This dream was a couple of years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.
I was completely lucid as I walked up to a line that was forming in front of these huge golden gates that were blocking the entrance to an alleyway in New York. The gates were very Baroque in style, and the center part was an iridescent glass. There was a man standing behind a podium, which was also gold, to the left of the gates. He was checking a guest list, and allowing people on it to enter, one at a time.
I walked up to him. He was flanked by two large roman soldiers, in full golden regalia. I expressed to him that I was dreaming, that I was lucid, and that it wouldn't last. That I would very much appreciate it if he could check the list and allow me in next, before I woke up. He checked. I was on it. The doors opened.
Inside there were several lush roman style lounges and upon them were lions and lionesses. There was a golden glow coming from their fur. The alleyway itself was dank. Wet. I could tell that if the lions weren't there, it would stink. There was a dumpster roughly thirty feet away. I thought it an odd combination. I wanted to ask them a question.
I walked towards the lion that was lounging in the center. He stood, and began coming towards me. But as he did, he started to morph into a beautiful man. His skin remained golden, and emitting a light from within. The lionesses began to morph as well. I stopped and stood. He kept coming and I ended up falling to my knees. He came over me as if he were going to push me onto my back with his own body. I leaned backwards, holding my weight with my elbows on the ground. We looked in each other's eyes for a moment, and his face briefly morphed a bit back to a lion's. Then he opened his mouth and a golden honey-like liquid poured out all over me. I drank. I closed my eyes and let it flow over my face. It was sparkling. I felt the light of it infuse my body and I began to glow as well. Then he lifted me up and I stood in his arms for a moment before waking up.
The lion corresponds principally to gold or the ‘subterranean sun’, and
to the sun itself, and hence it is found as a symbol of sun-gods such as Mithras.
In Egypt, it used to be believed that the lion presided over the annual floods of the
Nile, because they coincided with the entry of the sun into the zodiacal sign of
Leo during the dog-days. The lion-skin is a solar attribute (8). The equation of the
sun and the lion, borne out by primitive and astrobiological cultures, persisted into the Middle Ages and found its way into Chris`tian symbolism (14), although
the significance of the lion is enriched by a variety of secondary symbolisms. In
alchemy, it corresponds to the ‘fixed’ element—to sulphur. When counter-balanced by three other animals, it represents earth (although elsewhere it has been
said that it stands for ‘philosophical fire’) (57), while gold is given the name of
‘lion of metals’; the red-coloured lion is more strictly applicable to the latter (56).
But, apart from these considerations, which lie more in the province of the theory
of correspondences than in symbology proper, the lion, the ‘king of beasts’,
symbolizes the earthly opponent of the eagle in the sky and the ‘natural lord and
master’—or the possessor of strength and of the masculine principle. As Frobenius
notes, the motif of the solar lion which tears out the throat of the lunar bull is
repeated interminably in Asiatic and African ornamentation (22). According to
Schneider, the lion pertains to the Element of earth and the winged lion to the
Element of fire. Both are symbolic of continual struggle, solar light, morning, regal
dignity and victory. As a symbol of the Evangelists, the lion came to be associated
with St. Mark in particular. Naturally, other meanings may be derived from the
location or the context in which the lion appears. The young lion corresponds to
the rising sun, the old or infirm lion to the setting sun. The lion victorious represents the exaltation of virility; the lion tamed carries, on the symbolic plane, the
obvious significance which it has in real life (50). For Jung, the lion, in its wild
state, is broadly speaking an index of latent passions; it may also take the form of
a sign indicating the danger of being devoured by the unconscious (32). But this
latter sense goes beyond lion-symbolism as such, being related to the general
symbolism of devouring (which in turn is related to the symbolism of time). The
wild lioness is a symbol of the Magna Mater (35).
To see a lion in your dream, symbolizes great strength, courage, aggression and power. You will overcome some of your emotional difficulties. As king of the jungle, the lion also represents dignity, royalty, leadership, pride and domination. You have much influence over others. You also need to exercise some restraint in your own personal and social life.
To dream that you are attacked by a lion, suggests that a force may be driving you to self-destruction. You need overcome these challenges and obstacles.
To see a black lion in your dream, represents a negative force. You are using your position of power for evil.
To dream of a lion, signifies that a great force is driving you.If you subdue the lion, you will be victorious in any engagement.
If it overpowers you, then you will be open to the successful attacks of enemies.
To see caged lions, denotes that your success depends upon your ability to cope with opposition.
To see a man controlling a lion in its cage, or out denotes success in business and great mental power. You will be favorably regarded by women.
To see young lions, denotes new enterprises, which will bring success if properly attended.
For a young woman to dream of young lions, denotes new and fascinating lovers.
For a woman to dream that she sees Daniel in the lions' den, signifies that by her intellectual qualifications and personal magnetism she will win fortune and lovers to her highest desire.
To hear the roar of a lion, signifies unexpected advancement and preferment with women.
To see a lion's head over you, showing his teeth by snarls, you are threatened with defeat in your upward rise to power.
To see a lion's skin, denotes a rise to fortune and happiness.
To ride one, denotes courage and persistency in surmounting difficulties.
To dream you are defending your children from a lion with a pen-knife, foretells enemies will threaten to overpower you, and will well nigh succeed if you allow any artfulness to persuade you for a moment from duty and business obligations.
This dream indicates greatness, elevation and honour. You will become very
important among men. You will become very powerful and happy.
Seeing a lion in your dream, symbolizes great strength, aggression and power. You will overcome your emotions and/or difficulties. As king of the jungle, the lion also represents royalty, leadership, pride and dominion. You have much influence over others. You may also need to exercise restraint in your own personal and social life. Dreaming that you are attacked by a lion indicates that you have many obstacles to overcome. You must resist the force that is driving you to self-destruction.
Lion Meanings and Thoughts on Lion Symbolism
The symbolic meaning of lions, as one might imagine, primarily deals with strength.
The fact that it is a nocturnal creature means that the lion is a symbol of authority and command over subconscious thought (as night is an ancient symbol of the subconscious - or dream states).
It’s interesting that the lion is considered by many ancient cultures to be a solar animal symbol, however it is primarily a nocturnal creature, conducting its hunting activity mostly at night. Further, the lioness is considered a lunar animal.
This serves as a symbolic message of balance and sound judgment. In that the lion shares the world of both night and day, the lion bears a message of prudence to us. In other words, the lion asks us to not overdo in certain areas of our lives. Rather, keep an even mind and an overall balance in our life activities.
Other than a symbol for strength, other symbolic attributes of the lion include:
In Egypt, the lion represented the ferocious heat of the sun and was seen in the likeness of Sekhmet who is the Egyptian goddess known as the Eye of Ra. She is the power that protects the good and annihilates the wicked.
In ancient Greece, lions were identified with Dionysus, Phoebus, Cybele, and Artemis because myth indicates lions drew the chariots for these gods and goddesses. Here, the symbolic meaning of lions revolved around protections and they were viewed as guardians of the dead as well as guardians of palaces, doorways, shrines and thrones. They were also ultimate protectors of hearth and home.
In Hinduism, the lion is an avatar (embodiment or personification) of Vishnu.
In Buddhism the Buddha sits upon the lion as a throne of consistency, strength and wisdom.
In alchemy, the symbolic meaning of lions is associated with the highly idealistic and prized attributes of gold.
The symbolic meaning of lions in England is shonw in heraldic art where it is a common emblem of English sovereigns because of these lion-like traits:
As a zodiac symbol - those with the sign of Leo likely possess some lion's personality traits such as:
Those born under the sun sign Leo are fiercely independent, confident and in control.
They are creative and influential forces and have the internal power to make positive (or negative) changes in their lives and the lives of others around them.
They are very loyal people, and will defend friend and family honor to the death. My friend Göran Jönsson has perfectly captured the strength and ferocity the Leo represents in his zodiac pendant shown left.
Lions as dream symbols indicate we may feel as though we are being preyed upon, or we are in a position to defend ourselves. Dreaming of lions may also be a sign of our need to get in touch with our emotions, and tame them if necessary.
In esoteric studies, the lion makes its appearance in the Tarot where it is illustrated in the Strength card of the Major Arcana.
When we observe the lion in nature, we detect an easy strength and a natural dignity. The lion is born powerful, and power comes naturally to it. There is no false bravado as the lion has no need of it.
When the lion comes to us it is a sign for us to step into our natural birthright of power. Each of us is born powerful and divine. The lion reminds us of this.
Other messages the lion shares with us:
Hold your head high – even in times of conflict – conduct yourself with dignity
Stand tall, remember your birthright of power
Perhaps it’s time to show your authority (not in a dominating way) but lead others with a loving heart
It may be time to defend something that is dear to your heart – defend it fiercely if you must.
Have courage, have faith.
As with all signs and symbols, the symbolic meaning of lions should be special and personal to each of you. This only provides you with a brief summary of the various symbolic meanings available. Ultimately it is you who determines your own unique and symbolic relationship with the lion.
The lion represents wisdom and power. It brings to you the abilities of heart-centered leadership.
Leadership, truth, nobility and power balance the playful and calm serenity of Lion. He will teach how to strengthen your spirit and resolve. A quiet demeanor is balanced with a fierceness especially when family is concerned. He shows that rest is needed before continuing. Are you misappropriating your time and energy? Listen to the actions of Lion for he will show if it is time to relax and destress your mind, body and spirit. Respect, grace, stealth, focus, knowledge - Lion medicine is about timing or your personal power. Increased community responsibilities and cooperation, cunningness, fearlessness and expert timing are lessons that Lion teaches. Lion aids in recognizing and understanding your own noble and regal attitudes. Are you taking on the characteristics of a male lion or a lioness?
To see people you know in your dream, signifies qualities and feelings of them that you desire for yourself. If these people are from your past, then the dream refers to your shadow and other unacknowledged aspects of yourself. It may represent a waking situation that is bringing out similar feelings from your past relationships.
To see people you don't know in your dream, denotes hidden aspects of yourself that you need to confront or acknowledge.
Seeing people you know in your dream means qualities and feelings of those people that you desire for yourself. Seeing people you don't know in your dream indicates hidden aspects of yourself that you need to confront. Seeing people from your past in your dream, refers to your shadow and other unacknowledged aspects of yourself. It can represent a waking situation that is bringing out similar feelings as your past relationships.
Man comes to see himself as a symbol in so far as he is conscious of his
being. Hallstatt art, in Austria, shows fine examples of animal-heads with human
figures appearing above them. In India, in New Guinea, in the West as well, the
bull’s or ox’s head with a human form drawn between the horns is a very common
motif. Since the bull is a symbol for the father-heaven, man comes to be seen as
both his and the earth’s son (22), also, as a third possibility, the son of the sun and
the moon (49). The implications of Origen’s remark: ‘Understand that you are
another world in miniature and that in you are the sun, the moon and also the
stars’, are to be found in all symbolic traditions. In Moslem esoteric thought, man
is the symbol of universal existence (29), an idea which has found its way into
contemporary philosophy in the definition of man as ‘the messenger of being’;
however, in symbolic theory, man is not defined by function alone (that of
appropriating the consciousness of the cosmos), but rather by analogy, whereby
he is seen as an image of the universe. This analogical relationship is sometimes
expressed explicitly, as in some of the more ancient sections of the Upanishads—
the Brihadaranyaka and the Chandogya for instance—where the analogy between the human organism and the macrocosmos is drawn step by step by means
of correspondences with the organs of the body and the senses (7). So, for
example, the components of the nervous system are derived from fiery substance, and blood from watery substance (26). These oriental concepts first
appear in the West during the Romanesque period: Honorius of Autun, in his Elucidarium (12th century) states that the flesh (and the bones) of man are
derived from the earth, blood from water, his breath from air, and body-heat from
fire. Each part of the body relates to a corresponding part of the universe: the
head corresponds to the heavens, the breath to air, the belly to the sea, the lower
extremities to earth. The five senses were given analogies in accordance with a
system which came to Europe, perhaps, from the Hebrews and the Greeks (14).
Thus, Hildegard of Bingen, living in the same period, states that man is disposed
according to the number five: he is of five equal parts in height and five in girth; he
has five senses, and five members, echoed in the hand as five fingers. Hence the
pentagram is a sign of the microcosmos. Agrippa of Nettesheim represented this graphically, after Valeriano, who drew the analogy between the five-pointed star
and the five wounds of Christ. There is a relationship, too, between the organic
laws of Man and the Cistercian temple (14). Fabre d’Olivet, following the Cabala,
maintains that another number closely associated with the human being is nine—
the triple ternary. He divides human potentialities into three planes: those of the
body, of the soul or life and of the spirit. Each of these planes is characterized by
three modes: the active, the passive and the neutral (43). In the Far East, also,
speculation about the symbolism of man began very early. The same kind of
triple ternary organization is to be seen in the ancient teachings of the Taoists
(13). It is also interesting to note that there is a relationship between the human
being and the essential or archetypal animals (the turtle, the phoenix, the dragon
and the unicorn) who appear to bear the same relation to man—who is central—
as the tetramorphs do to the Pantokrator. Now, between man as a concrete
individual and the universe there is a medial term—a mesocosmos. And this
mesocosmos is the ‘Universal Man’, the King (Wang) in Far Eastern tradition,
and the Adam Kadmon of the Cabala. He symbolizes the whole pattern of the
world of manifestation, that is, the complete range of possibilities open to mankind. In a way, the concept corresponds to Jung’s ‘collective unconscious’. According to Guénon, Leibniz—perhaps influenced by Raymond Lull—conceded
that every ‘individual substance’ must contain within itself an integral reproduction of the universe, even if only as an image, just as the seed contains the totality
of the being into which it will develop (25). In Indian symbolism, Vaishvânara, or
the ‘Universal Man’, is divided into seven principal sections: (1) The superior,
luminous spheres as a whole, or the supreme states of being; (2) the sun and the
moon—or rather, the principles to which they pertain—as expressed in the right
and the left eye respectively; (3) the fire-principle—the mouth; (4) the directions
of space—the ears; (5) the atmosphere—the lungs; (6) the intermediary zone
between earth and heaven—the stomach; (7) the earth—the natural functions or
the lower part of the body. The heart is not mentioned, because, being the ‘centre’
or dwelling-place of Brahma, it is regarded as being beyond the ‘wheel’ of things
(26). Now, this concept of the ‘Universal Man’ implies hermaphroditism, though
never specifically. For the concrete, existential human being, in so far as he is
either a man or a woman, represents the dissected ‘human’ whole, not only in the
physical sense but also spiritually. Thus, to quote the Upanishads: ‘He was, in
truth, as big as a man and a woman embracing. He divided this atman into two
parts; from them sprang husband and wife.’ In Western iconography one sometimes finds images which would seem to be echoes of this concept (32). A human
couple, by their very nature, must always symbolize the urge to unite what is in
fact discrete. Figures which are shown embracing one another, or joining hands, or growing out of roots which bind them together, and so on, symbolize ‘conjunction’, that is, coincidentia oppositorum. There is a Hindu image representing the
‘joining of the unjoinable’ (analogous to the marriage of fire and water) by the
interlinking of Man and Woman, which may be taken to symbolize the joining of
all opposites: good and bad, high and low, cold and hot, wet and dry, and so on
(32). In alchemy, Man and Woman symbolize sulphur and mercury (the metal).
In psychology, level-symbolism is often brought to bear upon the members of the
body, so that the right side corresponds to the conscious level and the left to the
unconscious. The shapes of the parts of the body, depending upon whether they
are positive or negative—whether they are protuberances or cavities—should be
seen not only as sex-symbols but also in the light of the symbolism of levels. The
head is almost universally regarded as a symbol of virility (56). The attitudes
which the body may take up are of great symbolic importance, because they are
both the instrument and the expression of the human tendency towards ascendence
and evolution. A position with the arms wide open pertains to the symbolism of
the cross. And a posture in the form of the letter ‘X’ refers to the union of the two
worlds, a symbol which is related to the hour-glass, the ‘X’ and all other symbols
of intersection (50). Another important posture is that of Buddha in the traditional iconography of the Orient, a posture characteristic also of some Celtic gods
such as the so-called ‘Bouray god’ or the famous Roquepertuse figure. This
squatting position expresses the renunciation of the ‘baser part’ and of ambulatory movement and symbolizes identification with the mystic centre.
To see a man in your dream, denotes the aspect of yourself that is assertive, rational, aggressive, and/or competitive. Perhaps you need to incorporate these aspects into your own character. If the man is known to you, then the dream may reflect you feelings and concerns you have about him.
If you are a woman and dream that you are in the arms of a man, then it suggests that you are accepting and welcoming your stronger assertive personality. It may also highlight your desires to be in a relationship and your image of the ideal man.
To see an old man in your dream, represents wisdom or forgiveness. The old man may be a archetypal figure who is offering guidance to some daily problem.
To dream of a man, if handsome, well formed and supple, denotes that you will enjoy life vastly and come into rich possessions. If he is misshapen and sour-visaged, you will meet disappointments and many perplexities will involve you.
For a woman to dream of a handsome man, she is likely to have distinction offered her. If he is ugly, she will experience trouble through some one whom she considers a friend.
Seeing a man in your dream indicates the masculine aspect of yourself - the side that is assertive, rational, aggressive, and/or competitive. If the man is known to you, then the dream may reflect you feelings and concerns you have about him. If you are a woman and dream that you are in the arms of a man, suggests that you are accepting and welcoming your stronger assertive personality . It may also highlight your desires to be in a relationship and your image of the ideal man. Seeing an old man in your dream, represents wisdom or forgiveness.
All different kinds of people clutter our dream landscape. The men in your dream may include family members or total strangers. You may dream about your father, son, husband, or friend and should interpret the dream according to its details. A man, particularly the father figure, may represent collective consciousness and the traditional human spirit. He is the Yang and his energy, when mobilised, creates the earthly realities. Depending on the details of the dream, the masculine figure could be interpreted as the Creator or Destroyer. At times, women dream about men that are strangers to them. These men may represent the women's unconscious psychic energy. At times, a strange and ominous man in men's dreams could represent their "shadow" or their negativity and darker sides of personality.
To dream of an oracle, symbolizes your belief of fate. You are seeking some guidance or are expressing a desire to know what the future has in stored for you. The dream also serves to offer reassurance needed for you to move forward and look ahead in a positive direction.
To dream that you are at the center of something, represents your belief that everything revolves around you. The dream may also be a metaphor that you are in the middle of some situation that you cannot get out of. If you are off centered, then it indicates that something in your life is out of balance.