Animals of all species have been our constant co-habitants on earth. We cannot avoid recognizing emotions, motives and behaviours they exhibit as somewhat like our own. Throughout history, animals have been assigned mythological, political, spiritual, emotional and social significance by humans.
In dreams, animals often represent parts of ourselves that carry the particular characteristics of the animal portrayed. If you dream of your own pet, it could easily be the pet itself that is being referred to, but an animal unknown to you, whether wild, tame or domesticated usually signifies some instinctually and emotionally energetic aspect of oneself that needs attention. Animal appearances in dreams put us in contact with evolutionary aspects of consciousness that are still relevant to our lives, although not always in the forefront of our daily consciousness.
In the examples of two dreams (appearing a year apart) of lion images [view dreams] we see an illustration of the 'lion', a passionate, proud, powerful and injured part of the dreamer, and then, later, a transformation of the uncontrollable energy into a source of creative adaptation in society. An injured lion cannot be healed by the efforts of the dreamer in the first dream, so runs off and away–out of control, and possibly dangerous. The humiliation represented by the injury and the anger by the wild runaway lion are emotions that need attention in the dreamers' life in order to avoid impetuous rage or acting out.
In the second dream, we see the dreamer engages in social conventions like theatre and dinner, has worked with a therapist, and has arrived at a 'second level' of conscious control of emotions and impulses. When there seems to be a hint of being ignored or forgotten, instead of acting hurt, as she might have done a year ago, the dreamer creates her own two lion figures. The dreamer has gained a certain personal confidence and pride in herself and has become the owner of her personal dignity and pride rather than relying on acceptance from others.