Lion Dreams – What Do They Mean?

7 Min Read | By Nicholas Barber

Last Modified 13 June 2024   First Added 28 June 2022

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

As the King of the Jungle, lions embody many positive traits, such as bravery, strength, and a determination to protect and provide for their pride. This animal is a universal symbol, so dreaming about lions is common to people across the world. In this article, we explore the different types of lion dreams and what dream interpreters believe them to mean.

The dream:

Strolling through a zoo on a beautiful summer’s day, you’ve got an ice cream in your hand and a smile on your face. Passing the zoo’s ‘Gorilla Kingdom’, you spot a sign for the big cat enclosure. But before you notice a gate swinging open, a huge lion bounds out of it. Running straight at you, it’s both angry and hungry, and it looks like you’re about to become lunch.

An almighty roar chills you to the bone, and in the blink of an eye, you’re wrestling on the ground with the lion. Adrenaline pumping, you’re fighting for your life. Despite its size and power, you manage to push the beast’s head back, desperate to keep its razor-sharp teeth as far away as possible.

The beast’s huge jaws are now fully wide open, and it’s just about to take a huge bite out of you when you wake up in a sweat. Fortunately, it was all just a dream. But what could it all mean to your waking life?

What does it mean to dream of lions?

When it comes to the lion itself, it symbolises courage, strength, and an assertive nature. Seeing a lion in your dream is often associated with feeling confident, in control of your destiny, and so on.

Another common interpretation is the lion representing your personality, specifically the influence and power that it holds.

When it comes to how the lion appears, however, there are variations at play. Rather than taking your dream at face value, it’s worth considering how it can be applied to your life and what’s going on for you personally. To help you do this, we’ve explored some of the most common lion dream meanings below.

Variations of lion dreams

A lion stares directly ahead.

Lion dreams can vary widely – and they can certainly be very striking. You may dream about being chased by a lion, a lion attacking you – or even have a dream similar to the one above, where you’re wrestling with a lion.

Your lion dream may be about a young cub like Simba, a mother lion, or even cuddling a tame lion.

When you have a lucid dream like this, it’s natural to wonder what it might mean for your life.

1. Dreaming about seeing a lion

There‘s a huge amount of symbolism around the lion. Spiritually speaking, the animal has a connection to the Persian, Mesopotamian, Greek, and Indian mythologies, according to Aunty Flo. The lion represents the Greco-Roman culture and is one of the twelve symbols of the Zodiac, with Leo the Latin word for lion.

Everyone knows that lions represent courage, so if you see one in your dreams, there’s a strong likelihood it means you have to be bold enough to face a significant challenge in your waking life.

2. Dreaming about being chased by a lion

According to The Symbolism, a dream of being chased by a lion is likely to represent aggression in your life. “You might be running from someone else’s aggression toward you. Alternately, you may be trying to escape your own aggressive feelings that you wish you did not have.”

3. Dreaming about seeing a lion in a zoo

Sometimes people dream of lions in a cage, in a zoo, or even – frighteningly – in their own house. According to Dream Meaning Net, having a lion pet symbolises that you have a tamed sense of power in your daily life. It recommends trying to see if the lions are acting normally or are “lazy” inside the dream. If they are active and walking around, this is said to mean you have shown some good leadership.

4. Dreaming of a friendly lion

This dream is said to signify that you’re in peace or a good relationship with powerful people, especially if the lion licks you! “Dreaming of a friendly lion is a sign that great joy is coming your way. This is especially the case if, in your dream, you happen to be petting and playing with the lion,” says Alo Dreams.

Answering the dream:

Freud believed dreams represent ‘a disguised fulfilment of a repressed wish’. If you experience lion dreams and you’re interested in finding out what they mean for you, it’s worth taking some time for self-reflection. It may give you an opportunity to deal with your emotions – perhaps through therapy, meditation, or by simply facing an issue head-on so you can move forward in a positive way.

When a magnificent lion appears in your dreams, it can be taken as a sign to bring energy, passion, and motivation to an important project or life goal. Having this dream is an indication you should “stand tall, hold your shoulders high, and stand your ground with a loud roar”, according to Crystal Clear Intuition. In other words, don’t give in to people who are trying to bring you down.

Due to their position reigning at the top of the food chain, lions are generally seen as a powerful and positive symbol. They appear to represent courage, strength, bravery, and protection of their family. A sign of control and power, they’re dangerous when they need to be but are humble at the same time.

Notable appearances in popular culture:

The lion has been an important symbol since ancient times. The earliest graphic representations of lions showed them as organised hunters with great strength, strategies and skills, and the lion also holds huge historical significance for English heraldry and symbolism.

On both the battlefield and in the sporting arena, our heroes look to the lion’s courage and prowess for inspiration; the Coat of arms of England was a symbol for Richard the Lionheart and, later, for England. Indeed, the nation’s greatest sporting success in recent times belongs to the women’s national football team – the Lionesses! Images of the lion are also worn by both the England men’s national football team and the England and Wales cricket team.

In Western culture, lions have played starring roles in dozens of famous films and books, with three of the most famous lion characters being:

  • Simba in The Lion King – inspired by the character Bambi from Disney’s Bambi, as well as the stories of Moses and Joseph from the Bible. Similarities have also been drawn between Simba and Prince Hamlet from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
  • Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia – a noble leader standing for goodness and justice. Aslan is the rightful King of Narnia who rights all wrongs and removes the White Witch from her terrible reign over Narnia. The character represents Jesus Christ, according to the author, C. S. Lewis.
  • The Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz – a walking, talking contradiction. Although he should be King of the Jungle, instead of being courageous, he’s wracked with self-doubt. However, as the story develops, the lion does several brave deeds and eventually realises the courage he’d sought was in him all along.

Even though they’re not native to the British Isles, the lion’s prominent place in our culture is seen in the amount of common English idiomatic expressions we all use. They include ‘the lion’s share’ to mean the largest part of something, ‘the lion’s den’ to mean a hostile place or situation, and ‘feed someone to the lions’, to express forcing someone to do something dangerous for one’s own gain. How many more can you think of?

Find out more about dreams and their meanings by reading our articles on being chased in your dream, why your teeth fall out in your dream and what it means to be late in your dream.

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