The Symbolism Behind A Lion Tattoo: What Does It Mean?

For many generations, the lion has been one of the most popular creatures for people to get inked onto their bodies.

The Symbolism Behind A Lion Tattoo: What Does It Mean?
Credit: liontattoos

The mighty king of the jungle is commonly known to represent a sign of majesty and self-assurance. They were previously regarded as animals of nobility and law, and they still are in certain societies.

People in Asia would get lion themed designs tattooed on their bodies to symbolise that they were energetic and powerful, and the same traits are represented by lion tattoos today, as well as victory, spirit, strength, masculinity, and courage. 

While lion tattoos seem to be more popular amongst men, they are also popular with women, as they can represent beauty.

The Symbolism Behind A Lion Tattoo: What Does It Mean?
Credit: liontattoos

There are countless stories, both true and fictional, about this wonderful creature, leading several individuals to want a lion tattoo since it holds a special value for them.

So, what does the lion really represent? Better yet, what can a lion tattoo teach us about ourselves?

Let’s look into it.

The Symbolism and Meaning of Lion Tattoos

What Is A Lion?

A lion is a powerful, large, wild cat that is the Felidae family’s second largest mammal (the first being the tiger). The fabled ‘king of the jungle’ has been one of the most well-known wild beasts for many, many centuries.

Lions are mainly nocturnal and can be found in a range of environments, but their preferred habitats include grassland, savanna, and open forest areas.

They were once widespread throughout most of Europe, Asia, and Africa, but currently they are mostly found south of the Sahara. 

Sadly, the vast majority of lions are classified as vulnerable or endangered, and are on the verge of extinction. In India’s Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, an isolated group of about 650 Asiatic lions form a slightly smaller race that lives under extreme protection. 

The Symbolism Behind A Lion Tattoo: What Does It Mean?
Credit: liontattoos

Lions are the only members of the Felidae family that live in communities, known as prides. A pride will, individually, spend a lot of their time in dispersed groups before all coming together to hunt or share food.

A pride is made up of multiple generations of lionesses, some of whom are relatives, a few mating males, and their offspring.

These creatures are known to be extremely territorial, going as far as to kill the cubs of other tribes to mark their territory. Male lions have also been known to kill lionesses if they refuse to mate.

The Symbolism Of A Lion

The lion tattoo is incredibly popular, particularly in this day and age, for a variety of reasons. The lion is a powerful animal that commands awe, fear, and vengeance. They are known to be sun emblems, and the personification of passion and vigour.

The lion is extremely proud, as evidenced by the thick mane it wears, and this is often what draws individuals to wanting one as a tattoo. 

There are several forms of symbolism that a lion represents, and we are going to look further into many of these concepts to give you a deeper understanding of what a lion tattoo truly symbolises.

A Lion As Your Spirit Animal

In the world of spirit animals, the lion takes the top spot for being the most tenacious warrior in the face of adversity. The lion is a spirit animal that represents bravery and power in the hardest of times.

The influence of this powerful animal could also indicate the occurrence of something risky, dangerous, or hard to manage. As a result, lions are associated with difficult emotions such as rage and terror.

As previously mentioned in this article, lions are associated with attributes such as strength, courage, and aggressiveness.

The appearance of the lion as a spirit guide might be taken as a good indication of your inner strength, especially if the lion appears aggressive and particularly dominant.

This specific spirit animal may also represent your capacity to lead others, or your proclivity for dominance in relationships or at business.

Lions are predatory animals that prey on other animals in the wild, making them some of the most powerful creatures within their environments. This may be a sign for you to take some of your power back, reclaiming dominance in certain situations.

The Ancient Symbolism Of A Lion

Lions have been cherished and worshipped by humans for centuries upon centuries.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, primitive cave art depicting the lion as part of the hunt was discovered, showing that these creatures have been feared and respected for a very long time.

Fossils of what is believed to be lions have been found, and are believed to be over 2 million years old.

Both lions and lionesses were considered mystical animals in ancient Egypt, with a strong correlation to their pantheon’s gods and goddesses.

The iconic Sphinx, for example, honours the lion’s power, being a relic that has endured the test of time and continues to inspire a sense of wonder in visitors to this day.

For the ancient Egyptians, the lion was a multifaceted symbol, capable of signifying both danger and protection.

Even back then, they symbolised strength and vigour, and depending on the situation, they could be respectable antagonists, skilled protectors, or ruthless killers.

The Religious And Spiritual Symbolism Of A Lion

The lion has long been regarded as a sacred animal throughout many religions and spiritual traditions.

They were commonly employed by Aesop the storyteller to symbolise morals in ancient Greece: the ferocious beast was frequently depicted in his stories as a symbol of a society’s integrity, representing both a sense of good and evil.

The lion, in this perspective, was an intelligent beast that helped us to improve society.

In Christianity, stories such as Daniel and the lion’s den were used to represent either virtue or evil to early worshippers, depending on the scenario.

There were several stories in the Bible of which a lion devours someone who challenges or rejects Christianity, making them symbols of faith, but also symbols of dear to those who do not believe in the Christian God.

The lion is also seen as an important figure in Judaism, where it is also associated with tradition and the protection of God’s word. Jacob the prophet, Judah’s conquering lion, is intimately connected to Israel’s Twelve Tribes. 

Leo: The Zodiac Sign Of The Lion

Leo The Zodiac Sign Of The Lion

Individuals born between the dates of July 23rd and August 22nd were born under the fifth sign of the Zodiac. The name of this sign is ‘Leo’, which is the Latin word for ‘lion’. 

The name was given to this sign by the ancient astrologers, naming it after the star constellation located in the Northern celestial hemisphere.

Unsurprisingly, the symbol of this zodiac sign is the lion. This astrological emblem can be traced back to Greek mythology, as it is connected to Heracles’ epic, legendary encounter with the Nemean lion. It has been a symbol of triumph and bravery ever since.

If you are a believer of astrology, you will know that those born with Leo placements are known to be fiery and confident, with big personalities all around.

What better animal could be associated with a Leo than the almighty ‘king of the jungle’?

Children’s Movies And Novels That Feature Lions

Unless you have been to a zoo or wildlife sanctuary, the likelihood is that you have never seen a lion in the flesh.

However, most people have known of the existence of lions from a very young age, due to them being vastly mentioned in several movies and books that were shown/read to us as children.

Two of the most instantly recognizable fictional lions of the past few generations are probably Simba from Disney’s ‘The Lion King’, and Aslan from C. S. Lewis’s ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

Both these characters are protagonists within their narratives, representing kindness and leadership in their roles.

In ‘The Lion King’, Simba starts his journey as an innocent cub, before maturing into a fierce lion who murders his own villianous uncle, Scar, out of vengence following the death of his father, Mufasa.

Throughout the narrative, we see both good and evil portrayals of lions: Simba and Mufasa represent peace and goodness, whereas Scar represents hostility.

Aslan, the King of Narnia, is not only a talking lion, but also a wise, powerful, and intellectual entity. He can be easygoing, but he also has the potential to turn and become ruthless when required. Aslan embodies both dignity and emotional maturity in this context.

Should You Get A Tattoo Of A Lion?

Both the lion and lioness hold tremendous symbolic significance, and have long been a part of many human societies. The mighty creature still has a place in our culture today, as evidenced by the success of classics like ‘The Lion King’ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia.’

Those born under the zodiac sign of Leo may have a stronger affinity with the lion, seeing it as a creature with which they have a significant connection through birthright.

Whether you wish to tap into the lion’s might, connecting to masculine energy, or acknowledge the feminine power of the lioness, these creatures have piqued our interest for generations.

A lion tattoo not only looks great, if done professionally, but will also give you a sense of power and confidence. 

If this is something that sounds great to you, we say you should go for it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is The Best Place To Get A Lion Tattoo?

A larger canvas is required to fully capture the intense details of a lion tattoo. One of the best areas on a man’s body to get a lion tattoo design is across their shoulders and back.

The design can be significantly modified in order to ensure that they add to and enhance the person’s image.

What Celebrities Have Lion Tattoos?

Due to the popularity of lion tattoos, it should come to no surprise that several celebrities have them on their bodies. Just a handful of these famous people include Cara Delevingne, Ed Sheeran, LeBron James and Christina Ricci. 

What Does The Yellow Eye On A Lion Tattoo Mean?

The lion’s bright eye is threatening and frightening, and its position on the body, if widely visible, makes it quite noticeable to anyone standing beside you.

This lovely tattoo is based on imagery stemming from East Asia. The stern glare of the lion gives the piece of ink a more menacing, deadly appearance.

Max Peters