What Do Dreams About Lions Mean? 8 Meanings of Lions in Dreams

Updated on June 5, 2019
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Aisling is the author of Dog Funeral Evangelism. Her articles on dream interpretation and Jungian psychology have over 2.1 million views.

This article will break down the various potential meanings of lions showing up in your dreams.
This article will break down the various potential meanings of lions showing up in your dreams. | Source

The Symbolism of Lions in Dreams

Whether appearing in Aesop's fables, heraldic emblems, or as figures in mythology, lions fascinate people, and therefore they figure prominently as symbols across cultures and religions.

Lions also routinely show up in dreams. When they do, they normally are communicating ideas and messages related to concepts such as:

  • Courage
  • Protection
  • Strength
  • Aggression

Lions also typically show up in the dreams involved in activities such as chasing people or other animals, roaring loudly, or in dreams wherein the dreamer is taming the great beast. This article covers all of those leonine activities. We'll also look at one of the more surprising aspects of lion symbolism—that of lions as symbols of the unconscious.

We'll also have a look at lions in mythology and fables, because myths and stories are one of the best places to start finding meaning in dream symbols.

Read on to learn more about lion symbolism and find out what the one prowling your dreams is trying to tell you with its roar.

Photo of the Cowardly Lion's medal used in the Wizard of Oz film.
Photo of the Cowardly Lion's medal used in the Wizard of Oz film. | Source

1. Lions as Symbols of Courage

Lions have long been associated with courage but have you ever wondered why? It might seem like the lion isn't courageous at all given its exceptional strength, speed, and place as an apex predator.

But lions are courageous.

Lions will fight when they are outnumbered, outmatched, and will even enter aquatic areas to chase away crocodiles lying in wait for members of their prides.

Lions in dreams can also remind us that courage is not the absence of fear, but is, rather, the determination that what lies on the other side of the fear is more important, more valuable, and worth more to us than our feelings of fear.

A lion going up against a beasts outweighing and outnumbering him does so not because he is assured he will win the fight, but because he is certain the love he feels for his family and the duty he has to protect them is far more important than worrying about his own safety.

Lions Remind Us of What True Courage Is

Lions in dreams can remind us that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the determination that what lies on the other side of the fear is more important, more valuable, and worth more to us than our feelings of fear.

2. Lions as Symbols of Protection

Most of us are familiar with the sphinx, the creature with the human head and lion's body, noted for killing anyone unable to provide the correct answer to its enigmatic riddle.

But what might be surprising is the reason the sphinx questioned passersby. We're used to hearing a standardized riddle and answer, but that story is only the most famous. In mythology, the purpose for the sphinx questions was to protect the city it looked after. The riddle was a form of password, those with authentic business in the city knew the answer, those coming to do harm found themselves harmed!

When dreaming of lions, we may either be identifying with that part of ourselves that ferociously protects that which we love or, alternatively, we may be longing for such a protectress.


3. Lions as Symbols of Strength

In heraldry, lions are often used as symbols of strength and is it no wonder. Lions grow up to 10 feet in length with bodies weighing as much as 550 pounds. Once prey is captured in their powerful forelegs, or finds its head inside a lion's giant jaws, there is no escape.

Dream lions may similarly reflect those in the waking world by symbolizing the incomparable their exceptional strength. Dreaming of lions can mean that we are either in possession of such strength, desire it, or feeling as though we are, ourselves, prey for forces around us.


4. Lions as Symbols of Aggression

Lions in dreams can symbolize feelings of aggression—both our own as well as that of others.

When our dream lions are prowling about, aimlessly growling, or attacking anything that moves, we might do well to have a deep, honest look at our feelings and see if what we're feeling is actually anger or if it is something else, something more difficult to deal with.

Remember the old tale of the lion roaming the land, roaring, scaring everyone he encountered? The lion wasn't roaring because he was on the prowl, he was roaring because he was in terrible pain.

When dreaming about aggressive lions, we do well to ask ourselves if we're angry or if we're hurt and either way, find an empathetic friend to assist us with our wounds.


5. The Meaning of Lions Chasing the Dreamer

Dreams of lions chasing us symbolize feeling that something that we can't see but can feel inside us is after us, hunting us down, and that something will ultimately overpower us and eat us alive.

For Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, animals pursuing us in dreams are actually attempting to draw near to us. When we run from them, we simply give them more power. Instead of running from that which is pursuing us, Jung suggested the best course of action would actually be to stand still and simply allow ourselves to be devoured!


Because in the language of dreams, animals signify some aspect of ourselves. They is no way to outrun ourselves. That which is a part of us belongs to us. We can only rehabilitate the parts of us that we find unpleasant—we cannot separate ourselves from them. Check out the section below on taming lions in dreams for more information how that idea!

“When you dream of a savage bull, or a lion, or a wolf pursuing you this means it wants to come to you. You would like to split it off, but then it just becomes all the more dangerous. The best stance would be: ‘Please, come and devour me.'”

— Carl Jung

6. The Meaning of Taming Lions in Dreams

Dreams of taming lions are typically positive ones. Taming lions in dreams symbolizes our courage at facing our fears, confronting our emotions, and finding ways to conquer them and use them as a source of strength rather than weakness.

Taming lions in dreams can also mean that we are tackling waking life issues, especially those that we've found frightening or paralyzing in the past.

Dreaming about taming lions might also mean that we're making friends with aspects of ourselves that we previously found unpleasant, realizing that those parts of us we've been hiding aren't as beastly as we once thought but we actually simply beautiful, but distorted images that needed some attention.


Mythological Lions

Lions have long been seen in mythology as symbols of royalty and power. But sometimes, the lion is a symbol of vengeance. But no matter what the culture, the lion is never a force to be trifled with.

Any creature with a rich mythological history makes for a symbol that is rich in meaning when it appears in dreams. Below are some of the ways in which lions manifest in mythology and the manner in which they may manifest in your dreams and what message is in their roar.

(click column header to sort results)
Fire-breathing immortal lion hybrid with a goat coming from its back and a serpent's tail. The sight of a chimera was a disastrous omen.
Nemean Lion
Heracles (Hercules) first labor was to kill the Nemean lion. The Nemean lion was, by some accounts, the chimera's progeny. It was, in all accounts, a dreadful beast with impenetrable fur and claws sharper than sword with the ability to cut through any type of armor. Heracles strangled the Nemean lion with his bare hands.
Creature with a human head, lion's body, and a tail comprised of deadly, venomous quills like a porcupine's.
Foo Dogs
Imperial guardian lions made of stone placed as architectural ornaments outside palaces and tombs. Foo dogs are highly stylized sculptural lions, and almost always exist in pairs.
Snow Lion
This creature is the emblem of Tibet. It is depicted as a solid white lion with a turquoise mane. It denotes strength, courage, joy, and power.
Greek and Egyptian
A creature with a human head and lion's body. In the Greek myth, the sphinx is a merciless woman who eats those who cannot answer her riddle. The Egyptian sphinx was not seen as treacherous, but rather as a benevolent, although ferocious protector of the land and its inhabitants.
Mythology is useful in interpreting dreams because it shows us the cross-cultural contrasts and similarities of symbols.

7. What Lions Roaring in Dreams Means

A lion's roar can be heard from a distance of 5 miles (8 kilometres) at a level of 114 decibels. How loud is that? The next time you're mowing the grass, imagine a sound 25 times louder than the one you're hearing!

Lions don't always roar, but when they do it's to make sure everything within 5 miles of them is aware of their presence. They want to make sure their families know where they are so they know they are safe and their enemies to know that they aren't!

In dreams a lion's roar can symbolize:

Recovery of One's Voice

Sometimes we lose our voices, that is, we lose our ability to speak up for ourselves often because we have lost our confidence or our belief that we have something of value to say or that we deserve to be heard.

Hearing a lion's roar in a dream might mean that we're recovering our voices, that we are, like a lion, announcing our presence to the world and the world would do well to listen to what we're saying!


A lion roaring in a dream might indicate that there is something going on in our lives that needs addressing. We may have metaphorically wandered into enemy territory and not been aware of our error. Look at the symbols in the dream to see if this is true and to see where the enemy might be hiding.

Messages From the Unconscious

No all messages are warnings. In a dream a lion's roar could be a message from the unconscious alerting us to important information there than can help us to attain psychic wholeness. Again, coupling the roar with the symbols in the dream is key to understanding what the roaring lion wants us to have a look at.

Lions in Fables

Lions are a popular topic in fables and learning about them there can give us clues as to what a lion in our dreams might mean.

The Lion and the Mouse

A sleeping lion awakened by a mouse who accidentally runs across his nose grabs her with his paw, intending to eat her. The mouse, however, pleads with the lion to free her, promising him that one day she will aid him in his hour of need. The lion, amused at the mouse's outrageous assertion, lets her go. Much to the lion's surprise, he later finds himself caught in a hunter's trap and the mouse answers his roar for help, gnawing away the ropes holding the lion until he is freed.

The moral? A kindness is never wasted.

The Wolf and the Lion

A wolf crept up on a flock of sheep and stole away with one. A lion came upon the wolf carrying off the sheep and took it for himself. The wolf, in a huff, cried foul saying, "It is not fair that your have stolen what was mine." The lion roared out a laugh and replied, "What was yours? You mean this sheep your good friend the shepherd gave to you?"

The Lion and the Goat

During a terrible drought, a lion and a goat stumbled upon a tiny, hidden fountain. They at once set about arguing as to who should drink first. Neither the goat nor the lion would relent to the other. As they stood locked in battle, they noticed a flock of vultures flying overhead and immediately broke off conflict deciding making friends with one another was better than remaining enemies and providing food for the vultures with their folly.


8. Lions in Dreams as Symbols of the Unconscious

Lions are often classified as nocturnal animals, but strictly speaking, this is not altogether true. While it is true that lions, like most felines, prefer the nighttime to the day, lions are actually more rightly classified as crepuscular, meaning that twilight is their preferred time of activity.

Twilight is a liminal space, an in between place, a borderland passageway between defined boundaries. And lions, as kings who rule that liminal space, are perfectly suited to symbolize the unconscious.

In dreams, lions can indicate that we are courageously taking on the contents of the unconscious where all manner of terrifying beasts dwell. They can symbolize that we, like our dream lions, are setting aside the fear of what we will find living in our psyches in favor of confronting whatever we find there so that we can achieve psychic wholeness.

© 2019 Aisling Ireland


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