From out of the jungle of dreams…

Hmm…yet another animal dream last night!  ‘Tis the season?  For me, at least, it seems to be, as a few of my previous, recent posts will illustrate…

This time, it was a dream of a lion:

The King of the Jungle
The King of the Jungle

However, while the lion may be widely acclaimed as “The King of the Jungle,” the dream did not take place out on the veldt.  It actually took place indoors, which is not the first place you tend to picture a lion.  Furthermore, the dream, almost in its entirety, involved me lying down on a bed, getting ready to go to sleep (within a dream, which is like an oneiric version of one of those little Russian dolls that keeps opening up into increasingly smaller, but no less detailed versions of itself…)…and then as I got comfortable, this big, male lion, with the full-on mane and everything, climbed onto the bed next to me, and stretched out beside me, like we were two beasts in the same litter.  The lion was very sleepy, and let me tell you, as you might imagine, he was absolutely huge, too.

It started to occur to me within the dream that, “Hey, wait — I’m not a lion.  Is this cool?  Will this guy decide to snack on me in the middle of the night…?”  I became acutely aware that this creature beginning to slumber peacefully beside me represented four separate bundles of built-in claws, each of which was only slightly smaller than your average machete, all backed up by several hundred pounds of pure, supremely athletic muscle.  Not to mention the fangs — the fangs!! — which were, what?  A few millimeters from my pulsing throat…?

So in the dream, I began contemplating the notion of trying to slip quietly out from under the great beast’s nose, literally…when, as if sensing my deserter plot, the lion moved even closer to me, and draped one foreleg across my chest, kind of in the way a child might pull their beloved teddy bear in closer to really heighten the enjoyment of a profound impending nap.

The dream started to break up and fade away at that point, although I feel like the last thing I remember is that I did somehow manage to slip out from under that intimidating feline embrace, and was standing by the bed, and by the slumbering lion (who was undisturbed, by the way — dream-me was apparently smooth enough to slide clear without waking the King…), and I was mulling over whether to go find the bathroom before climbing back into bed myself, as I was now more drowsy than I was concerned about being disemboweled in my sleep…and then I awoke…

So, the usual dream-related question: what does it mean??

Well, to put to rest one of the first possible answers that I’d usually consider here, the lion — while a fabulous creature in a myriad of ways!! — is not one of my personal “spirit animals” or “power animals.”  As with the owl that appeared in my dream a week or two ago, though, I do remain open to the idea that the lion is maybe a wise passerby who currently has a thing or two to show me.  And a phenomenal being like this is certainly not lacking for metaphysical import:

The Lion-Spirit in all its metaphysical glory - art by Chris Saunders
The Lion-Spirit in all its metaphysical glory — art by Chris Saunders

Many, many societies have prized the lion and its attributes, across centuries.  The lion is the symbol for Leo, one of the twelve signs of the western Zodiac.  It would be difficult to find an animal more admired and beloved, or more utilized in fiction, both of the realistic and the more fantastical varieties (think Oz, or Narnia, for example…).

But again, while all of this informs possible interpretations of this dream, I have to look primarily at what the lion means to me, and what reactions his presence evoked in me in the dream.

I find that I have several main associations with the lion.  For one thing, I’ve been studying Astrology like crazy lately, so the Leo connections are very present: Leo is ruled by the Sun, and is a Fire sign, very steeped in Fire-energy, very masculine and very yang in nature.  Leo is about self-expression in its many forms, and about showcasing individual value and worth and uniqueness within the larger group.  So with all of this in mind, the dream could mean that I’m receiving encouragement to basically, as Pink Floyd would phrase it, “Shine on, you crazy diamond!”  To be myself — my true self — and to be myself really, really well!  And the fact that I experienced some nervousness around the power of the lion could equate to me being afraid of whatever power I might sense within myself.  I believe this is an incredibly common fear among us humans, actually, so this isn’t too tough to acknowledge as a distinct possibility.

Also, just as I mentioned in my earlier post about how I equate the owl with the Greek Goddess, Athena, I similarly connect the lion with the ancient Sumerian Goddess, Inanna.  One of the earliest female deities known to humanity, Inanna is a complex figure: “The Queen of Heaven and Earth,” Inanna is a Goddess of love, war, knowledge, magic, and civilization itself (and speaking of Astrology, Inanna is also associated very strongly with the planet Venus…).  In what’s arguably the most well-known myth about Inanna, the goddess journeys to the underworld, is killed, and then, through her own planning and foresight, and with the help of a few other key figures, she’s resurrected, the first being ever to accomplish that particular feat.  Inanna is often depicted either riding a pair of lionesses, or being accompanied by a great male lion:

Royal Court: The Queen of Heaven and Earth, along with the King of the Jungle -- artist unknown
Royal Court: The Queen of Heaven and Earth, along with the King of the Jungle — artist unknown

If the first thing I think about when I contemplate the lion is Inanna, and the first thing I think about when I contemplate Inanna is her descent into the underworld — an adventure in which she’s obliged to accept being stripped bare of all of her tools, weapons, and garments, to accept ultimate vulnerability, before facing death and then rising anew as a far more mature and powerful deity — then this seems like further emphasis on the whole concept of facing fears and doubts, and agreeing to let potential power become actualized power.  This feels like the emerging theme here…

And one more point to really tie this up in a sweet, little package…

I chanced to open up my Facebook page this morning when I first sat down at my desk, as FB was one of the tabs I’d left open last night, and I could see that I’d had some activity on it.  So one of the pages that I’ve “liked” there is for something called “Cosmic Consciousness,” as I enjoy their rather metaphysical leanings, and they often post some great artwork and some thought-provoking material.  Take a gander at what their post — the very first thing I saw today online — looked like:

The Lion-Spirit rises above sprawling humanity...  Artwork by Isaac Mills.
The Lion-Spirit rises above sprawling humanity… Artwork by Isaac Mills.

This sensational piece of art was accompanied by a long quote detailing how its author was a lion-spirit, but had, over time, been seduced into seeing itself as a sheep.  Through the mirror of meditation, though, the spirit came to again see the truth, and to accept its lion-nature…

So, what are the odds that I’d have my own dream that seems to be hitting the very same notes as this, and that while I’m busy dreaming it, whoever runs Cosmic Consciousness is posting that image and that quote…?  Synchronicity!!

Which all leaves me to conclude that I’ve entered a phase in which I can actualize some manner of ability or change within me, and maybe also without me, and while there will be some apprehension around this actualization, I have it within me to succeed, and to grow and to thrive.  I don’t even know specifically what ability or change we’re talking about here (although I do have some ideas), but overall, it seems like a very encouraging, positive, and loving Message!  And I’m as happy to welcome the lion into my world as I was to receive the owl (and the winged panther that I wrote about, too!).  Now I’m looking forward to seeing what form my next dream-visitor might take…

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