Stampede of Sweetness
I write a blog called Ask the Dream Queen for which I interpret reader-submitted dreams. I receive a dream featuring an elephant every two months on average. Elephants are notable as symbols of memory, especially collective memory, which is to say, history. About half the dream-elephants are baby elephants. The characteristics of the baby elephants are the same from dream to dream, as are dreamers' responses to them:
1. I had a wonderful dream about a playful baby elephant that had so much character. We had to go to the jungle in between these bars to find him everyday and he would be at the same place waiting laughing. It felt great. I'm a musician and am on tour and I cant help but feel like this dream is a blessing of some sort since things are starting to pick up for me.
2. I dreamt that I got a little baby elephant as a present. He was having only one tooth, so he was not complete. But I loved it so warm and tender. He was so nice and brought so much joy in my life. I can still feel it. I am a woman of 53 years old, I live in Belgium.
3. About a week ago I had a dream about a pretty, blue-eyed, grey baby elephant. I was at my grandmother's house swimming in her pool, and all of a sudden this elephant was there with me swimming and splashing water with its trunk. We had so much fun! We got out of the pool and as I dried off she wanted to play. She started running and slightly jumping around me. After playing we took a nap and I can remember petting her and feeling her tough skin. When I woke up from my nap in the dream, my baby elephant wasn't there and I began frantically looking for her. When I actually woke up from the dream I was so dazed and felt like I should've been doing something but couldn't remember what. Since that night I've missed this baby elephant and think about her everyday, as if I've lost a dear friend or family member.
4. I dream of a baby elephant - so cute and affectionate - with our chocolate lab whose name is Beauty. They are friends and play in our backyard. We have hay in our garage and they sleep together there. But, winter is coming and I start worrying that I need to find a place for the baby elephant to live other than our garage. I write many letters to zoos, etc. asking them to make a home for the baby elephant. While writing the letters, I worry that Beauty will miss the baby elephant. I am frantic to find a home for the baby elephant. I remember thinking in my dream how sweet the elephant is and how much Beauty loves it and protects it.
5. I dreamed last night that a bad person pushed a baby elephant down some stairs. When I went down the stairs the baby elephant was crying and calling out for his "mama." I felt horrible and while I was carrying the baby elephant up the stairs, it died in my arms. Upstairs I put the baby elephant down and wept bitterly as if it were my own child. I woke up from this dream actually sobbing and could not get back to sleep. This dream was obviously very disturbing to me.
The baby elephant is the archetypal child; what Jung calls "the Divine Child;" the Child in all people that Christ speaks of in Matthew 18:3, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven." In dreams the Child can be symbolized by a human child or a baby version of another species.
The emergence of the Child as dreams' baby elephant marks an awareness of the Child that is newly arrived to adult consciousness, enabled by millennia of collective memory, by how much history has accumulated. The extent that birth has been given to this new awareness parallels the extent to which that historical consciousness has died and is moribund.
By historical consciousness, I mean traditional orientations that subverts the Child through rites of passage and socialization. By socialization, I do not mean learning proper behavior. I mean, killing the Child with hatred, fear, and abuse - as is dramatized in Dream 5, above. I am speaking of the mortification of the Child that jerks so many tears in the Disney classic "Dumbo."
Anyone whose inner-child is adequately damaged finds it difficult if not impossible to accept that the Child is going to outlast the archetypally fallen adult. In response to adult cynicism, here is a perspective on how the Child will proliferate:
Each person is a mirror. Everything that happens in the world is projected from the individual mirrors of all participants. The goodness and Truth people may wish to project into the world is severely compromised because of the images of evil and falseness their mirrors receive.
By definition, when a person invests themselves into inner-work in their inner-world - to which the Child is central and intrinsic - they choose to stop mirroring the evil and falseness of the external world. They become more aware of the images their mirror is receiving and projecting. This allows them to receive less evil and falseness and project greater goodness and Truth. This is how spiritual evolution works in a "grass roots" level. Bit by bit, as individuals master their mirrors, more goodness and Truth is projected into the world.
What I am calling "mastering one's mirror" is equivalent to finding the "Kingdom of Heaven within." (Luke 17:21). By turns, when the individual does inner-work, the Kingdom of Heaven becomes manifest in the external world, bit by bit, day by day.
I cannot illustrate the link between elephants, mirrors, the Child, and the Kingdom of Heaven any better than this recent TV commercial that may be familiar to Americans. (The Child in the commercial has a Victorian cousin named "Alice" whose mirror was called a "looking-glass.")
Ganesha the elephant god, one of Hinduism's most exalted deities, appeared in two of the elephant dreams I have received for interpretation. Ganesha creates obstacles and removes them, which is also what accumulated history helps to do. A new world will indeed flourish when collective memory becomes so vast that it can overcome obstacles that were insurmountable to the old world.
History is the story of one level of consciousness succeeding the previous as humanity adapts to its potential to be spiritual. History is also the story of the death and rebirth of man by way of his adaptation to inner, global and cosmic realities he has no control over. The need to answer to these broader realities is the cause of all his tribulations. The new world is in infancy, and cannot express itself that much. This is why the baby elephant in Dream 2 has a single tooth. In dreams, teeth are linked to expression.
For a new world to begin, the old one has to end. People misunderstand the end of the world as the extinction of man. Instead, it is the extinction of history's man, of the beast in man. The apocalypse is, at once, the end of the old world and the beginning of a new one. The transition will be made possible by technology, education, the evolution of ethics, the Internet, the arts, self-awareness, compassion, and the Child to name a few.
At this time of monumental change, it is easy to get distracted by collapse and conspiracy. The archetype of the fallen adult is in free fall, but to focus on it exclusively is to lose sight of what is being born.
Edited by Kelleil Riebel
Image by Sowri, courtesy of Creative commons license.