Saturday, December 12, 2015

Elephantine Luck

Denis & Marilyn
Forty five years ago, my Uncle Denis gave me a jade elephant pendant on a gold chain. I adored my Uncle Denis and knew he was about the coolest person I would ever meet. It was 1970 and he was ultra-hip. He lived in Yorkville, a very bohemian part of Toronto, and he had a super mod girlfriend. My grandmother wasn't happy that her son was 'living together' with his girlfriend, but she accepted it. Why? Because Denis could get away with it; he was that cool.

Christmas presents from Denis were always extra special and unusual. I didn't know I wanted a jade elephant necklace until I opened the box from him - he had found me the perfect gift. And, I wore it just about every day for the next 40 years.  I remember a friend of mine found me in a crowded library because of that necklace; my hair and hands were hiding my face, but the necklace was clearly visible.

I had the belief that the elephant brought me luck. I  ALWAYS wore it when I traveled because I believed it kept me safe. Exam time? Never took it off. Childbirth? You bet I wore that necklace into the delivery room! Then, on our first trip to India, I learned of the elephant god, Lord Ganesha. He is one of the best known and loved Hindu gods - and is the Lord of good fortune! So, of course I felt an immediate connection.  His image was everywhere in India and I took lots of photos. Before we left, I purchased a small gold charm and began to wear Ganesh around my neck as well.

Lord Ganesha and the Jade Elephant with a broken trunk
Shortly after that trip to India, the jade elephant's trunk broke when I dropped the necklace on a marble floor.  I was really upset that the necklace was flawed, but I took comfort in the fact that Lord Ganesha's tusk is also broken - so somehow those two pendants would have a connection. There are a few interpretations as to why Ganesha's tusk is broken - but my favorite is where Ganesh breaks his own tusk in order to use it as a pen so that he could continue taking dictation from a guru.

 Over the years, friends and relatives have given me gifts of elephants. My mother especially loves to find elephant themed gifts for me. I adore then all. My house is full of elephants! You can't even get past the threshold without meeting the first one.

A few years ago, I gave the jade elephant necklace to my daughter, Emma because she was going through a rather difficult time. She was living in the Annex in Toronto, interestingly a hop, skip and a jump from Yorkville - from whence the necklace had come. It was hard for me to give up my lucky charm - I had worn it for such a long time and so far it had proven itself worthy of my faith. But, Emma is the woman I love the most in the whole world and I figured she needed it.

And, guess what? Even without my jade elephant, my personal talisman, I continued to live a charmed life. I was even able to fulfill my lifelong dream to ride an elephant in India! So, maybe it's not the necklace that holds the key - maybe it's just the belief.

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