The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers
March 29, 2024 11 min read

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

By Lady Saoirse

TL;DR- Learn all about the spiritual symbolism of tigers and what they mean in dreams. Find out what it means when the tiger is your spirit animal and how you can help endangered tigers.

 

In some parts of the world, be careful when you walk through the forest. If you feel a strong presence, but you can't see who is watching you, it might be the tiger. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, today the tigers numbers have dwindled down to under 6,000 in the wild. Tigers are known for their beauty and strength, and it's hard to deny that seeing a tiger on the hunt is terrifying. They mean so much more than just this, however. Join Spiritual Blossom as we explore the spiritual meaning of tigers. Learn what they symbolize, what they mean in dreams, and what it means for the tiger to be your spirit animal. Most importantly read on to learn how you can help endangered tigers.

 

What’s a Tiger?

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

Tigers are the largest cat species and they are known for their orange fur, black stripes, and white undersides. They are top predators, and prey on large animals like the wild boar and deer. Native to parts of Asia, tigers live in forests, in the tropics, and even snow. The largest tiger population in the world today is found in India. They range in size from a little over 200 pounds to weighing almost 700 pounds. In a lot of animal species, females are larger than males, but tiger males are larger than females. Cubs stay with their mother for a couple of years and then set out alone to make their own territory.

While tigers are known for their speed, running very quickly especially when they're hunting prey, they can also swim and climb. They sometimes travel hundreds of miles to find other tigers for mating, and males will migrate farther than females to create their own territory. The males take more risks, so they have a mortality rate of about 45% per year where the female tigers have about a 5% mortality rate per year. Some people think that only lions roar, but tigers do too. They do this during mating and a tiger mother will roar to call her cubs. Tigers are what you can call ambush predators, crouching and waiting in foliage or by watering holes until prey comes close enough for them to pounce. On average, tigers live up to 15 years, however some tigers have been known to live over 25 years in the wild.

 

The Spiritual Meaning of Tiger Symbolism

Besides being a powerful big cat, tigers symbolize great things spiritually. They are symbolic of being fierce and ferocious and they are symbols of strength. They also symbolize beauty and most surprisingly, they symbolize protection.

Ferocity

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

There's a Taiwanese folk tale about tigers. The story goes that tigers must eat a few children to become human. So, in the story, the tiger descends from the mountain, and hides out at the home of a family. It  waits until the mother leaves the brother and sister home alone and disguises itself as their aunt so they will let it in. It successfully eats the brother, but ends up being outsmarted by the little girl, who pours boiling oil down the tiger’s throat to defeat it. Parents would tell children stories of man eating tigers to convince them to behave! Another animal people are afraid of is the coyote and you can read about them here: Coyote Spiritual Meaning/ Their Symbolism and Lore (spiritualblossom.com)

Beauty

Because of their distinctive markings on their fur, tigers symbolize beauty, but their beauty is more than just on the surface of their fur. Those stripes are on their skin too! Beauty can be more than skin deep, however. Tantric Buddhists believe the stripes in tiger’s skin can transform anger into wisdom and wearing tiger skin while meditating protects from being lost on the astral plane. Tiger fat has been used as skin balm and it is also used as an aphrodisiac. The tail is used to cure skin ailments. Just don’t go looking for any of these remedies. These are found on the black market and are acquired by poaching tigers. Another creature in danger is the butterfly and you can read about them here: What Does a Butterfly Symbolize? (spiritualblossom.com)

Strength

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

Zhou generals in China used tigers to symbolize their strength and ruthlessness against enemies. Chinese mythology revered the ability to ride a tiger, and this symbolized strength. Buddhist saints, Taoist immortals, and genii are depicted as having tamed a tiger well enough to ride it. People born in the Year of the Tiger are natural born leaders who are brave, fighting for what they believe in, and never shrinking away from challenges or fears. The strength of the tiger is strong in them. Another creature known for its strength is the bear and you can read about it here: What Do Bears Mean Spiritually? (spiritualblossom.com)

Protection

Drummers in her Royal Majesty’s Royal Marines Band have been wearing tiger or leopard skins to protect their uniforms since the 1800’s, but in modern times, the skins have been replaced with synthetic ones so no animal’s body parts were used. During Chinese New Year, images of tigers provide protection, and male tigers were believed to battle malevolent spirits to protect the dead in ancient China. The fifth day of the month, and the fifth month in general were considered to be days that were especially dangerous and images of tigers were used to combat this. Door ringers had images of protective tigers on them, and tiger images adorned children’s shoes and hats to protect them.  Another creature believed to be protective is the black cat, and you can read about them here: The Magic and Superstitions of Black Cats (spiritualblossom.com)

 

 

Tiger Meaning in Dreams

Dreams about tigers can symbolize any of the things that they are known for. However, pay extra close attention to the details in your dream about tigers, because it will explain their deeper meaning. The white tiger means something different in dreams than the Siberian or the Bengal tiger. A dream about delightful tiger cubs will have a far different meaning. When you dream about a tiger sleeping it means something else.

Dreams About a White Tiger

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

In ancient China, it was believed that tigers turned white after being alive for 500 years, and then they could live to be 1,000 years old. White tigers symbolize long life. If you dream of tigers during a time you are worried about your health, the white tiger is probably reassuring you that you will survive an illness. If you want to know what job to take, dreams of white tigers tell you to take the job that is better for your health. Remember though, white tigers in nature are a mutation, and some people use unethical breeding practices to try to create white tigers. As a result, white tigers often suffer birth defects. A dream about a white tiger struggling with birth defects urges you to do things in ways that harmonize with nature. To read about dream interpretations, see here: Your Guide to Dreams and Interpretation of Them (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Siberian Tiger

Siberian tigers are creatures that reduce the number of wolves in their territory. They do this because the wolves compete with them for prey, and the tigers won’t tolerate that. When you dream about the Siberian tiger, you are being encouraged to squash the competition mercilessly. Now is not the time to be compassionate and sharing. Now is the time to look out for yourself and take every advantage to help you succeed. To read more about dream interpretations see here: Your Guide to Dream Meanings Part 2 (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Bengal Tiger

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

Bengal tigers take down prey much larger than they are including the rhinoceros, and even elephants. Dreams about Bengal tigers tell you that there is no challenge too big for you. If you're on a team that is tackling a very challenging project right now, take heart when you dream about the Bengal tiger. The dream is telling you that you can accomplish more than you ever expected. Don't let other people make you lose confidence either. While the Bengal tiger might seem too small to take down an elephant, it isn't. The sky is the limit to what you can accomplish, so don't let it yourself be discouraged when you dream about the Bengal tiger. To read even more about dream interpretations see here Your Dream Bible and Dream Analysis Guide (spiritualblossom.com):

Dreams About Tiger Cubs

Tiger cubs represent new beginnings and potential. If you dream of tiger cubs playing, your dream is instructing you to enjoy whatever it is that you're starting anew. If you dream of tiger cubs with their mother, you're being instructed to learn new things. If you dream about tiger cubs hiding, it means that new changes are about to come your way unexpectedly. If you dream about frightened tiger cubs, it means that you're afraid of changes and you should face them instead of letting fear stop you. Another creature that frightens people of snakes, and you can read about them here: Dreaming of Snakes- Meaning and Symbolism (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Sumatran Tiger

The Sumatran tiger is the last remaining tiger in Sumatra. All of the other tigers that were from there have become extinct. Dreams about the Sumatran tiger are about stamina and resilience. You are being called to be strong, even if you are the last one standing. You have the ability to beat out the competition and win. If you dream about a Sumatran tiger running away, you are being told that it is in your best interest to leave a situation that could destroy you. If you dream about a Sumatran tiger standing its ground, stick around because nothing can defeat you. Sometimes you do have to let go and you can read about that here: The Ultimate Guide on How to Let Someone Go (spiritualblossom.com)

Dreams About a Tiger Sleeping

Sleeping tigers represent peace. If you dream that you have walked into a tiger’s den while it is sleeping, the dream is telling you that when you are in the presence of those who do not wish you well, remain silent in their presence and psychically shield yourself around them. If you dream that you are a sleeping tiger, you are being called to embody all of the powerful things that tigers symbolize in your personal life, in your career, and in public. If you have a dream that you are sleeping with tigers peacefully, it means that you have a spiritual connection with the tiger. To read about dreams of spiders see here: Dreams About Spiders- Meaning and Symbolism (spiritualblossom.com)

 

What Does it Mean When the Tiger is Your Spirit Animal?

Some people believe in spirit animals, but what is a spirit animal? Spirit animals are animals that we have a spirit connection with, and they teach us all their strengths. When the tiger is your spirit animal it teaches you to be fearsome, especially toward people who wish you harm. It teaches you to be very protective of the people who you love, especially the people who rely on you to take care of them. They teach you to know your strengths and to use them to your advantage. That's going to mean discarding bad habits and replacing them with better habits sometimes. The tiger spirit animal also teaches you to make the most of your unique beauty, and that beauty is not just skin deep. Who you are as a person and the beautiful things that you create in the world are all a part of your beauty as well.

One way that people learn from their spirit animal is to be in its presence. This isn't always safe with the tiger. So, maybe you can visit the big cat section of your local zoo, or just read about the tiger to try and get the blessings of its lessons. A lot of people don't live anywhere in the world where there are tigers in nature, and not everybody lives near a zoo they can visit often. So, being in the presence of a tiger might be difficult. If you have this problem, that's ok because you can connect with the tiger through meditation. Have something in your hand like a picture, or a carving that is a representation of a tiger and sift comfortably, opening your awareness completely. Focus on allowing your consciousness to go someplace where the tigers are and imagine yourself being surrounded by them. Remain in this meditative state for as long as you need to get messages from the tiger.

 

Are Tigers Endangered?

The Spiritual Meaning of Tigers

Could such a powerful creature be endangered? Unfortunately, tigers are. It is estimated that there are under 6,000 tigers remaining in the wild. Loss of habitat and being hunted by poachers are the two major threats the tigers face. Most of the decline of their species has happened and the past 10 years, but we don't have to sit back and watch all the tigers become extinct. There are things that you can do to help. You can vote for tougher laws to prosecute poaching of tigers. You can also work with conservation groups to help free up more natural territory for tigers. You can reach the World Wildlife Fund for more information and to donate or to adopt tigers here:  Tigers: Endangered Species Facts, Info & More | WWF.CA

 

The tiger represents the fragileness of nature and the harm mankind can do even if it's unintentional. Tigers represent beauty, ferocity, strength, and protection. When the tiger is your spirit animal it teaches you how to protect yourself,  disappearing into the background when you need to. They also teach you to embrace your nature, no matter how threatening somebody else might find you to be. Dreams about tigers can bring powerful truths to you, so pay close attention to their messages in dreams. May all of your encounters with tigers be meaningful. So Be It.

 

About the Author:  Lady Saoirse has studied magic and lore for most of her life but started walking her own Magical Path after being spiritually reborn in the desert. Today she is a High Priestess for The Temple of the Goddess, she is a psychic advisor and spiritual counselor, she shares her gifts as a Psychic and Content Writer for Spiritual Blossom, and she writes for The Green Egg. She has written for Mysticsense and PaganPagesOrg emag.