Symbolic Meaning of Lions


Known as regal beasts, it’s comes to no surprise that symbolic meaning of lions deals with:

  • Strength
  • Nobility
  • Determination
  • Intensity
  • Courage
  • Conquest
  • Pride
  • Protection
  • Authority

However, many are unfamiliar with the symbolic meaning of lions dealing with resurrection and conversion.  This meaning comes from the observation of newborn lion pups.  Newborn lions were once believed to be born dead, and only came alive when the father passed its breath upon the pup.  This was symbolic in Christian tradition as the father lion represented the Christ and his essence (breath) flowing into the children of the earth awakened their spirits to the light of God.

As an alchemy symbol, the lion takes on many representations.  In alchemical texts, a red colored lion indicates sulphur which represents the multiplicity of human nature and the eternal aspiration to reach enlightenment.  When illustrated in green, the alchemical lion indicates matter that which is the basic starting point of transformation.

African aboriginal legends state that the lion never closes its eyes when it sleeps.  This provides symbolism of cunning, strategy, intelligence, protection and wariness.

When the lion appears to us in dreams, it is often a sign that we have a need to place ourselves in a more prominent position.  Often the lion comes in our dreams when we are not being respected in our lives, and we need to advance ourselves in positions of respect and authority.


Lions can also be dream symbols telling us we need to get in touch with our passions or emotions, and we made need to tame these emotions if they are running unchecked.

In esoteric studies, the lion makes its appearance in the Tarot where it is illustrated in the Strength card of the Major Arcana.  More symbolic meaning of the lion from the Tarot perspective can be found here: Tarot Symbolism of the Lion

As an astrological symbol the lion is identified by the sun sign of Leo.  In the Leo sign we find such attributes as:

  • Passion
  • Generosity
  • Loyalty
  • Influential
  • Leadership
  • Determination

I’ve created an entire webpage devoted to more information on the symbolic meaning of lions here.

Don’t miss this informative page on Lion Tattoo Symbolism here.

40 Comments on “Symbolic Meaning of Lions”

  1. i have been dreaming about lions attacking me again and again and me trying to defend by fighting back and some how escaping them.. it was funny at first and i liked it because i thought in my dream that we were playing now as the dreams have progressed i think they attacking me .. having this dream for past 3 mts , generally i can make out from oberserving my normal life how does the dream or co-incidences fit with me .. but this time im totally lost, any help will be very much appericated … thank you so much ,, and sorry for bothering you

  2. Hi Simar,

    No bother at all. Thanks for sharing your dream.

    As you may have read on my other Symbolic Lions page – these creatures are about truth, honor, dignity, strength, and will.

    When I’m completely “stuck” about a dream interpretation, I ask myself questions framed around symbolic attributes (such as these for the lion)

    Rapid-fire questions really help lift me out of my confusion….eventually a pattern starts to surface, and I can start to gain understanding of the dream.

    If lions were attacking me in my dreams, I’d ask myself questions like:

    Where is the weakest link in my life?
    Is there something I am afraid to admit?
    Am I respectfully standing up for myself and my rights?
    Am I treating myself and others in an honorable way?
    Do I lack confidence in an area of my life?
    Am I a victim?
    Who or what am I protecting?
    How do I feel about my level of generosity?
    Am I spending enough time on my priorities?
    Can I have more positive influence with others?
    Am I giving myself enough light & energy?
    Why must I defend myself?
    Are my passions out of balance?
    What situations am I running away from?
    Are there situations in my life that are controlling me (instead of me controlling them)?
    Do I feel threatened by someone or something?
    Do I need to employ more strategy in a situation?

    When creatures are attacking us in our dreams, it sometimes tells us there are parts within ourselves that going through some kind of conflict.

    I would encourage you to consciously communicate with these lions – both in your dreams AND in your waking hours.

    Communicate your concerns to the lion. Make it clear that your role is NOT that of victim. Rather, you are a partner in gaining higher understanding.

    By speaking to the energy of the lion in this fashion, you are effectually speaking to your own psyche – the lion is merely a symbol serving as a part of you.

    Use these lions to your advantage.

    I hope this helps you on your path – my thoughts are with you.

    Namaste & brightest blessings,

  3. A few years ago I had this dream, but recently it has been coming back to me, like a broken record – or I am being stalked by this dream…Anyway, I have never understood the meaning or why it keeps coming back, so here it is –
    It’s nighttime, with only the glow of the full illuminating the Savannah before me, with a single tree – and a mountian looming over all – I walk out upon the land, heading towards the tree – I notice, as get closer a shape laying on the ground – when I reach the tree I see that the shape is in fact a sleeping male lion – alone. It does not stir, and I am not afraid – I approach bending down to touch him, then I lay my head on his mane, and go to sleep.
    That’s the dream, any thoughts?

  4. I’m sorry – I left out the word Moon – there was a full moon in the dream – sorry

  5. Hi Lani,

    I’m fascinated by the “yin-yang” elements and the seeking of balance between the two hemispheres of energy your dream represents.

    Lions in alchemical symbology represent the sun – your dream scene takes place ‘neath the observing full moon.

    This holds symbolism of prime dualities:


    Etc, etc. Additionally, a Lion/solar emblem paired with a full moon speaks symbolically of a need to be forthright, courageous and oustpoken in your strength (lion) while there may be an urging to be reserved, introverted, or keep the light within you in hiding (moon influence).

    Mountains in our dreams symbolize conquering, overcoming, hard work, willpower, and ascending above petty circumstances. Climbing the Mountain implies hard work in learning a new skill. Descending the Mountain implies stepping back from a situation, taking time to think about your actions, getting a second opinion. A Mountain range in your dream represents a new adventure, and is a message encouraging expansion in your life.

    Trees in dreams are symbolic of connection, communication, and a deep sense of groundedness.

    I would encourage you to observe the meanings of these various symbols within that “yin-yang” context.

    What polar opposites might you identify with in your psyche that either need to be mounted(harkening to the dream mountain symbolism)?

    What kind of deep roots or connections (recruiting the tree symbolism) can be drawn between the opposites?


  6. ok.. i am a leo . in this dream i was in a persons field at night and lions wher everywher i diddnt know weather to be afrade or at ease the lions wher focused on other small prey and then slowly ther attention turned towards me they did not lunge at me but did start nipping i was fending them off with my hands from all angles untill apparently the owner of them shooed them away .bye the way when the man helped me it was the lions the man and me in a house all the sudden so after the man tammed them he had to leave for what i dont know. left in the house now alone i was a little worried the lions might come back. sure enough they did befor they cam at me 2 very odd looking people came in i only got a glimps of the man i talked too he was sevon feet tall maby 350 o 400 pounds crazy lookin mug i told him he needded to tame the lions he noodded and started shooing them but 2 lions got to me again anyways . i just held them back with my hands kind of like the first time in the field. a lions mouth on each hand and i just kindoff held them back moving ther heads to steer them from my neck or head then i woke

  7. Hello.i wonder if you have any thoughts on the following dream.I dreamed that i had two White lions as pets!they were very playfull although because of their strength during play they cause me some minor scratches.they were permanently trying to eat my real pets (my two white cats!)but i kept interfering so no damage was done.
    i am aware of a lot of the information on symbolism of lions (strenth,purity etc..)to traditional explanations (legal matters,confict etc..).however i dont have anything on White lions.
    any thoughts,comments,information would be greately apreciated.
    with kind regards
    p.s. forgive my spelling…

  8. Why do sensei in Kung-fu use lions? Where can I find the picture of the tatoo sensei’s get in the ceremony of the iron pot when they make their status official?

  9. Hello,
    I was meditating,and coming out of the blue forest, a red flaming lion suddenly attacked me. I wasn`t scared, but i saw it biting and cheweng me, so i was shocked(and came out of the meditation). When I went back, I was prepared to meet it, so even, when it tried to attack me, he couldn`t. So we went by the road and up a mountain, until we reached a flowing river. I asked, why the lion had attacked me, and it said, that it was in pain. After that he went to the river and when i hugged it, it started to die. I tried to heal it, but it died and while i was crying i saw a yellow lion near me and the red lion in the river vanishing into yellow sparkles.
    I still havent figured out what the whole thing meant, but i somehow feel like something is gone(allthough death is transformation).

  10. I had a dream about a Lion. It roared. Before that people were being shot and taking a number. These people had to register to get killed. many were lined up with children their. I know this has something to do with prophesy.

  11. dear Avia
    I have had several dreams about lions.
    Lions coming into my house (MANY of them)
    They come in through windows and doors.
    I have to leave but not immediately.
    They are not malevolent. They are not coming to ‘get’ me.
    They are just there, in my house.

    This was OK, till a friend phoned me and said:

    She came to visit me, and there were lions everywhere, all around the house, on balconies etc. She was initially concerned about their presence, but relaxed because I treated them as perfectly natural in my house – almost like pets.
    (I advise Claire on a business basis)
    Many people refer to me as a lioness. They see me as strong in business, protective of my staff, yet a leader.
    All my atrological ‘houses’ are ‘in Leo’. People often guess my star sign is Leo. Yet I am a cancer – very home loving.
    My home is very important to me. I am very happy with my current home.
    what do you think, please?

  12. Hi.. i had this really weird dream that really shook me last night. i dreamt that i was giving the stray dog outside some food, and a lion came charging out of nowhere. It ripped the doors, and i had no place to hid so i went to the bathroom and tried to sit on the towel rack which was the tallest place i could reach.. and then the dream changed… could you please tell me the meaning of the dream coz it really psyched me out

  13. Hello, I cannot find the interpretation of dreaming with a male lion that is actually kind, and is loving me. In the dream he is literally in my home, like a pet. He is friendly, and at one point is very affectionate to me. I cannot find “any” interpretation to this type of dream.

  14. Hi! this is one closest, best page i’ve read for my strange lion dream. still, i have found nothing that hits mine exactly- my lion is not affectionate but not threatening. he came up to me, looked into my eyes & gently clamped his mouth over my arm, without hurting me at all. i felt bad for him- in my dream i was convinced that he was hungry & went off to search for food for him. i felt confused, not afraid the entire time. i didn’t understand why this magnificent, but thin lion was in a tiny backyard with two dogs. for some reason, my first thought was that it has to do with me feeling lifeless, uninspired & tired lately. i’m sure you can add much more to it, if you are so inclined.

  15. I had a dream in which there were lions chasing at first i saw one lion by seeing lions i started running and hiding myself along few other people around me after sometime i saw few police people saving people from lion they are showing the way to go,shile going i saw few more lions coming to attack me i was running alone and on the way i saw a lion attacked a police man who is trying to save i was worried i going to be killed by lion mean while i saw vehicles passing as asked for lift non of them gave me,i asked one of the police man to stop the vehicle so that i can ask for lift he dont respond to me i tried and stoped one of the jeep and got into it it took me some which at last i came near to my house in the jeep a person got attracted to me and started saying i want u in my life i was avoiding him but he is not at last i left him and went on my way
    please tell me the meaning of the dream

  16. My sister called me with a disturbing dream. She said she saw us in a house in the back yard. The yard was big and beautiful. No dark spots. I was standing in the yard holding a baby cub. I was being approached by 3 lions. 1 male lion and 2 lioness. My sister said she was screaming for me to come back because its dangerous. She said I smiled and went with the lions. The were brushing against me rubbing themselves on me. She said there was no fear I was communicating without voice. She said that the lines and I was walking into deep high green grass. Can you explain this to me.

  17. 6/12/16
    I just woke up of dreaming of lions that broke loose from cages and were chasing people ,one of the lions tried to attack one person and I screamed at the lion to get its attention. The lion looked up at me and approached and I just spoke and said leave them alone and follow me I have food . It was so weird as they were approaching me I felt no fear , I fed them bread and Spam Lol, and they were talking back saying thank you, but one of the lions said it doesn’t taste good and I said I’m sorry this is all I have. They were very playful and just stayed by my side. Usually my dreams always mean something but this dream I don’t understand what it can mean ,please help if you can.

  18. I saw these two things in a dream one night. Intervening night between Saturday and Sunday. Sunday night was full moon.

    I am travelling in a train with my family- my parents, my uncle and my sister. My sister is asleep.
    I notice a lion from the window on one side. Apparently the train was passing over a bridge. I noticed the lion attacking another lion under the bridge. By the time the two could be seen from the window at the other side, it had killed the other lion and was carrying its carcass in its mouth. I showed this site to my family.
    Followed by that, my father and uncle started cutting their toe nails in a stainless steel plate! I also noticed that my sister had cut her nails and those were lying on the seat. I picked them up and threw in the plate.

  19. In my dream i was in a small room and being chased by a small lion. and then i climb in some flat surface maybe its a table, so i assume that he cant go after me at all. but he climb so easy then he said “if the blessed horse can do this? then why i am the one you bring into life”. and when i don’t have anywhere to run he talk with a very calm and serious tune like he was teaching me a life lesson “STOP LOOKING FOR WHAT YOU WANT INSTEAD PAY ATTENTION FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO SEE WHO YOU ARE”

    sorry for my grammar its my best way to express my dream and i hope someone interpret it for me i really need explanation thanks.

    from Philippines.

  20. Hi…
    I.dreamt of a lion and lioness and a cheetah altogether in my dream at the stairs of my house.The cheetah pounced at some animal…I was worried about it…then the lioness pounced at the same place as the cheetah. When I went to look at them..I found that they were caged…and I was thinking what if these big cats attacked my family..I was talking to myself about using starred wires to keep them from fleeing…I then looked up at the lion who was also looking back at me with immense warm eyes…I felt calm when I gazed back into its eyes….I felt warm and happy
    ..well the dream ended…and I don’t know what to infer

  21. I had a dream about a double headed lion it may have been two double headed lions in the sky. The sky was very illuminated and it was a streak of light coimg from the lion in the sky going towards the oppisite side of the lions. But in my dream i was laying outside on the ground at night time sleep and the lions was in the sky over me. If someone has a idea what this mean email me the answer or your opinion. [email protected]

  22. Hi, um I don’t know how this exactly works but if you could give me information on what this means it would be very appreciated.

    So here’s what I dreamed off ~ I was in my house and my parents had gone out, I just finished watching the TV and started getting ready for bed but in the process I was shutting the blinds and heard my dog bark. I turned and bent down looking out the large window and saw a mountain lion, I remember looking deep into his orange/yellow bright eyes, I could easily tell it was a female but for some reason in my dream I screamed at it through the glass to go away, but it wouldn’t leave in just continued to stare at me. So I picked up my dog and locked myself in a dogs big closest with all my animals which was I believe one cat and three dog, while I texted my parents.
    Then after ten minutes I started heading out to see if my parents were home. And they were but they were outside with a now previous dead mountain lion But the weird thing in we were kind of in a forest.

    I remember talking to them and they planned to stay outside and do something which I forgot but another mountain lion came by and was near my dad when he wasn’t looking. I remember I screamed “dad mountain lion” and he turned well the mountain lion pounced on him well trying to bite his neck and chest but he held its throat back with all the strength he could use so it did not bite him.

    I took some steps back him and bumped into a wall, but it was of no use because the mountain lion jumped off him and onto me but I saw its coming so when It poured I put my knee up getting bite on my right knee, while I was trying to get the mountain lion off me.

    ~ The end of the dream ~

    Can you please tell me what this means because I have no idea what to think about it, except that it was terrifying.

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  24. When I was little, I would experience these weird dreams where I thought I was fully awake. They would always interrupt my other dreams, just like really waking up would. But I never believed I was really awake when the morning came. These lifelike dreams were always the same; I would wake up in the middle of the night and it would be pitch black in my bedroom. It was so dark I could not see my own hand in front of my face. But somehow, even though all I could see was unending blackness, I knew with every fibre of my being that there was a lion sitting beside my bed, watching me sleep. It was a massive lion — so big and large that it doubled the size of my bed. At first, I was a little afraid of it; I knew it could hurt me. But I after a minute, I began to feel safe with it around. It felt so velvety and soft. I would slowly “fall back asleep” and my earlier dreams always reconvened as if the lion had been only a commercial break. I only just remembered this a few months ago. I am 19 years old now, and have a Leo rising. I have been wondering the meaning of this dream ever since I remembered it.

  25. Hi so i dreamt about climbing a tree a tall tree and when i reached the top a white lion with wings lifted me up to the sky what does this dream mean? Thanks

  26. Last night my dream was about a loin staring at me and I gave the lion the same stare. I wasn’t afraid of it. We were both staring for hours. What does this dream mean?

  27. When I dream about the lion I never see its face. It’s more tamed and relaxed. When I have the dream I always see a hill, on the side of the hill that I can see, that’s where the lion is. It never looks my way (feels more of like it’s asleep) I just stare at it thinking it’s going to turn around (it doesn’t) and then my dream ends right there

  28. Um, you forgot to include that Strength, Power, Royalty, Courage, Ferocity, Aggression are also lion qualities that can be found in Leo. 😑♌

  29. My boyfriend had a dream that we were walking in the mall and the Lions followed us as if they were our pets…what does it mean??

  30. Hi,Soo I have been having dreams about a lion , the first one was about a lion trying to protect me and my kids an neice an nephew from this very ugly possessed beast trying to get to me in my kids well the lion protected me from it that was that dream
    The second dream was of me opening my door to my apartment & looking out ,their I saw a dark ugly drooling beast at the bottom of my stairs just starring at me but in front of the beast was a lion ! The lion started coming up my stairs (not to mention I didn’t feel scared of the lion) he started making his way up to my door than comes that beast charging behind the lion trying to get past him well the lion only had his head in my door because I was so scared to open the door all the way and let the beast in so I tried to just kind of let the lion push his way in alil more until he finally made itnto my apartment,as he got in I was able to slam my door an lock it while the beast kept charging at my door banging . I than woke up from my dream an cldnt stop thinking about what it meant…

  31. I am walking through a forest, I see a Bronze tree appear before me. A branch to the left I see an owl it says “Follow me and I will give you money and a easy path of silver to the presidency”, then an eagle sits on the right tree branch and says “Follow me I will give you a path to a righteous road of gold to leadership, please do acts of charity on the way and help out people along the way to to your righteous road of gold to leadership”
    What does my dream mean?
    I have been having this dream for over a month and 4 days

  32. Please. I’m trying to get help. I dont know if im sade here or my dad we are leaving the state tomorrow but i feel surrounded please. We just want to go home and out this place behind us. We want nothing.

  33. My brother, late mother and I were on a journey. We stopped on the road for something I cannot remember. When we were going back to the car to continue the trip there was a big Lion sitting next to the car. We could not go near the car. I even tried to stop other cars passing by asking for help, some motorists stopped but could not help. The Lion would roar when we go near the car. I woke up.
    What could this dream mean?

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