Learn How The Power of Symbolism Can Influence Your Life and How the ‘Elephant’ Changed Mine…
“Love is the bridge between you and everything”– Rumi
When I was a kid, I remember going to visit my grandparents at their very grand 3- bedroom apartment that over looked the city’s skyline. The apartments’ vast layout was constructed with an entire wing of floor to ceiling windows, allowing the sunlight to pour in over their collections of books, art, and a worldly ensemble of elephant figurines. These elephants ranged in size from small half-inch glass blown ornaments to clay and wooden sculptures, some reaching 1 foot in height. They were all native to where they had traveled and were hand made by different craftsmen and artists they had met along their travels.
The hundreds of elephants were all lined up on bookshelves that lead down a long expansive hallway, leading to their bedroom. It is said in the vocabulary of Feng Shui, elephant symbols that are positioned in or near the bedroom are considered lucky for childbirth.
These elephants captured my interest each and every time I went to visit and how they mapped onto my soul is a treasure that I am only beginning to understand. Each little statuette represented an exotic and far off place in the world I wondered if I would ever get a chance to experience. Each tusk and trunk was depicted differently and yet each told a story of strength, honour, stability and tenacity. I began having dreams about elephants for weeks after seeing my grandparents, wondering why and what it was about the elephant that moved me?
As a dream animal: Elephants appear in our dreams as a message that we are able to deal with any obstacles we are faced with at this time. Dream elephants represent power, sovereignty, stability, and steadfastness.
In many African cultures: Elephants represents a symbol of strength and power. The elephant is also praised for its size, longevity, stamina, mental faculties, cooperative spirit, and loyalty. In Sanskrit, the word for elephant is Gaja. The stories behind Lord Ganesh and his “perfect wisdom” are those of good fortune and success.
In Buddhism: The Buddha himself had a particular fondness for the giants and their thoughtful expressions. Of the elephant, the Buddha said: `Gentleness and harmlessness are his front legs; simplicity and celibacy are the hind legs. Faith is his trunk, equanimity his white tusks, mindfulness his neck, his head is careful consideration, Dharma is his belly and solitude his tail. Meditating, focusing on his breath and utterly composed.’
As I practice my daily yoga sequences, I have been unpacking what and why the elephant has had such an impact on me from those early days. Being influenced subconsciously by my grandparents’ Feng Shui placement of the elephants, leading to their bedroom and filling it up with desire and passion. Equally as inspired, the Buddhist Elephant God, Ganesha, had my heart with her smile and 8-limbs of kindness and compassion.
Remembering all these elephants have been a source of strength in me that I believe was born from these moments when I was able to explore that intimate collection of sculptures. The elephant for me represents heritage, wisdom, passion and hope. All descriptions of love that I have manifested into experiencing today, the greatest love of my life, inspired by my ancestors and roles models from my childhood.