Elephant Tattoo Ideas
Overwhelmingly, elephant tattoo ideas seem to denote strength. It's no wonder - the animal is mammoth in size. Weighing at over four tons and hitting over 10 feet tall, the elephant is a behemoth symbol conveying incredible power.
In spite of its girth, wildlife experts will tell you the elephant's temper (unless provoked) is pretty low-key. This is where many people derive special symbolism. People who gravitate to elephant tattoos are often extremely powerful and can easily dominate - yet they prefer to keep peace and keep things calm. 'Gentle Giants' they could be described - just like elephants.
Elephants are extremely protective of their young and members of their herd. This offers symbolism to people getting tattoos who place the value of their families above everything else. Elephants will die to protect their family. If you share the same fiercely protective instinct for your family, an elephant tattoo might be fitting for you.
The elephant is sacred to Buddha. Legend indicates before Mahaprajapati Gautami's incarnation as the Buddha, he developed in the womb in the form of a white elephant. The white elephant is a pristine symbol of Buddhism to this day. When associated with the Buddha, the meaning of an elephant tattoo conveys compassion, truth, peace, love and kindness.
Ganesha, a well-known Hindu deity has the head of an elephant. Ganesha is thought to bring luck, and move obstacles out of the way for the pure of heart and intent. A Ganesha tattoo often commemorates the god, and serves as a reminder that all hindrances are removed in faith and purity of intent. Ganesha, is also a patron deity of art, science and as his elephant qualities imply, he is considered a god of great wisdom and discernment.
In regions of Tibet the elephant is associated with creation. More specifically, ancient text depict an elephant holding up entire universe. When the elephant is seen in ancient architecture holding up vast structures, carved in pillars and foundational stonework, this is symbolic of the stabilizing presence of the elephant and the legend of the elephant bearing the weight of the world - keeping the world on in place. We also see this stabilizing symbolism of the elephant in India. People who "feel the weight of the world on their shoulders" may gravitate to elephant tattoos, and may be attracted to the elephant as a totem and as a giver of strength.
Other pages to help expand your research on elephant tattoo ideas can be found at the end of this page. Don't miss my full symbolic article on elephant meanings here.
Aristotle claimed the elephant abstained from sex while his mate was pregnant - a whole two years. This lead to symbolism of chastity, patience, consideration and exhibiting thoughtful devotion in a relationship. This also carries meanings of prudence and moderation, which may appeal to some looking to commemorate these themes by getting an elephant tattoo.
Pliny, a Roman philosopher of the natural world had dealings with elephants while he served in the Roman Empire Army. He said the elephant was every bit a sacred animal and symbolized renewal. Pliny wrote that when elephants bathed in the rivers at night, this was symbolic of purifying itself in the new moon.
Roman perspectives also observed the elephant to be legendary for long lives - so they deemed the creature to be symbolic of immortality, longevity and living in harmony with divinity and nature.
Some key terms to think about when researching your elephant tattoo ideas...
An Important Note About Signs, Symbols and Their Meanings
Signs and symbols cultivate their meanings according to culture, context, passage of time in society as well as mass societal opinion. What's cool and highly important is that signs and symbols earn their most powerful meanings from our own personal perspectives.
This website strives to provide you with the best, time-honored information when defining signs and symbols. However, in the final analysis, "Beauty (and symbolism) is in the eye of the beholder."
Having said that, it's in our best interest to invest the time to do personal research on symbolic events happing to us. This website is just one perspective in an ocean of variety and diversity in the realm of symbolism. So dive it! There is a whole universe of deeper meanings to explore! You can start your research by clicking on the links at the end or to the side of this page. Odds are good I've got a follow-up article about this symbolic topic. ;)
As always, thanks for your willingness to learn more about the language of symbolism. It's a language that is universal and everywhere. It's super-groovy to travel with you on your symbolic path, and maybe offer a little translation along the way. Thanks for reading and exploring!