A positive animal for almost every culture on Earth, a pachyderm tattoo can bring you wisdom and good fortune. Let’s find out why…

There is a wealth of symbolism associated with the elephant: in fact, this beast is connected with important concepts such as wisdom (as we learn from the peoples of the East), nobility, longevity (they are long-lived creatures), the value of memory and obviously, fidelity, also in the sense of family loyalty.

Stefan Muller, Black Rainbow Tattoo Theatre, Zwickau, Germany
Stefan Muller, Black Rainbow Tattoo Theatre, Zwickau, Germany

Elephants are known to be extremely protective, not only of their young, but also of the herd: our pachyderm (tatooed on our skin) wouldn’t think twice about whether to save its own life or that of its fellows.

A tattoo dedicated to this creature therefore first and foremost communicates a sense of peace and strength. It is a tranquil animal by nature unless provoked by outside circumstances. At this point the elephant would indeed rebel, but there is always the sensation of great power held under control by a general sense of peace and relaxation.

Greg Nicholson, Evil Kolors, Langley, Canada
Greg Nicholson, Evil Kolors, Langley, Canada

For the Hindus the elephant is a symbols of good luck, wisdom and communication. In that religion the god of success takes the form of Ganesh, a man with the head of an elephant.

Hindus firmly believe that Ganesh protects good-hearted people who are willing to do something useful with their lives.

His intervention removes the obstacles in the path of these courageous souls, ensuring that they have plenty of good fortune along the way. At the same time, Ganesh is also the god of knowledge in the sense of science or art which lead us to continually learn new ideas to aid our spiritual and intellectual growth.

Lore Morato, Golden Times Atelier, Cologne, Germany
Lore Morato, Golden Times Atelier, Cologne, Germany

Alchemists saw the elephant as a symbol of trade and communication among peoples.

According to the teachings of Buddhism, Buddha himself took on the semblance of a white elephant for his various earthly incarnations, to the point where this species is considered the holiest of all. The mother of Buddha once dreamt of an elephant which entered her side as a metaphor of fertility and wisdom.

And speaking of fertility, in some cultures a tattoo of an elephant is a symbol of fortunate procreation. Once they are in heat, in fact, elephant become extremely agitated and irascible. They are a symbol of the stress of passion associated with the tension before sexual intercourse in humans. In this respect, we (civilised people) and they (elephants) seem to have a lot in common…

Eric Gonzalez, Deers Eye Tattoo, Santa Fe, USA
Eric Gonzalez, Deers Eye Tattoo, Santa Fe, USA

According to Aristotle, the elephant is a good symbol of chastity because during the gestation period, the male companion and future parent of the calf abstains from mating with any other female. This, apart from chastity, symbolises the patience and profound devotion required in any amorous relationship.

Finally, in other cultures, the elephant has an important, not to mention decisive role in the creation of the world. Centuries ago, it was believe that the world was carried on its back and its long lifespan led many people, including the Romans to believe it was wreathed in legends as well as being a symbol of immortality and harmony with nature.