GIFTS: Strategy. Presence. Ruling. Group strategy. Leadership. Defending the pride. Cooperation. Total relaxation.
CHALLENGES: Worrying about status. Aggression and unnecessary ruthlessness. Excessive pride. Arrogance. Losing yourself within the group and within pride.
When you think of a lion, you probably imagine a regal creature looking out over the African plains, the sun highlighting its golden fur as the wind tousles its mane. You think of strength, power, King of the Beasts. You think of pride—literally a pride of lions and the pride a lion represents. You think of courage and fearlessness—otherwise the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz” wouldn’t be so funny.
And you’re right: Spirit Animal Lion means all of those thing, offers all of those gifts, and even more.
Do not mistake Lion energy for arrogance (fear of vulnerability). Lion energy radiates a cool, almost nonchalant, confidence. Lion has complete confidence and faith in its strength. It has no need for arrogance, no need to play too big or to play small.
Lion does not question whether or not it is good enough or worthy.
Spirit Animal Lion knows it cannot control the seasons, the environment or even other people. Lion takes what comes and commands what it can control.
Lion’s adeptness at strategizing eliminates the need for hoarding or acquisition or worrying about what it doesn’t have.
Lion is unique among cats as being the only truly social big cat. Lions live in groups called prides, and only adult males who do not yet have a pride of their own live alone—or in a partnership with one to four other males. You can translate Lion’s pride-living into a few gifts, first being literal pride. All spirit animals have pride and self-esteem, but Lion just oozes self-confidence. When a Lion person walks into a room, you feel them even before you see them. If Lion is your spirit animal, then you know what I mean. Your very presence quietly and gracefully commands attention. There was a television commercial for a brokerage firm in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s that went: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” We could rephrase that to, “When Lion talks, people listen.”
While some people may mistake your natural commanding presence as arrogance—and you may worry that you are a bit arrogant, a challenge for Lion people—there is no need to diminish or try to water down your radiating aura. You don’t have to roar to get attention. Use that to your advantage to further your cause, follow your passions, fulfill your goals.
Lion’s gift of pride is also a message that you need a strong group of supporters around you. Just as lions are most successful when working together in a group, so you will be more successful and happier when you can work within a group. This is especially important if you are in a leadership role. With Lion as your spirit animal, you simply can’t go it alone.
If you are not in a leadership position, you’ll want to make sure that the group to which you belong is one you believe in unreservedly—otherwise, you risk losing yourself within the group, giving up your own dreams, sacrificing your own desires. Rather than giving yourself up, you can fulfill your dreams and desires within the group, when the mission and the goals of the group are aligned with your own.
If you are a leader, you will be called arrogant. Cool confidence rattles people who lack confidence of their own. You don’t have to feign humility. But remember that the best leaders do have compassion and lead in service of the higher good of the group.
By the way, Lion is actually not the ruler of beasts on the African savanna. It is an equal competitor with Hyena. While we used to think of Hyenas as nothing more than sneaky scavengers, stealing from lions who did all the work, we now know that hyenas are fierce, strategic hunters who live in strong matriarchal societies. They not only compete with lions for much of the same prey, they also compete against lions, killing lion cubs and sick/weak lions, just as lions kill hyena cubs and sick/weak hyenas. On the African savanna, it’s a lion-eat-hyena/hyena-eat-lion world.