Spirit Animal Elephant
Gifts: Quiet. Power of community. Commitment to the herd. Deep emotions. Moving forward. Regal presence. Deep listening. Matriarchy.
Challenges: Losing yourself in the herd. Getting stuck in emotions.
Elephants naturally fear very little. Their size makes them almost impervious to the threats of predators—except, of course, human predators who illegally kill an estimated 100 elephants every day. Young elephants are vulnerable to predators such as lions and hyenas. But the power of the herd usually protects the vulnerable members. The lesson for you is to find the right herd and commit to it. Give it your full trust—and equally commit to defending each member of the herd with your life. You will have little to fear with this power behind you.
Elephant’s ears are a metaphor for deep listening. This means listening to other people—both the words they speak and the words they don’t speak. This also means listening to your own intuition and to the messages of your guides, including Elephant. Elephant is an excellent listener and expects the same from you. Elephant is a powerful presence. Its sheer size makes it awe-inspiring. But its size is not all there is to it. Elephant radiates a grace that is accentuated by the juxtaposition of its massive size. In spite of Elephant’s size, it moves quietly through the savanna. On safari, you can be sitting just feet away from a herd of elephants and not notice them until you see them.
In the physical realm, elephants are deeply compassionate and emotional creatures. They grieve profoundly when a member of the herd dies violently or too soon. Mother elephants have been observed falling behind as they stay with the body of their deceased baby, trying to revive it. The herd lingers as long as possible to bring the mother along. But, as compassionate as the herd is, it is not willing to sacrifice itself for one member. This echoes the Vulcan philosophy in “Star Trek”: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.”
The lesson for you is to make time to express your emotions and your compassion, and then move on. Lingering too long on the past, on what was and what might have been, can be fatal. Just as physical elephants are constantly on the move following the food and water, so you must keep moving to nourish your own spirit.
While Elephant teaches the power and the benefits of a strong herd, a challenge is losing yourself in the herd. If you have fear of inadequacy or worthlessness, you may sacrifice yourself for what you perceive to be the benefit of the herd. But Elephant does not teach blindly following the herd. Rather, recognize the wisdom of the herd in your own heart, in your own inner wisdom.
If you do choose to sacrifice yourself—give up a dream, a passion, a desire—Elephant teaches that what you sacrifice yourself for should be worth you. You are worth so much that giving up a piece of yourself should never be done lightly. The sacrifice must be worth as much as you are.