Dreaming of an elephant is definitely a unique experience, especially if it comes out of the blue – without you really having seen or interacted with elephants in the recent past. In the latter case, the symbolism of an elephant in your dream can be pretty simple – you’ve just seen one in the zoo recently and it left an imprint on your subconscious mind.
If that hasn’t happened, however, and you just happen to have a weird, unexpected dream of an elephant, it’s only natural to wonder what it means. And the truth is that the symbolism and meaning behind such a dream can vary greatly depending on the exact scenario you dream of and its context. So, we’ll list the 11 likely interpretations below, depending on the context of the dream.
What does it mean when you dream of elephants?
Dreams tend to be reflections of our waking life and emotional state, and that’s important to remember when trying to interpret them. That’s why you are always the best judge as to what exactly your dream meant – both because you alone know what the details of the dream were and you know the context of your life through which to interpret it.
1. You are about to embark on a successful endeavor
Elephants are generally associated with good luck by any culture that was developed near elephants, be it the Hindus or many African cultures.
So, most dream interpreters agree that dreaming of an elephant is an omen of prosperity, harmony, and abundance, especially in relation to a specific venture you might be starting at the same time. Such interpretations seem to be especially true if you’re dreaming of a flying elephant, a golden elephant, or of just a head with an elephant’s trunk.
2. You are in the middle of or are about to reach an important event or milestone in your life
Elephant symbolism goes far beyond mere luck, of course. It also stands for progression through life, in general, and especially the passing of certain milestones such as growing up, getting married, having a child, or retiring. This part of the elephant’s symbolism seems to be related to the animal’s overall longevity and slower overall life cycle.
So, if you’ve been ridden with anxiety and worries over an incoming major event in your life, a dream about an elephant can be seen to symbolize the successful passing through that milestone if the dream was positive overall.
3. You are going to meet a powerful person soon
Elephants are also associated with power and strength, given that they are the largest land mammals on the planet. As such, a lot of dreams about elephants tend to indicate that you are going to meet a major person of power in your waking life soon.
Whether that person of power is going to be benevolent or malevolent is usually unclear in such dreams as our subconscious tends to focus on the power and intimidation aspect of that person rather than anything else. It’s common for the dreamer to see a black elephant, in particular, for example, but to wake up before any detailed interaction with the animal in the dream.
4. You are striving to become a powerful person yourself
A similar, in principle, dream is that of you being blessed or accompanied by a strong and powerful, usually white elephant. Another version of the dream can have you ride the animal too. In either of those cases, the symbolism is usually that of you growing into a more capable and powerful person.
Such dreams are normal when people approach or reach adulthood or when they are about to improve their professional or social standing in some way. The dream rarely gives any indication as to which is it exactly but the dreamer should be able to tell by the dream’s context and by how things are going for them in their real life.
5. You need to go through a recollection of your past or you’re experiencing one right now
Elephants also symbolize memory, wisdom, patience, and understanding. That’s why, a dream of an elephant often indicates that you are about to – or should – focus on your inner self and emotions a bit more. Such a dream points toward a more self-reflective behavior, reminiscing about the past and seeking a better understanding of one’s inner world.
In that sense, such a dream can be a very important warning that may be rushing through some things and you need to take a break, take care of your inner world, and do some necessary soul searching and reflections so that you can make the right life choices in the future.
After all, there is a reason why elephants are associated with the Hindu god Ganesh too as he is the lord of understanding, wisdom, and the intellect one needs to attain perfection in life. That’s also why Lord Ganesh is usually worshipped immediately before starting anything new – so that he’d give the worshipper the wisdom and understanding that’s needed to get this new undertaking right.
6. You fear you may have overstepped your bounds recently
Dreams with elephants aren’t always positive, however. Often they can also be negative or outright terrifying. Kist as an angry elephant is a horrible sight to behold in real life so is it scary to have an elephant running toward you in a dream.
This type of dream usually symbolizes a fear that you may have overreached in a certain area of your life and you’re not afraid of retribution. Elephants are terrifying creatures when they get angry but that usually only happens if you’ve gotten too close to their young or to the part of their habitat they value the most.
So, a dream like that can also mean that you need to tread lightly in your current real-life endeavors as there are quite a few obstacles ahead of you.
7. You feel like you’re facing an uphill battle in your life
A similar type of “negative” elephant dream involves the dreamer trying to sneak around a herd of elephants without provoking them. The exact scenario of the dream and reason for the sneaking can vary although it rarely makes much logical sense, as is usually the case with dreams.
In most cases, however, a dream like that indicates that you have a lot of challenges on the road ahead of you and you’ll need to do lots of detours before you can reach your goal.
8. You are – or need to be – versatile and agile in confronting the incoming adversities in your life
Elephants may be big, strong, and clumsy but if you dream of elephants swimming that dream means that you should look for the agility and versatility needed to get through the difficult situation you’re in and achieve stability in the end.
A dream of elephants swimming can often be full of equal parts terror and wonder as the dream can often feel like drowning but is also full of amazement that the swimming is actually successful. In such a dream, the dreamer will usually swim with or next to the elephants which further adds to both the terror and the wonder.
9. You are going to be blessed with a precious gift soon you should cherish
The birth of a baby elephant is a wonderful sight to behold in real life and it is also quite fascinating in a dream. A little elephant is usually as big as a large adult dog and it’s also quite playful and adorable right from the get-go. Female elephants also stay pregnant for a long time too – typically between 18 and 22 months – which makes the birth even more of a miracle.
So, such a dream tends to symbolize that you are about to receive a very special gift that you should cherish with all your heart and soul.
10. You’ve gone through – or are about to go through – a great loss you should take your time to mourn properly
Elephants are also famous for their social nature and long grief periods and mourning traditions. So, a dream of a dying elephant can symbolize your own grief or an incoming death. A dead elephant dream meaning can be especially potent and tragic if the dream took place in a zoo and the elephant was alone with no one to mourn for them.
11. You have strong and unsatisfied sexual desires
As large, strong, and wild animals, elephants can also symbolize primal and powerful sexual urges. A dream like that will depend a lot on the dream’s context and feel, however, which thankfully makes this interpretation pretty easy to recognize when it’s true. If your elephant dream didn’t include any hints of sexual tension, then that’s likely not the correct symbolism.
In conclusion – what does it mean when you dream of elephants?
Elephants in dreams tend to be a positive sign for your destiny, especially in the short term. The spiritual meaning of elephants is usually associated with good luck, stability, power, memory, wisdom, family, and other such positive aspects of life.
That being said, your dream can also include things such as a dying elephant or an angry elephant charging at you – needless to say, those are rarely “positive” dreams. Even in these cases, however, you can and should use the dream to draw important conclusions about your life and subconscious mind to reach a better outcome in your life.