Elephants are Guides for the Soul by Kate Elliott

The spiritual power of elephants cannot be underestimated. In my experience with my own animals and through my studies and volunteer work with various animals throughout the years I have always hoped to tap into some true “animal power”. But I now realize that is a privilege and that it has to be earned, it is an honor to be so trusted!

I have had very few ‘communications’ over the years, until recently (or should I say until elephants!). I have a photograph of what I like to think was my first “connection”-In the early 80’s I was staying in a converted cider mill in Normandy, France, surrounded by cows and lambs, one bull in particular seemed very taken with me, and I remember my mother commented on my “drawing power” and our powerful connection!

Several years later I was very close to a harbor seal on a California beach and I could actually see our connection, it appeared like a very thick umbilical cord. I don’t remember many more, as Carol Buckley describes in her interview, I tried to communicate with my own animals but with thought words not pictures, this never worked!

***image2***In May 0f 2004 I was privileged to participate in the very first VIP day at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Although no elephants were on view, we did glimpse Delhi (the first Hawthorn elephant rescued by TES) out our van window as she was still in the quarantine area, and we all knew that the legendary Tina was in the Asian barn. Tina was a captive born elephant who despite years of chronic pain, boredom, and solitary confinement was born of a gentle loving spirit, as the ele-diary says “ever engaged and kind”.

After a memorable visit I returned to New York and as soon as the plane took off, I sobbed uncontrollably. I rationalized that my experience at the Sanctuary had simply been overwhelming, but someone later explained that I had probably experienced ‘transference’. After reading Sharon Callahan’s powerful articles, I feel now that I had been open to receive just a tiny portion not only of the elephants collective painful history, but also the painful individual experiences of each of the Sanctuary elephants. I now am sure that some of that energy was Tina’s; just over two months later she died of an enlarged heart. And Delhi’s…she was released from quarantine a few weeks later.

That fall, I began to have overwhelming pictures enter my mind just as I went to sleep, elephant eyes and elephant trunks. For an entire week as I commuted into work every publication I picked up had an elephant picture and elephant logos, signs, cartoons seemingly popped up anew on a route I travel daily! I truly felt an onslaught of elephant energy-so I paid attention. My work at that time had a very corporate thrust and at the end of the elephant invasion week I got to my office to find that a client had emailed me a photo of herself with a zoo elephant that I was expected to use in a presentation.

***image3***I realized this was a small test, and I risked censure by not using this photo, but I found a creative way not to, of course! I really paid attention! Almost immediately I became completely active in a grassroots campaign to help the Sanctuary, and specifically to rescue Lota and Misty from the Hawthorn herd.

The elephants toy with me, I encourage their ‘visits’ but they will stay away until they need me to pay attention. I continually pay attention — and when I close my eyes and gaze at a tree trunk or at a cloud, a beautiful face will appear and I know that my gentle giant guides are still very close! The detail is amazing; I know how every part of them must feel- the rough skin, the tortured feet.

I have read many books and articles available on the spiritual life of animals and the authors who resonate most true are: Susan Mc Elroy , Animals as Teachers and Healers and the more recent Animals as Guides for the Soul and All My Relations. I love when Susan writes: “The finger of God is often a paw print”!

The most powerful resource and guide, (besides The Elephant Sanctuary ) is Sharon Callahan, who creates flower essences for animals. Her insights into animal communication, and animal illness and the transition into death are mind opening. Sharon has created flower essences for The Elephant Sanctuary residents and her articles about the animals with whom she has communicated are essential reading. I urge you to read her articles about animals’ transition into death, they are beautiful, inspiring and will help you and your beloved animal companions.


Related Stories: Sanctuary: The Tarra Story

A Boundless Spirit: The Misty Story

Interview with Carol Buckley

Hawthorn Elephants:


by Kate Elliott (Elephant photos and ele-diary quote used with permission of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee)
Kate Elliott is a theatrical and event producer living in the woods outside New York City. Kate has worked and/ or produced shows with Patrick Stewart, Bobby McFerrin, Martha Graham Dance Company, Rudolf Nureyev and all major Hollywood film studios. Before falling in love with elephants, Kate was studying for a masters in Marine Biology. She now serves on the Executive Council of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and is also their volunteer grantwriter.