Elephant Symbolism (7 Meanings) – Dreams & Spirit Animals

Elephants are some of the most ancient creatures on our planet. For thousands of years, they’ve accompanied human beings and co-existed with them. Many cultures around the world admired this species and developed their own elephant symbolism meanings.

In many instances, an elephant is seen as a bringer of good luck. Many cultures were not able to see an elephant up until the 16th century – such as the Japanese. Nonetheless, many African cultures see the elephant as a symbol of royalty, power, wisdom, and success. Some even see it as a sacred animal.

Because they’re so big, they also symbolize strength and virility. These animals also take the “family-first” approach, so they’re symbolic of the importance of family. As a spirit animal, the elephant teaches you to form closer ties with your family members and be more connected with them. It also encourages mental hardiness and determination.

Elephant Symbolism

> This article is from our A-Z series on animal symbolism.


Elephant Symbolism and Meaning

Here’s what elephants symbolize.

1. Good Luck

In some past cultures, especially in Africa and Asia, elephants were often seen as symbols of good luck. They were thought to bring good luck to those who spotted an elephant, although many cultures even hunted elephants.

This behavior is often seen today – which is why elephants are endangered. In 2012, the Sumatran elephant became endangered because of the loss of habitat, but also because elephants are often hunted by opportunists who look to sell elephant parts for big profits. It’s rather sad to see such a great animal become endangered because of our greed.

Even today though, elephants are symbols of good luck for many. Some cultures don’t hunt them because of that – while others do it regardless. To them, they bring good luck in terms of the profits they get from hunting them down.

2. Royalty

For quite some time now, elephants are perceived as royal animals. When the colonizers came to parts of Africa and Asia, they were immediately impressed by elephants. Not many of them had seen such an animal before, so they were stunned by its greatness.

And its size and powerful dominance became a trait that was often connected to royalty. Some royal families even adopted these animals to their courts, as they sought to have some of that greatness at home. Similarly, Ancient Egyptians viewed elephants as royal animals and these animals were greatly revered in their culture.

In some Eastern countries, elephants were used to carry royals. This was meant to show off their status and their power level in their society. That’s why elephants were always viewed positively by many royal societies around the world.

3. Power

The elephant is the biggest mammal species in the world. Their size alone commands a lot of respect from other animals. Not many other species dare to take them on as their opponents. Even though they are relatively pacifistic by nature, they still command a lot of respect.

That’s why they’ve become a symbol of power. As mentioned above, many cultures and civilizations perceived this animal as their symbol as it portrayed their power and greatness. The elephant is the undisputed king of its territory and is feared by many ferocious animals such as lions, even.

4. Family

Elephants have a very strong matriarchal social structure. The mother is believed to be the leader of the family. But even males respect the female dominance in their structure, although they’re still sometimes seen as providers for their offspring, and their primary role is to protect them.

However, it’s the mother that leads the family. Overall, elephants mostly stick together with their family. They’ll rarely wander around on their own, and the elephant baby is almost always followed by its mother that seeks to protect it.

That’s why the elephant symbolism and the elephant spirit animal leads you to form closer ties with your family. It encourages you to trust them more and try and improve your relationships with them.

5. Strength

Because of their imposing size, elephants have also become symbols of strength and even virility. It is still undoubtedly the leader of its territory. However, its territory is getting shrunk each year due to severe forest cuts as well as due to hunting.

This graceful animal is and was one of the most respected animals in the world. Elephants are right at the top of the food chain in their habitat, along with lions – which do sometimes hunt the elephants down – but only when they’re in packs.

Additionally, they are one of the heaviest animals in the world. Some species will weigh several tonnes – up to 6 tonnes. There’s no wonder why we have the saying “an elephant in the room” for someone who doesn’t fit in a particular setting.

6. Vitality

On average, elephants will reach an age of around 80 years old. This makes them one of the longest-living animals, and they’re relatively similar to human beings in that respect. They have a relatively healthy diet that consists of mostly plant-based foods. This helps them stay healthy.

Another symbol of vitality is its tusk. Elephants with stronger tusks are perceived to be healthy, and it’s also a symbol for other elephants that they should command more respect. That’s why many elephant hunters go for tusks, which are worth quite a lot when sold on the black market.

7. Determination

Pliny the Elder was one of the many people that noted that elephants had a strong character full of will. He said that it resembled the human character very closely. Each elephant has its own character and its own behavior patterns.

They’re perceived to be powerful animals not only in terms of their physical size but also because of their strong character. This makes them a formidable opponent for any other animal that might try to attack them, such as the lion. And the elephant symbolism can also encourage you to use the strength of your mind to overcome problems.

Elephant Spirit Animal

What does the elephant spirit animal teach you? If you have the elephant spirit animal, here’s what you need to know.

Firstly, it encourages you to create strong family ties and connect with your family members more. The elephant spirit animal is appropriate for those who value the importance of family and who know that forming close ties with them is important. It can also help you overcome problems with your family members and solve potential arguments.

Additionally, seek help from the elephant spirit animal when you need to feel important in your current circumstances. The elephant is a symbol of power, so you can seek advice from it when you need it to advance in your career, or when you need to deal with issues that you can resolve using this spirit animal.

Lastly, the elephant spirit animal encourages you to stay determined when you find yourself in difficult situations. These animals have been around for thousands of years and will survive for up to 80 years, thus showing you the way on how to overcome problems and live for longer.

Elephant Totem Animal

If you’re born with the elephant totem animal, then you respect the importance of accountability and reliability.

You’re also someone who respects their family members and puts a lot of importance on building excellent and strong family ties. You’re always prepared to help others, especially other family members, just like the elephant that will always look after fallen or injured comrades and help them out.

You have a strong power of will and are prepared to follow through on what you preach. You’re not afraid of other competitors and are prepared to look to your strengths rather than focusing on others too much.

Elephant Dreams Meanings

What does an elephant in dreams mean to you?

  • If you dream about an elephant, then it symbolizes a big problem you’re facing in your life, and you’re not able to find a solution for it.
  • Alternatively, dreaming about an elephant can bring you a feeling of importance and power when you need it. This dream might be telling you to use the power of your will to overcome a tough situation you’re currently facing.
  • Seeing an elephant pass you by in your dreams is a symbol of good luck. So this dream meaning is a positive one and you’re about to hit some luck in your life if you have this dream.
  • If you’re hunting an elephant in your dreams though, this can be a negative dream for you to have. It means that you’re acting in a self-destructive manner and that you might be endangering your goals with this behavior.


The elephant symbolism carries some important meanings that can inspire you. Elephants are the biggest mammal species in the world and as such, command a lot of respect from other animals. It’s a symbol of power and good luck, although sadly, their habitats are shrinking nowadays. You can count on the elephant spirit animal and totem animal for developing a determined mind.