Lion symbolism represents loyalty, royalty, and courage. These big cats are fierce and powerful animals that are part of many modern and ancient tales with serious cultural significance. 

What Does a Lion Symbolize? 


While lions are large animals that many people fear, they are still affectionate and cuddly animals. Therefore, lions remind us to be affectionate with the people close to us.


Since lions exude confidence, they are thought to symbolize courage as well. Lions tell you to speak your truth and remember to be calm, cool, calm and collected.


Lions are a symbol of family because they are known to live in large groups called prides. They work together to accomplish their goals or complete any tasks. Lionesses are known to remain with their families. However, young males eventually leave the pride and create their own. 


Throughout the world, lions are thought to be symbols of respect and royalty. In royal settings, lions are shown to exude confidence and charisma. Also, certain individuals might “lionize” someone as a way to glorify or immortalize them. 


Lions are considered to be powerful animals that symbolize the balance of strength and leadership with the ability to take their power back.

The lioness is thought to represent female power since they support each other, especially when hunting. In addition, the male lion is a symbol of power as well by serving its role as a protector. 


Lions should remind you to be proud of who you are. Therefore, you should also remember that any challenges you face can be considered opportunities to become stronger and better yourself. 


Lions are known to be protective of the members within their pride. If they feel like the ones they love are being threatened, lions are not afraid to fight back. The lion should remind you that you need to protect the people who are close to you and protect them when it is needed. 


Lions are thought to be symbolic of wisdom. Since lions take the role of leaders, they are thought to embody a universal awareness.

12 Lion Symbolism and Spiritual Meanings

1. African

There are many African fables about lions. According to a majority of the fables, we are told that a lion is feared while being respected as well. In addition, some African tribes believe that human beings are capable of shapeshifting into a lion and other animals. 

2. Ancient Egypt

The people of Egypt in ancient times had a strong love and admiration for animals, and lions were a large part of Ancient Egyptian culture with many of their gods being part lion. Ancient Egyptians would depict their deities, such as the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet, as having human and animal qualities. Sekmet was depicted as part human and part lion. 

3. Ancient Indian Mythology and Folklore

In Ancient Indian mythology and folklore, lions were featured in Hindu texts. For example, Lord Vishnu was part human and part lion. It was believed that Lord Vishnu was sent to earth to delete evil and restore Dharma. 

4. Buddhism

In Buddhism, lions are an important part of Buddhist teachings. The Shakya clan was associated with the lion, and Shakyamuni was considered the lion of the clan. 

In fact, according to some Buddhist teachings, lions symbolize enlightenment since they were able to roam freely and were absent of fear. This was thought to symbolize someone who had been enlightened and had a pure mind. 

5. Celtic Mythology

In Celtic mythology, lions were considered to symbolize royalty, courage, power, and authority. King Arter was depicted as a crowned lion at certain times.  There are also a couple of Arthurian legends involving lions, like the story about the Knight of the Lion, Yvian.

6. Chinese Culture

In Chinese culture, lions were considered symbols of strength, royalty, and protection. They were thought to be guardians of the Empire’s Dharma during the Han Dynasty. Lions were representative of a connection between those who had power as rulers and what would later become the Empire.

7. Iranian Mythology

In Iranian mythology, the lion is thought to symbolize courage and monarchy. You can find lions used as sculptures and discover depictions on the walls of places. In addition, lions can also be found in tombs, fire temples, dishes, and even jewelry. 

8. Greek Mythology

In Ancient Greece, the lion is symbolic of strength and royalty. A few Greek myths depict lions as having superpowers.

In the story “The Nemean Lion,” a lion is portrayed as stealing fur from women and then keeping it in its lair. The only one who could kill this lion was Hercules. 

9. Hinduism 

In Hinduism, lion deities are also present. For example, the god Narasimha is part human and part lion. Narasimha was responsible for the destruction of religious persecution, evil, and calamities on the planet. 

10. Japanese

In Japanese culture, lions were often a part of Edo Art. In shrines, lion-dog statues were meant to ward off evil spirits. One lion protector was known as Kara-shishi. 

11. Native American

While Native Americans were not familiar with the traditional lion, they had interactions with other large felines like panthers, cougars, pumas, and mountain lions. Throughout Native American cultures, lion-like animals were revered, respected, and protected.

12. Sumerian

In a Sumerian legend, the only way to defeat or kill a lion was by having the strongest of men put up the fight. Sumerians also have tales of winged lions. For instance, the Sumerian god Lamassu had the form of a lion with wings.

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