Warring Elephants: ‘card’ of the week 20 January 2014

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This week’s “not really a card” theme is from an oracle of sorts that I made when I was just a kid on square pieces of wood.   (Ever notice how those things that we are really interested in  often show up early in life?  –I was making miniature paintings and symbolic collections before I knew what a ‘deck’ was )  The one for this week was drawn out of a pencil bag at random and it’s a great one for this week:

On the front we see two elephants at odds, their backs turned to each other and their trumpets of outrage calling out across the nighttime savanna. On the reverse we see the African proverb:

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This must have resonated with me a lot, because in every child’s life it seems that there were a lot of “Warring Elephants” around and within.  I know I often felt like a blade of grass.

This week’s symbol speaks of any area where the drive for power has eclipsed what are truly common goals, which, in spite of our seemingly different goals, we do share.  Think of how often at the heart of a problem two people are trying to be understood or to gain love. Being an expert Googler of weird phrase combinations, I searched for this proverb and found a totally weird bit of synchronicity! –  a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   (in honour of MLK day today ) from 1964 that sums up the meaning of this week’s symbol perfectly,

“Now I’ve said all along, and I still say it, that no individual in our movement can change Mississippi. No one organization in our movement can do the job in Mississippi alone. I have always contended that if all of us get together, we can change the face of Mississippi. This isn’t any time for organizational conflicts, this isn’t any time for ego battles over who’s going to be the leader. [You may know the African proverb: “When two elephants fight, it is the grass underneath that suffers.”] We are all the leaders here in this struggle in Mississippi. You see, to change Mississippi we’ve got to be together…. And we can change this state. And I believe firmly that if we will stick together like this, we are going to do it.”

If we stick together, let down our egoic agendas and remember that we’re in this together, we can accomplish great things.   Stop worrying about who is ahead, who is right, who is better, who is weak and go for the common and most important goals.  Putting the goal above the ego-battle helps us succeed.   When our desire to  have power rages, and comes from fear then it is the growing shoots of love and possibility that often suffers.

What are your “WARRING ELEPHANTS” this week?  Can you think of what blades of grass might be suffering in your life underneath the footfall of mighty giants?    Is there an area of your life in which you’re trying so hard to be right, in control or on top that you’re failing to see the co-operative mission that is more important?  Is there a way in which you can allow partnership to triumph over who is best, right or first? Remember, this could be something as complex as a social mission to change the hearts and minds of millions, as with Dr. King, or as small as the mission to create harmony and balance within your relationships to family, loved ones and yourself.

This week’s card calls us to let go of our disharmony and let go of whatever “FIGHT” or battle we find ourselves in and just let go in order to work together, to create harmony and to just GET IT DONE. It’s more important to cook the great meal and serve it with love than it is to fight over who gets to pull the soufflé out of the oven.

Remember: Where there are giants, there is greatness.     This also means that our “Elephant” energy is indeed great!  We have a lot of energy right now to put into something…. what something will you be putting your energy and effort into?

If your elephants are simply warring within, let yourself choose the side of openness and forgiveness.


I’m going to leave you with two of my favourite  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. quotes:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.”


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”


About this ‘deck’ – This was a hand painted assortment of proverbs and pictures that I made on 1 inch wooden squares and painted.    And what about the warring elephants of old?  I’ve only ever drawn a couple of elephants in my whole life so it  seems many years later, they made peace  in yet another miniature painting I did as an adult. I’ve never seen them together on one page to make a comparison, but I love how the new ones not only face each other and embrace, but also that instead of darkness there is light: