Elephant in dreams: 3 archetypical implications

Given that it is the week before my birthday in April, I always am alert to dreams that might tell what the next year of my life will have in store for me. In my Mindfunda Mythology courses I give much more information about the archetypical meaning of symbols.

This is the dream:

I am in a garden, outside, and I see a stone. A grey stone. When I pick it up, a whole range of grey little elephants come crawling underneath it. accidently I drop the grey stone and see the elephants running away, bringing themselves into safety.

#1: Elephant: symbol of the Self


Psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung proposed a psychological theory in which he believed that the human psyche develops in stages. A child is born with a feeling of unity and connection. When a person grows up, this feeling of unity is lost and needs to be restored with rites of passage and use of myths. “Once ego-differentiation had been successfully achieved and the individual is securely anchored in the external world, Jung considered that a new task then arose for the second half of life – a return to, and conscious rediscovery of, the Self: individuation”. (Wikipedia) In the second half of life, the Self may manifest in dreams, symbolized by a stone, the world tree or an elephant.

Carl Gustav Jung

So, my dream tells me something about the Self, thank you Carl Jung. But there is something fascinating about this dream. A contradiction. One of the biggest animals on earth, the elephant, has the same size as an ant. So let us dive into the archetypical meaning of the elephant in more detail.

#2: Elephant: A message of transformation


Whenever there is an elephant in your dream,  be aware that you are getting a message of your Self. The one and only. Your true authentic self takes you by the hand and whispers something in your ear. Or trumpets it loudly in your dream symbols. In my dream the stone (read more about it in the next paragraph) hides the elephants. They seek the shade the grey stone offers them. Little tiny bits of me. I have always been a fan of Inner Voice Dialogue invented by Hall and Sidra Stone. No wonder it was a stone that the elephants were hiding under. Inner voice dialogue is a method where you give your inner voices a face, a name and dialogue with them. I did that intensively when I was at University. One of my dear and not so bright friends made me laugh out loud when she suggested that I might go and talk to somebody because I had so many voices in my head. I carefully analyzed all those “me” parts. My inner critic. My insecure self. My always cheerful self. My angry self. I gave them all voices. I wrote down what they wanted. It was a fascinating process. I learned a lot about myself and my own possibilities.

So why do I dream this dream now with its symbols of transformation? I am on the verge of entering a new life stage: that of the Crown. An elderly woman. The lady elephant is the leader of the pack. A lady who has integrated all those tiny sub personalities, all those little voices.

#3: Elephant under the philosopher’s stone

“There is an elephant in the room”: something that needs to be said but nobody dares to speak about it. The knowledge of the philosopher’s stone. Ancient writings claim that God him or herself gave Adam, the first human, knowledge of the stone. This stone contains the elixir of eternal life and can turn certain substances into gold. But… what has an elephant have to do with the philosopher’s stone? In From Alchemy to Chemistry in Picture and Story, written by Arthur Greenberg, I can read that in 1618 in a book by Maier the philosopher’s stone is connected with the Elephant. “The philosopher’s stone is formed by an elephant who engorges himself with water. In an ambush lies a dragonlike serpent that attacks and wraps and tightens its coils around the elephant and drinks its blood. the weakened elephant eventually tumbles into the serpent and crushes it to a bloody pulp. This dragon’s blood, suffused with the matter of the elephant is effectively a red tincture or philosopher’s stone”.












In my dream I raise a grey stone and I am afraid to let it fall, because the elephants are going to be crushed. It is a clear invitation to search for the philosopher’s stone. My own elixir of life. To explore my feelings of immortality. To search for the things that I have changed for the world. The things that rejuvenate my soul. Sharing my knowledge in my online courses is the last thing I did that really enlightened my soul.

Or Like Einstein said: “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind”.

Download my free e-book: 10 Tips to Remember More Dreams



What is Mindfunda about?

My name is Susanne van Doorn, I am a Dutch psychologist, blogger and author. I have been working with psychology, dreams and mythology ever since I finished my study in psychology at Tilburg University. I made this independant site to share insights, and recent scientific articles about the brain, dreams, and mythology for use in your personal life.

This posting is categorised as Dreamfunda:  
Everything you need to know about dreams. Practical How to’s, the latest scientific research, the most commonly used ways to attach meaning to dreams. This and more is given to you for your everyday use in this part of Mindfunda


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