The elephant and its significance

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Blog / Indien /

The elephant as a power animal

The meaning of elephants as a symbol is very versatile. In India, the elephant is considered sacred and many see it as their power animal.

India is one of the few countries where we can marvel at free-living elephants. However, we do not only encounter an elephant in nature, but ubiquitously as a figure or symbol made of wood and marble, on tapestries, pictures and postcards. The elephant is considered a lucky charm and a symbol of long life and health. The Hindu deity Ganesha, with an elephant head, is also the unbeaten favourite among the Indian gods.

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What is the meaning of the elephant?

If you travel to Asia, you will hardly be able to overlook the popularity of the elephant as a power animal and lucky charm. For Thai Buddhists, for example, the elephant symbolises luck, diligence and strength, but also intelligence, patience, kindness and devotion.

In many other cultures, too, the elephant is considered a power animal and a lucky charm. In Africa, for example, the elephant is a symbol of luck and long life, and in China it embodies astuteness, energy and sovereignty.

As a gift, the elephant is supposed to promise luck and success – important for such elephant figurines: the trunk must be pointing upwards.

In India, the elephant is considered sacred

For many Indians, the elephant is a symbol of divine benevolence and is therefore considered a lucky charm. Even today, elephants are dressed up for festivities in certain regions, such as in states in southern India: Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Andra Pradesh, and are an integral part of religious ceremonies. Some populations believe that elephants create the clouds.
Elephants have been worshipped in India for centuries. For long ago, Indian rulers were aware that their power could best be demonstrated on the backs of these majestic pachyderms. And so they presented themselves to their subjects on elephants adorned with gold jewellery.
The Indian elephant is also part of the aura of temples and great festivals are held in its honour, for example in Jaipur. The elephant-headed god Ganesha is asked for help by people before every great challenge, and anyone who wants to compliment a woman in India certifies that she walks like an elephant.

The elephant as a power animal

For many people, the elephant, or the sight of it, gives them strength, peace and serenity. The large thick-skinned animal with the big ears is a mighty, powerful and yet peaceful creature. Hardly anyone can escape the charm and profound gaze of an elephant. Anyone who has had direct contact with one or more elephants immediately establishes a spiritual relationship. If the elephant is happy, so are we. Anyone who sees a playing, trumpeting elephant with its trunk raised high immediately gets into a better mood.

Elephants have a strong sense of family

An elephant does not like to live alone. The large pachyderms live in families with close emotional ties. The family is led by a leading cow. Usually this is the oldest in the family, with the most life experience. Even though elephants are peace-loving, they can be very dangerous. Especially if their herd is in danger. Even if a companion has lost its way or is in distress, the gentle giants develop supernatural powers to come to the aid of their fellow elephants.

Elephants are very emotional

Towards their conspecifics, elephants are extremely tender, protective and deeply attached. If the herd loses a member, elephants feel sadness and seek contact with their lost relative even after a long time. However, elephants also feel (great) joy. When a new family member is born, the whole family is there to welcome him into the world. The gentle creatures feel the newborn with their long trunks, clean it and support it during its first attempts to walk. In doing so, they are extremely tender. With their trunks, which are made up of countless small muscles, they can gauge their strength very accurately.

Elephants have great stamina

An elephant does not live in one place, but calls vast areas home. In the wild, elephants travel thousands of kilometres to reach places they know for eating and drinking. Elephants are constantly on the move because they need an enormous amount of food and water. The lead cow leads the herd to the places she remembers and is thus responsible for the well-being of her family.

An elephant in your home

Fortunately, you won’t find a living elephant in your garden any more. Nevertheless, there are many ways in which you can bring figures, images and symbols of the big thick skinned animals into your home. Elephants are always welcome as decoration and brighten up the mood. For example, as a small figure on the bedside table, oriental wall decoration or as a piece of jewellery. This way you always have your power animal close to you and can let it support you in difficult times.

It is important that the elephant’s trunk always points upwards! This means that the elephant is happy and therefore also brings you luck. As a protective animal, the elephant’s trunk points downwards and its ears are laid back. This is how he presents himself when he fends off evil and protects his family.

If you’re looking for a tapestry with an elephant, take a look at our category. If you are also a big fan of mandalas, you will find great tapestries with elephant mandalas here. These designs combine the great animal with Indian art. The oriental mandala tells the story of the nomads of Rajasthan and their companions.

We donate for elephants

Did you know that we have adopted an elephant? With the Save Elephant Foundation initiative, we have a great partner for the protection of the gentle giants. The non-profit organisation is based in northern Thailand and offers elephants a new home. Many of the tusked inhabitants there were used as beasts of burden or tourist attractions and had a hard life behind them.

Founder Sangdeaun Lek Chailert is world-renowned for her commitment to the elephants and her deep love for them. If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact us!


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