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Asian Astrology Beliefs

Lion in Astrology

  • Once the lion was the leader of the groups of stars, the natural process of animal shapes we see in the night sky and that is why it is called "King of Beasts".
  • Due to the varying track of the earth when it moves against the setting of the heavens, the first zodiacal sign changes every 26,000 years. This is the reason for the day of equinox (the 2 days - one in autumn and one in spring - when the durations of darkness and daylight are equal) to change over the years, and leads to a natural process of the equinoxes.
  • This natural process has influenced astrology, which would definitely cause any questioner to further probe the rationality of current natal-chart understanding.
  • During the 20th century, scholars found out that about 10, 500 BCE, the pyramids in Egypt completely reflected the location of the 3 belt stars in the group Orion. At that time Leo,   the star shape perceived as the shape of a lion, was the spring sign. That is, for those residing in the northern hemisphere, appearance of the Lion in the night sky signaled the stage for new development.
  • Some researchers think that once the huge Egyptian Sphinx stood at the periphery of the Nile Delta opposite its constellation equivalent as it went up. The flooding of the Nile was predicted, when there was an exact conformity of position. These days, the sphinx has a very small human head (in comparison to its bending body), but the head might not always have been of a man.
  • All pre-historic peoples might not have seen that arrangement of stars like a lion, however when they did, for a long period that animal was related with the first steps in land’s fertility. It was linked with   Osiris in Egypt as well as with the rebirth of the deceased. In 2003, the remnants of a lion were discovered nearby the grave of the ancient Egyptian boy-king, Tutankhamen.

Cultural Depictions of Lions

  • For thousands of years, lions have been important symbols and give the impression as themes in cultures throughout Asia, Africa, and Europe. In spite of cases of attacks on human beings, lions are blessed with positive representation in popular cultures as animals which appear powerful, but kind at the same time. The most regular interpretation is in keeping with their image of "king of the beasts" or "king of the jungle", for that reason lions are famous symbols of stateliness and royalty.

In Religion and Mythology

First D epictions

  • In southern France, in a few of the original stone age human cave arts, the first recorded pictures of lions can be found in which lionesses are shown searching for the dignity like contemporary lions.
  • The sphinx which had the shoulders and head of a human and the body of a lioness was first found in ancient Egypt. It symbolised the goddess who protected the pharaohs. Later on pharaohs were shown as sphinxes, considered as the descendants of the deity. The Egyptians believed that a holy lioness was accountable for the annual flooding of the Nile.
  • Lions were also represented in other middle-eastern civilisations. Lions were considered as signs of kingship in ancient Mesopotamia.


  • To provide a sense of awe and majesty, lions have been extensively used in statuary and sculpture, particularly on public buildings. This practice dates back to the beginning of civilisation. Lions are at the entrances of sacred sites and cities from Mesopotamian cultures, famous examples are the gates in the walls of the Hittitecity of Bogazkoy, Turkey and the Lion Gate of ancient Mycenae in Greece.


  • In ancient Persia, lions have been widely used as sculptures and on jewellery and dishes, in tombs and fire temples, and on the walls of palaces. The gates were decorated with lions.

Classical Period

  • The Nemean lion was the most important lion of Ancient Greek mythology. This lion is also believed to be represented by the sign of the Zodiac and also by the constellation of Leo.
  • In many cultures lions are known as the king of animals. Aesop, the famous Greek story teller used the lion's symbolism of strength and power in the Lion and the Mouse and Lion's Share.

Biblical references and Judaeo-Christian tradition

  • A number of Biblical accounts record the existence of lions, and their cultural perception in ancient Palestine. The well-known Biblical account containing lions is from the Book of Daniel, where Daniel is dropped into a den of lions and unbelievably survives.
  • In Israel, the lion is the symbol of Jerusalem. In Judaism, the lion has positive meanings. For example, in every building for Jewish religious services there’s an ark with a picture in which lions face each other as if they are protecting it.

Islamic traditions

  • In Middle Eastern culture, both Persian and Arabic, lion is considered as the symbol of chivalry, royalty, bravery, and courage. The Middle Eastern representation of lion originated from earlier Persian and Mesopotamian Babylonian arts. Since Islamic tradition forbids the depictions of living creatures and human beings in its arts, Islamic art usually shows its artistic elements only in Islamic calligraphy, geometric and floral decorative patterns. In Muslim Spain period, the lion court of Alhamra palace shows the lion sculptures as waterspout and supporters of fountain. Turkish and Mongolian word for lion is Arslan. Many Ottoman and Seljuk rulers used it as a title.


Hindu-Buddhist traditions

  • In Buddhist and Hindu art of Southeast Asia and India, the lion symbolism and its cultural representations can be found. In India the lion symbolism was based on Asiatic lions.

India and Sri Lanka   

  • In the Puranic texts of Hinduism, Narasimha ("man-lion") is described as an avatar of Vishnu and is worshipped.
  • Lions can also be found out in Buddhist representations. Emperor Ashoka used the symbol of chakra (wheel) and lion in his lion pillars.
  • An ancient Indian vedic name, singh means lion. Originally it was used only by a Hindu military caste or Rajputs. As per the wishes of Guru Gobind Singh, the Sikhs also accepted the name "Singh" after the birth of the Khalsa brotherhood. Today it is used by more than 20 million Sikhs all over the world together with millions of Hindu Rajputs and many other Hindu military groups. Before being adopted by the Sikhs, the title of the name Singh was used by the Rajputs. The lion also features as the vehicle or the carrier of the Hindu goddess of war, Durga, worshipped in and around the Bengal region.
  • For Sri Lanka's ethnic majority Sinhalese, the lion is symbolic. A sword-wielding lion is the dominant figure on the national flag of Sri Lanka.
  • The entry to the Lion-Rock of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya, was through the mouth of a stone lion. The feet of the lion can be seen today. It’s among seven World Heritage Sites.

Southeast Asia

  • In recorded history, lions were never local animals of Southeast Asia. Therefore the representation of lion in ancient Southeast Asian art is not from natural style as shown in Persian or Greek art counterparts, because artists who engraved the lion statue never saw the real lion. Indian culture influenced the reverence and the cultural depictions of lion as the powerful and noble animal in Southeast Asia.
  • In Southeast Asia, sculpture of a pair of lions is often found in temples as the guardian of the gate. The thrones of Bodhisattva and Buddha in Mendut and Kalasan Buddhist temples in ancient Java showed lion, elephant as well as makara. The sculpture of winged lion was also found in Balinese temples and in Penataran temple. Often the Balinese winged lion served as the base of wooden column or as the guardian statue.
  • In temples of Angkor sculpture of lion flanking access roads or the temple gate are common. Khmer lion guardian sculptures are common in Srah Srang, Pre Rup, Bayon, and Angkor Wat. As in ancient Java, the portrayal of lion in ancient Khmer art isn’t in natural style, more like an emblematic mythological animal originated from Indian Hindu-Buddhist art. In Thailand, a pair of lion sculptures is often placed in front of a temple gate. Since Thailand derived a number of its arts and aesthetics elements from Cambodian Khmer art, the Thai style of lion is similar to those of Cambodian.
  • In Myanmar, the sculpture of lion guard Buddhist temples, pagodas, and stupas in Bagan.
  • Singapore derives its name from the Malay words singa (lion) and pura (city).

Chinese and East Asian traditions   

  • In China, the common motif of lion was introduced by Buddhist missionaries from India. Although lions aren’t native to China, they appear in Chinese art and Chinese believe that lions defend human beings from evil spirits, hence the Chinese New Year lion dance to drive away ghosts and demons. In traditional Chinese architecture, lions are often used in statue. For example, in the Forbidden City in Beijing, two lion sculptures are seen in virtually every door entrance.
  • Lions feature conspicuously in the Tibetan culture with a pair of Snow Lions. The Snow Lions are perceived as protector entities. The Snow Lion is among the Four Dignities.
  • Lions feature conspicuously in numerous kabuki plays and other forms of Japanese traditional and legend tales.

Title of Political Leaders and Kings   

  • Different political leaders and kings in different times and cultures famed for brutality or courage were titled "the lion" – like
  1. The Al-Assad family ruling Syria takes its surname from the title Assad ("lion" in Arabic) of an ancestor.
  2. Lala Lajpat Rai, "The Lion of Punjab".
  3. Robert III, "The Lion of Flanders".
  4. Richard the Lionheart.
  5. Henry the Lion.