Lion – Spirit Animal, Totem, Symbolism and Meaning

Lion, the supreme ruler of animal kingdom, a magnificent giant cat that amazes and enchant us with its proud posture, strength and beauty. Lion is one of the most beautiful and the deadliest animals on Earth today.

From ancient and even prehistoric times, according to some findings, these feline beauties have been worshiped, beloved and feared of.

Lions have an important place in different societies and cultural, religious and spiritual systems.

This amazing animal is often seen portrayed in various pieces of art; it is present on paintings, carved into figures, sculptures and figurines; a lion motif is featured on heraldic works, on tapestries, decorative bowls and vases, pottery, armor, weapons and so on.

This is not strange at all, having in mind people have always been admiring lions for their bravery, pride and impressive strength.

Lions are marvelous creatures. They have strong, muscular bodies and a stature worth of admiration. Their jaws are incredibly strong and deadly; they are fast, agile and dangerous.

Nevertheless, what leaves us breathless thinking of lions is their lavish mane and proud faces. Lionesses are somewhat put aside, when it comes to worshiping these beautiful big felines, but they certainly deserve special ‘treatment’.

They are quite impressive hunters, extremely protective, loving and gentle mothers; lionesses are actually doing the toughest job in a lions’ pack.

Tradition of worshiping lions

Lions are almost equally adored by different societies and nations throughout human history. This big cat is appreciated in traditional Chinese culture and other Far East societies and it is considered a powerful Feng Shui symbol.

Buddhism is also in favor with lions; Buddhists think of lions as proud, strong, wise and fearless creatures and associate them with ideas of higher wisdom and prosperity.

In Feng Shui, lion-like idols have special place. The most valued and admired are so-called ‘foo dogs’. These are small figurines shaped as little dog-lions, whose main purpose is to guard and protect peoples’ homes or Buddhist temple doors against bad luck and evil forces;

In Christianity, lions are associated with the idea of resurrection, with concepts of strength and godly wisdom. Islam also has a positive view on lions.

They consider these magnificent big cats great protectors and guardians and think of lion symbols as a powerful talismans against evil spirits. Lions were equally worshiped by great emperies such as Ancient Persia and Rome, Egypt and Greece. In all of Mesopotamian societies, these fascinating cats were adored as well.

In antiquity, lions have always been associated with power, authority, rule and justice. They were so highly praised that these beautiful animals were often considered divine and even immortal.

While there are different Egyptian deities connected to lions, this ‘animal king’ was strongly bound with Ra, the supreme god of Ancient Egyptian pantheon, the god of Sun;

Throughout Middle East and southern Europe, we could find remains of temples and different artifacts featuring lions. Remember, the great Sphinx of Egypt is built up in form of a woman with lioness body.


Ancient Greek myths and legends tell stories about lions; one of the most famous is the legend about the great hero Heracles and his duel with powerful Nehemian lion. There are winged lions in Persian and Ancient Mesopotamian art, widely known Assyrian reliefs with beautiful depictions of lion-hunt scenes.

Yes, lions were and are adored, but these animals have never escaped from peoples’ greed and bloodlust for trophies. Once upon a time, there were lions living in Europe. Unfortunately, these animals were recklessly exterminated and they had vanished.

Lion tattoo meaning – Lion is a common motif in all fields of art. Perhaps the most interesting are body art and tattooing. Lion tattoo is a common symbol for power, bravery, protection, authority, strength, masculinity, vitality and honesty. It could also represent a zodiac sign of lion.

For people open to spiritual world, lion tattoo offers protection and spiritual guidance and can be a powerful way to channel your connection with a lion as your totem animal.

Lions’ symbolism and meaning in general

Lions are featured in legends, myths, stories and superstitions throughout the world. They, of course, have the strongest symbolical meaning in places they inhabit, but their symbolism is influential in other parts of the world, as well.

For example, lions’ motifs are present in medieval European heraldic art. Lions and lionesses portrays slightly differ around the world, but the main concepts are same. Let us see what does a lion symbolize.

Courage and fearlessness – Lions are associated with majesty and bravery. They are aware of their strength and power over other animals. In animal kingdom, hierarchy is natural and lions are on the top of the pyramid.

That is why these yellowish felines are often considered symbols of bravery and courage. Having a lion on your war banner or clothes or shield is a powerful message to your enemies; it says you are the master of the game and everyone else should beware.

Great tribal chieftains in some societies would wear lion’s mane in order to accent their fearlessness and to earn respect and admiration from their people. Being able to defeat such a strong and admired predator is considered an incredible ability.

A heart of a lion meaning is a common phrase talking about lion symbolism. A person with ‘a heart of a lion’ is someone who is incredibly honorable, brave, fearless and highly praised for their traits.

Patience and silence – Lions are not particularly active if circumstances do not ask activity of them. They are satisfied just lying down all day long and enjoying the tranquility of family life. That makes us consider them even lazy, which does not stand for lionesses that are always active in taking care about their cubs or hunting.

However, this lions’ trait could be symbolically interpreted as positive, associated with patience and the power of silence. This means lions would not spend their energy without proper reasons. For people, this means to be patient and silent, not to speak before you think or act before the situation demands that of you. We should learn from lions!

Talking about patience, lionesses are amazing hunters and fighters. However, they do not rush while hunting their prey. As other acts are, these big felines are masters of stealth and disguise. They would carefully observe their prey and wait, calculating their odds. They are silent, dangerous and extremely skilful tacticians, when it comes to art of hunt.

Pride and authority – Lions are synonym for pride. Their magnificent stature and appearance wakes great admiration in everyone. The energy this animal possesses is powerful and breathtaking. The mighty Lion looks and acts as an ultimate ruler of all other beings.

This proud big cat is associated with the concept of domination and authority. As we have mentioned before, powerful figures in society, such as kings and emperors or other leaders would often feature lion motif when presenting themselves.

Lions represent authority and rule, so lion motifs are often featured on great rulers’ clothes and imperial décor. Considered king of animal kingdom, lion is a logical symbol for human rulers. When people want to praise their rulers and leaders, they would often identify them with these majestic and grandiose animals;

Awareness and protection – Lions do seem quite unshaken and nonchalant by their appearance, but these marvelous creatures are well aware of their surroundings. Do not get deluded by their seemingly indifferent pose, because lions are patient and a careful observer, if that was in their interest.

They are extremely protective of their youngsters, for example. There is an old saying, present in different languages and variations, but it tells about being extremely observant approaching the sleeping lion.

Symbolically, lions represent silent observance, awareness and strong protection. Lion shaped statues and figurines could be found all across the globe, guarding homes and gates of great temples and places of spiritual and religious worship. Winged lions in Mesopotamian cultures, the great Sphinx of Egypt, Snow lions on Tibet, ‘foo dogs’ in Feng Shui, these are all variations of cultural conceptions of lions as fearless guardians and powerful protectors.

Playfulness and joy – Lions are not just fierce, fearful, dangerous and mighty. They are cats, so they have the nature of a common cat, as well. They could be playful, lively and cuddly as little kittens, the big ones and youngsters the same. Lions love to roll over the grass, to cuddle with each other, lick their fur and pamper their cubs.

They are adorable! We would say every big cat hides a cuddly, fluffy kitten inside.

Lions represent the joy of play. In symbolical sense, lions suggest you should relax from time to time and just surrender to joys of life. Be happy and engage in funny, unserious activities with your friends and loved ones. Do not think much and embrace good times without worries and fears. Lions are aware of their strength, so they know they can freely relax.

Family love and devotion – Having in mind lions represent all the virtues needed for perfect parents, such as patience, authority, courage, protectiveness and playfulness, it is easy to assume these big felines have much love for their family. They represent devotion and family love. They are identified with reproduction and children.
Lions in zodiac

Lion is a powerful animal in every possible sense, including spiritual realm. It is an important member of Zodiac circle, ruling the Fifth house.

Let us remind you the Fifth House is also called the House of Pleasure and it is strongly linked to the concept of Sun and creative forces. It gives life, passion, creativity, inspiration and love. Lions are proud animals and they are often associated with the idea of human ego.

The Fifth zodiac house, the Lion’s house, has everything to do with your own development as a personality. It is associated with self-confidence and pride.

Traditionally, the Fifth house is associated with happiness and joy. It is a house of perhaps the greatest pleasures of a person’s life: family, sexual relations, children and love. Lions are masters of all aspects mentioned.

Just imagine its magnificent looks and somewhat nonchalant appearance, lying on a rock and overlooking its pack. The lion is very strong and influential zodiac sign. People born under this sign are usually very self-confident and proud.

They do not hesitate and would always speak their mind, but most of the time they are relaxed and unshaken by others’ affairs. People born under the sign of lion are:

– Proud and self-confident
-Egoistic and nonchalant
-Ambitious and fearless
-Active and creative
-Devoted to their loved ones
-Spoiled and attention-seeking

However, according to horoscope interpretation, lions could be extremely demanding and spoiled. They always seek attention and do not care much about other people’s feelings.

They could be reckless and unobservant. Some people who don’t know how to balance their ‘lion traits’ could become obsessed with their appearance, strength, pride. They tend to overdo things that help them stay young, beautiful and agile and they find it hard to deal with the inevitable curse of growing old and losing certain abilities.
Lions as totem and spirit animals

People whose spirit animal is the mighty Lion have much to be proud of. These individuals are very self-confident, brave, strong in usually both physical and emotional sense, clever and protective. These traits are desirable, but you have to know how to balance them and use the best of them.

Lion totem is influential and powerful. It could bring you great success and help you develop an inspiring personality, worth of admiration. On the other hand, it could be misleading and sometimes Lion’s predatory instincts could prevail. What does a lion represent as a totem and spirit animal?

-Positive guidance
-The main positive traits of people born under the totem of Lion are:
-Personal strength and self-confidence
-Great charisma and leadership qualities
-Sense of aesthetics and art
-Love and devotion

Lion energy is overpowering and amazing. It brings courage, strength and great inspiration. A lion totem is great spiritual guide that helps you overcome all of obstacles and difficulties in your life.

It inspires you to grow as a personality and became an individual worth of admiration. People whose spiritual guide is this amazing big cat are naturally confident and not easily manipulated. They know of their own advantages and the opposite, so they would work hard to polish them all.

Those people are lovers of art and beauty and they know how to nurture their sense for aesthetics. Lion totem is primarily focused on an individual personal development.

If your totem animal is a lioness, it is slightly different, but also amazing. Lioness focuses on protection and family. This beautiful feline spirit will teach you how to get along with other people, how to be a good friend and a cooperative colleague.

In nature, lioness prepares her youngsters for the outer world and teaches them how to survive and how to avoid danger. In spiritual sense, your spiritual lioness protector would do the same for you. She would also share her protective and motherly instincts with you, so that you could grow to be a devoted lover to your partner, a good parent and a figure people would look up to.

Negative aspects

Lion totem is powerful, but it could be misleading, if you do not learn how to balance energy it gives you.

-Aggression and recklessness
-Spoiled and demanding

Lion’s energy is amazing, but sometimes brutal. This powerful spirit animal is not always easy to follow and people should be well aware of the choices of direction in which they would develop their personality.

Lions are proud, so the energy of your lion spirit could be misunderstood. It teaches you to be confident and to stand up for your cause, but that does not mean you should be reckless about other peoples’ feelings. You could unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings or you could get aggressive.

People born under the totem of lion sometimes have trouble balancing their energy and they could grow quite unpleasant characters. These are people you do not want to have in your environment, so try not to be one. Lion encourages you to nurture your qualities and to express them.

Sometimes, that leads people in wrong direction. They become spoiled and attention seeking. As lions would do, carefully observe your environment and listen to people around. You do not have to comply with all of their wishes, just be reasonable about your own performance.

Dreaming about lion

Dreams about lions do not occur so often, as dreams about more common animals. However, such dreams have a powerful significance for a dreamer and they are usually good. A lion in dreams symbolizes bravery, strength, important events and strong emotions.

When seen in dreams, it announces great things. Interpretations vary depending on a particular dream.

In general, seeing a calm and relaxed lion is a sign of your personal strength and influence on other people. It means other people respect you and see a benevolent, but charismatic and confident personality.

If a lion in your dream is aggressive, it means you should work on your own temperament and learn to balance your energy in a positive direction. Try to be smart, rational and observant.