: Year-round
The elephant is the largest living land mammal. Although not
native to this continent, I have
included it because I have encountered a number of people to
whom it has become a significant
totem. It has an ancient ancestry in the mammoths. There are
two types still in existence, the
Indian and the African. The African is larger and the shape
of the ears differ.
The elephant has a tremendous amount of myth and lore surrounding
it. Of all elephants, the
white elephant is considered the most sacred. This is similar
to the sacredness often reflected in
Native American traditions associated with the white buffalo.
It is said that mothers of great
teachers and masters will dream of white elephants. One story
of Buddha's mother tells how she
dreamt a white elephant had entered her womb.
In India and southeast Asia elephants are venerated, and the
symbolism of the elephant is
multiple. It is a symbol of royalty and fertility. The Hindu
god of wisdom and success, Ganesha,
is usually depicted with an elephant's head. The god Indra held
several roles in which an elephant
played a part. As the king of gods, the elephant was the royal
mount. As the god of warriors, the
elephant was Indra's super weapon. As the god of rain, Indra
used the gray elephant to bring
forth the monsoons.
The elephant is both strange and terrifying to those unfamiliar
with it. Much of what the average
person believes about elephants is fallacy. Mice do not scare
them. They respond to the sound,
not the movement of a mouse. Although they do have good memories,
the idea that an elephant
never forgets is misunderstood. It actually refers to never
forgetting someone who has caused
injury. They have been known to seek revenge if the opportunity
presented itself. There also are
no elephant graveyards, special places where elephants go to
die. These tales are very mystical
and symbolic. Elephants do show interest in the dead and the
dying, even going so far as to
The elephant has a most auspicious symbolism. They embody strength
and power, especially
power of the libido. Male elephants are most likely to rage
out of control when in rut. Because of
this the elephant is seen as a symbol of great sexual power.
Because of their size, color, and shape, elephants and clouds
have been linked together. They
were seen as symbols of clouds, and many believed that elephants
created clouds. Those with an
elephant totem should study the symbolism and significance of
clouds. In general, they are
symbols of the mist that separates the formed worlds from the
unformed. They have been
associated with Neptune, prophecy, fertility, and even family.
Because they are always in a state
of metamorphosis, they can reflect the same for those with the
On several occasions in the past, I have participated during
the summer in psychic events that
were held outdoors. On these occasions for a change of pace,
I did "cloud readings," using the
cloud formations to stimulate the psychic energies. I would
hold the individual's hand, and look
up into the sky and then talk about what I saw in the cloud
formations and how it reflected in the
individual's life. It is fun and can be a nice change of pace.
On every occasion I have done this,
one of the first things I would see is a cloud formation shaped
like an elephant. It would be years
before I understood the connection.
One of the most outstanding features of the elephant is its
trunk. Because the elephant has
relatively poor eyesight, it relies heavily upon its sense of
smell. it breathes smells in through the
trunk and discerns from the smells. The sense of smell is a
long time symbol for higher forms of
discrimination. Those with an elephant totem should pay attention
to what smells good and what
smells bad. Are you not discriminating as you should? Are others?
Does something smell funny?
Are you not responding, even though things don't smell right?
For those with an elephant totem, working with incense and fragrant
oil can be a powerful and
effective tool. Aromatherapy should be studied and used. Oils
and fragrances will enable you to
shift your consciousness most effectively. The sense of smell
is also strongly connected to sexual
drive. It is one of the most powerful stimulants. Smells may
become an aphrodisiac for those
with this totem. It can be a powerful means of seducing or being
seduced. This further enhances
the symbol of the elephant as a sexual symbol.
The trunk is very versatile, and it is used for drinking, showering,
and defense. Elephants even
greet by touching trunks. The trunk has two fingerlike extensions.
This specialized nose and
upper lip combination makes it work almost like a hand. With
it they can feed upon twigs,
leaves, and grasses that it would not otherwise have been able
to reach. Again it reflects that
through the increased sensitivity of smell that the elephant
stimulates, you can open to energies
and worlds otherwise un-accessible.
The tusks are another important part of the elephant. Unfortunately,
poachers kill an outrageous
number of African elephants, simply to cut off the tusks of
ivory. For anyone with an elephant
totem, the significance of ivory from a spiritual and metaphysical
aspect should be examined.
The tusks are used as weapons and tools for digging edible roots.
This gives the elephant links to
things beneath and above the earth---a knowledge of plants and
The elephant society is divided by age and gender. Cows and
calves live in all female herds, led
by a wise old cow. This reflects the ancient tradition of three
forms of the feminine energies in
life---the child, the mother, and the old wise woman. These
three forms have been found in most
societies in which mystery teachings of live and the universe
Bulls occasionally join the female herds. This is usually just
for mating. The rest of the time they
usually live in bachelor herds which are run by an older tougher
bull. Again this has been
duplicated in many societies around the world. Both men and
women had their societies and their
sacred teachings about elephants.
Elephants show great affection and loyalty to each other. Older
calves will help younger siblings.
Grown elephants will help sick or wounded comrades. In the elephant
are the ideals of true
Those who have the elephant as a totem will usually find themselves
in a position where the
opportunity to reestablish powerful family and societal ideals
will occur. Mutual care of the
young, respect for the elderly and the sick, being strong in
your own self--these are the
foundations of a great person or a great society. If the elephant
has come to you, you will have
the opportunity to work toward establishing this within your
own life or the lives of others. If
elephant has come to you, prepare to draw upon the most ancient
of wisdom and power. You will
have an opportunity to either help yourself or others reclaim
your most primordial royalty.
*Note: The gestation period of an elephant is 18 months and
it will take that long for plans set in
motion to be given birth. Staying with the mother and herd is
a lifelong journey rising in rank
according to age, so the work you do will be following that
pattern as it matures.
(((Cinn))) Wonderful stuff! There is so much great information
here and the things about
elephant as totem fit me in so many ways. I come from a strong
matriarchal family on both sides
and taking care of young and old family members has been a repeated
pattern through my whole
life. Elephant gestation certainly means learning patience!
I mean, it took me till I was 38 to find
the right man and I'm still looking for the right career/job.
Yep, Elephant life journeys take a
LONG time to gestate!
The working with scents is very interesting since just recently
I was shown three sprigs of
lavender. I seem to think I have a stick of lavender incense
somewhere. I must try it.
Here's what I can add about Ganesha. I've known him since I
was a teenager and I love him a
lot. Ganesha or Ganapati is an extremely popular God in India.
He is called Vighneshvara or
Vighnaharta, the Lord of and destroyer of obstacles. People
mostly worship Him asking for
siddhi, success in undertakings, and Buddhi, intelligence. He
is worshipped before any venture is
started. He is also the God of education, knowledge and wisdom,
literature, and the fine arts. In
reality, He is Brahman.
Of course, there are several esoteric meanings to having an
elephant head. An elephant is
strong, but always calm. It is the one of the few animals which
is self-aware and even has rituals
for funerals. Despite its strength, it is vegetarian. Hinduism
allows for animals to be worshipped,
because essentially everything is Divine. We should see Divinity
in every living being. gajavaktra
has an inner meaning also, gao is sound and ja is to be born.
Thus, gajavaktra is one who is
born from sound. Another derivation is ga is goal and ja is
origin. Thus, Ganesha is the origin
and goal of life.
I first saw Ganesha when my art class took us to a Hindu temple.
I thought he was marvelous as
I'd always liked elephants. I used to draw them when I was really
young. That was before I could
read or write so I'd get my mom to write "Elephant"
on the top of these blobs with trunks. In art
class he was one of my first oil paintings. I wanted to paint
him holding all the religious symbols
of all the main religions as a sign of how we are all one, but
my art teacher freaked and wouldn't
When I got on a plane to go to Scotland and meet my husband
for the first time someone had left
a magazine lying open on my seat. It was a travel magazine and
the photo was Ganesha. Below
it was written "A journey of a thousand miles starts with
one step." So very true. I want to add
something about Ganesha's mouse. I was told by my Hindu friends
that the Mouse at Ganesha's
feet is there to remind us that all of creation is important
- no matter how big (elephant) or small
Here's some other nice stories about the Mouse symbolism from
the same website I quoted
We see a mouse as his consort and his large ears. Let us examine
mouse closely. Mouse
in English is derived from the sanskrit word, muushhaka. What
is the name of pure gold in
Hindi/Sanskrit ? muushha. The crucible for melting gold ? muushh.
Thus, the mouse is the gold
which lies and has to be awakened.
Why does it awaken ? When it smells the sweet modhaka (which
is the amrit on the sahasra), it
will not stop at any obtacle and gnaw its way through to the
top. When man eats the modhaka,
but once, he will be hooked. Even if it is taken away from him
by the senses, he will become like
the rat and gnaw his way to get the modhaka permanently. Ganesha
sits on the mouse. Ganesha
is the Lord of the muladhaara chakra. When the rat starts gnawing,
it will gnaw through the
knots in the consciousness and eat away all the knots until
the Kundalini shakti can reach the top
Thanks for the contribution, Crow! I'm glad you see new things
in what I was able to share too.
There's a lot we can all share on our Totems and hopefully we'll
get some good discussions
going. It's good to see you find so many traits fitting you.
Here's a great website on elephants. Facts, myths and legends:
elephant I never knew there was
a legend that white elephants used to have wings. Wow, flying
elephants! What a thought.
http://www.sayahda.com/cyc2.html (no longer available)
Throughout history elephants have been prized for their power
and strength. They are extremely
intelligence and honored by many cultures. Elephants are the
largest land animals and among the
longest lived, with life spans of 60 years or more. According
to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha
chose the form of a white elephant as one of his many incarnations
and the rare appearance of a
white elephant is still heralded as a manifestation of the gods.
The Hindu god Ganesh, the
remover of obstacles, is depicted with the head of an elephant.
Despite their great weight elephants walk almost noiselessly.
Their stride is exceptionally
graceful and rhythmic. Their hearing, smell, taste and touch
is acute. This compensates for their
poor eyesight. Their eyes are small in relation to the enormous
head, which can only turn slightly
from side to side. This limited movement results in restricted
side vision. Those with this
medicine feel things deeply and respond to those feelings from
a place of inner knowing.
Because their peripheral vision is limited they have a tendency
to look straight ahead and not
always see what is around them. Learning to shift ones focus
to encompass the whole is helpful.
Loyal and affectionate elephants are willing to risk their life
for the sake of others in a family
group. Wild elephants have been known to grieve and even shed
tears over the death of a family
member. They have excellent memories and when mistreated they
often seek revenge.
Elephants have a total of four teeth, all molars. The first
pair of molars is located toward the front
of the mouth. When they wear down, they drop out and the two
molars in the back shift forward.
Two new molars emerge in the back of the mouth to replace those
that have moved forward.
Elephants replace back molars six times throughout their life.
When the last set wear out, they
are unable to chew and die of starvation.
Teeth have great symbolism. They are considered receivers and
transmitters of energy linked by
connecting paths throughout the astral body. Because the elephant
is highly intelligent those with
this totem make excellent researchers and alternative scientists.
The complex study of numbers,
energy meridians and the tie in between the physical brain,
the teeth locations, and the major and
minor head chakras is fascinating as well as beneficial.
Elephant tusks point backwards and are used as weapons and for
digging edible roots. From a
spiritual point of view this suggests an ability to uncover
the secrets left behind you and bring
them to the consciousness for evaluation and healing.
This beautiful creature hold the teachings of compassion, loyalty,
discernment and power to name a few. If this is your medicine
these virtues are a part of your
natural character. By applying these gifts in your life soul
evolution is achieved.
Thank you BIM!
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