Lions appear throughout mythologies and cultures as symbols of royalty, power, courage, and sometimes vengeance. In Egyptian mythology, the goddesses Sekhmet and Menhit were both goddesses who had lion characteristics. In Greek mythology the Nemean lion was an obstacle the Hercules had to conquer as one of his twelve labours. The sphinx was the monstrous offspring of Orphus and Chimaera, a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a woman. No matter what form or culture the lion appears in he or she is always a force to be reckoned with.
Probably the most familiar connection one makes with lions and the Bible is the title of Christ as the "Lion of the Tribe of Judah." It is the connection with royalty that in the Bible makes that is the reason for Christ's association with the lion, but lions also appear in the Bible as symbols of strength, boldness, power, and might.
A lesser known biblical lion is the lion of Samson's riddle: "So he said to them, 'Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet.' (NASB) Judges 14:14 The "eater" was a lion in whose dead carcass bees built a hive from which Samson, in his earlier life, had scooped up honey to eat.
The lion also appears in alchemical texts in different forms. For example, the green lion eating the sun can symbolize the initial stage of alchemical transformation, the attempts by the soul to transform its current state into somthing more magnificent. The red lion in alchemy, however, is a symbol of completion that is often synonymous with the Philosopher's Stone - the key to attainment of the "Magnum Opus" or the integration of the Self.
Lions in dreams follow pretty much the same pattern they follow throughout mythology. In dreams they may symbolize power, courage, royalty, might, or boldness. Dream lions may therefore indicate that one is feeling courageous or feeling an elevation of some sort in one's waking life. Alternatively, they could be compensatory symbols meaning that one is in need of more courage or more power in one's life. The dream lion may indicate that this power and courage is on its way. Another association with lions is pride, they travel in prides and their regal nature leads to pride in appearance and in nature. Again, this may indicate that one is taking more pride in one's waking life or in need of taking more pride in one's self.
Another consideration one might make involving lions is the lion's roar. A lion in a dream might indicate that one is regaining one's voice, that one has something not only to say, but something important, something that needs to be heard by others. Or, the lion in the dream may be delivering a message to you, the dreamer, that you should not ignore.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Interfaith Minister, available for weddings and commitment ceremonies and a Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: Sang-Realta Spiritual Counseling
Two of my favorite reference books are the two below by Barbara Walker. Both have interesting information about god/desses, mythology, and symbols. I use both frequently to help interpret symbols in my own dreams!