No matter what culture or country a lion god or goddess was found in they were certainly a force to be reckoned with…
Lions have appeared in the Bible: Daniel in the Lion’s Den, Ezekiel saw a bunch of creatures with 4 faces, one of which was a lion, Samson killed a lion,John of Patmos saw a man with a face like a lion in Revelations…a couple of others involved thorns and pulling said thorns out of said lions paws…
In the Bible Lions were power,strength,and boldness.
The human race has had a long history with lions. Since prehistory,lion gods have been revered in history and mythology. They have been feared as monsters and or as hybrid creatures symbolizing the best and worst in animal and human kind.
Lions can also be found in Alchemical texts. A green lion eating the sun means the beginning stages of the alchemical process. A red lion means you’ve done it! You’ve found the Philosopher’s stone.
Leo the Lion in the Zodiac:
The Lion has almost ALWAYS been associated with the sun since the beginnings of time. Five Millenia go the Sun’s passage through the sky at midday coincided with the midsummer solstice. He was therefore the constellation of High Summer,which is definitely the realm of the sun.
Leo is an easy constellation to recognize. He looks like a laying down lion. He used to have a tail but some genius in 240 BC lopped it off to make a new constellation called Berenice’s hair…pfft. Leo is the 5th sign of the zodiac and he can be seen facing to the west with his sickle shaped mane of stars. His brightest star is Regulus. He’s best seen around midnight the last days of February and the first days of March.
The Romans thought of Leo as the Nemean Lion slain by Herakles as one of his Labours.
Here's a few Lion God/desses:
From Bali is BARONG, a protective spirit. His dance is an important and sacred dance.
From Egypt there's SAKHMET. Goddess of War and Vengeance. She was married to Ptah,the creator.Her name means "Powerful", and you didn't want to get on her bad side; because she forgot herself and started slaughtering both sides in a war with mankind.
AKHER is one of the Oldest of the Egyptian Lion Gods. He guarded the Gates of Dawn through which the Bark of the Sun emerged each morning. He also opened the doors of the Underworld for the newly dead and was able to cure snakebites. He certainly had a lot of opening to do.
ARENSNUPHIS: He’s from the Greco-Roman age of Egypt. He was portrayed as either a lion or a feather headed guy. He had a temple built for him in Philae during the reign of Ptolemy IV.
DEDUN: He was Nubian and a god of Incense and Wealth. He was either a lion or a guy too.
MAHER:He was worshiped in the Nile Delta.He was fierce and aggressive like most of your other lion gods, but he was also a protector of the Innocent and a god of Healing. He had a temple in Bubastis.
MENHIT: Another chick lion Goddess. She was the wife of Khnum. Her name means “She who Slaughters”, so she must’ve been the life of a dull party. She rode at the head of the army killing off the enemy.
SHU and TEFNUT: a Sister and Brother duo pictured as being full lions or people with lion heads. She was Rain and he was the Sky.
PAKHET: the tearer. Another lovely young lady with a lion‘s head. She was worshiped in Middle Egypt and is rather unknown.
BES: an Old Friend. I love this little guy. A dwarfish fellow sometimes depicted wearing a lionskin. He watched over infants, birth and the home. He was a god of Luck and Fortune.
NARASINGHA: the man-lion, the Fourth incarnation of Vishnu.
YALI: this interesting creature had the body of a lion and the head of an elephant. Hmm.
IMDUGUD: He is the Sumerian version of the Native American Thunderbird, not the car. He brings the south wind, carrying the rains on on his back and his roar is the thunder. He’s depicted as a bird with a lion’s head.
MANTICORE: This lovely gent had the body of a lion, and the head of a man with many rows of sharp teeth, a scorpion’s tail and the voice of a flute…betcha he didn’t get out much.
Like the Sphinx, he’d give his prey riddles to solve before he ate them…
NINGURSU: A god of Fertility, Rain, and Irrigation. His hang out was Girsu and he was an Eagle with a lion’s head.
PAZUZU: A real baddie. King of the Evil Demon Winds…doesn’t sound like HE was much fun either, but he was inscribed on birthing amulets. He had the wings of an eagle, the tail of a scorpion and the claws of a lion.
CHNUBIS: this little known guy was a lion headed snake.
CHIMERA: A classic. The lovely beastie had the body of goat, a snake for a tail and the head of a lion. He was a fierce fire breathing creature…maybe he needed a breath mint?
GRIFFIN: Another classic. He was a combination of Eagle and Lion parts. His claws were supposed to change in the presence of poison. He guarded treasure, the Tree of Life, knowledge and the path to Salvation.
SPHINX: One of the best known of the lion/whatever Bunch. He had the body of a lion and the head of a man. Sometimes like in Greek Mythology it was a SHE sphinx and had the torso and head of a woman and the rest of the body of a lion. They guarded tombs, and symbolized power, riddles and wisdom.
Some people think that DRAGONS have Lion’s claws, so let’s include one of those also…
In Indonesia,the Singa is a Dragon that appears as a lion to the mountain people of Sumatra.
Some of my favourite lions are the Chinese Temple “Foo Dogs“. They are believed to have mythic powers that protect one's home or place of business. You can find them outside of Chinese restaurants most commonly. I have a set on my front steps. They’re usually pairs. The female has a puppy under her front paw while the male has a ball.
In Chinese Mythology, the Lion came from Heaven where he was mischievous and created trouble. Jade Emperor got pissed, cut off his head and tossed both pieces to earth. Kwan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, felt sorry for Lion and tried to help. She sent an enchanted red ribbon to tie his head back on. Then she offered to send him back to heaven. She sent him off to a Buddha for some special grass: the only type of grass that would restore lion’s strength. The only catch was the Buddha didn’t wanna share any of his special grass with lion. But Lion was stubborn and determined to have some. He waited until the Buddha fell asleep,then ate his fill. But first,Lion performed a ritual.
He bowed 3 times: once for the Earth, once for heaven and once for Mankind.
Lion does that to get their blessings. When Lion was done eating, he laid down because that was strong grass and he too falls asleep. When lion wakes up, he had returned to his full strength, and his dream is fulfilled. Again he performs his ritual, and with his new found power he can return to heaven once again.
So concludes tonight's sermon on Lions in mythology...thanks and good night.