The meaning of the dream symbol: Lamb

A lamb may symbolize vulnerability and dependence - the child in you, that needs your love.

It may symbolize innocence - the beauty of yourself as you originally were, before the innocent joy of being gave way to the perplexing complications of doing, getting and achieving.

Is it a lamb for the slaughter; a sacrificial lamb (the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world)? This probably reflects a longing to be rid of guilt-feelings, but it may also signify that sins can be dissolved - if we learn to forgive both ourselves and others.


Moreover, because of its wool coat and easy manners, the lamb has provided man with warmth, milk and various other forms of physiological sustenance. Traveling back to biblical times, the lamb’s innocence and white fleece combine to serve as the ideal sacrificial animal to a mighty and benevolent God. Following this tradition, the early Christians called Jesus the Lamb of God, who suffered the sins of the world by sacrificing his own life in order to grant ALL righteous members of humanity a place in heaven, beside God. Consequently, the lamb in the dream landscape may represent a form of self-sacrifice which ultimately strengthens the living society of our peers. However, an entirely opposite interpretation may be offered. Hence, our Unconscious may be warning us against running with the herd and opting instead, for the complete establishment of our own unique identity. Even as spiritual men and women, we cannot be complacent in our individuality. We should never be ‘sheep’ led to the slaughter. Accordingly, we need to fully analyze any and all symbolism found in this complex and rather peculiar, lamb dreamscape. Offering ourselves to God, does not mean offering ourselves up to fanatical leaders.


The revelation to the Jews gave this symbol its full meaning. In the first place the lamb symbolized the Children of Israel who belonged to God’s flock, led to their feeding-places by their shepherds (political leaders).

A detailed study of these three rituals reveals the continuity of their symbolic meaning down to the smallest detail. Thus, the redemptive blood which Christ shed upon the Cross is not unrelated to the saving blood of the sacrificial lamb with which the Jews daubed their doorposts and lintels to ward off the powers of evil.

Both St John (19: 26) and St Paul (1 Corinthians 5: 7) bear equal witness that the death of Christ perfectly fulfils the sacrifice of the Passover lamb.

Nevertheless, when referring to Jesus as the Lamb, early Christians referred as strongly to another Old Testament prophecy, the mysterious passage in which Isaiah (53: 7 especially) foretells the suffering Messiah symbolized in the metaphor of the lamb led to the slaughter (see Acts 8: 32).

In the Book of Revelation, the Lamb stands on Mount Zion in the centre of the Heavenly Jerusalem. Basing himself upon a description of the Brahma-pura in the Bhagavad Gita (15: 6) almost identical with that of the Heavenly Jerusalem, Guenon suggests a kinship - purely phonetic - between the Lamb (Latin agnus) and the Vedic Agni, the god who rode on the back of a ram. The similarity is more than a piece of pure chance since, apart from Agni’s sacrificial character, both are seen as the light at the centre of existence, the goal of the quest for supreme Knowledge. This comparison of the Lamb with the Vedic fire-god emphasizes the solar, virile and luminous aspects of the Lamb. This is the Lamb’s leonine aspect, which is also displayed in the Book of Revelation which uses the word ‘lamb’ to denote Christ on twenty-eight occasions. Since, on the one hand, the Greek word used is not precisely the same as that employed in other examples and, on the other, this lamb displays its anger (6: 16ff.), makes war and wins victories (17: 14), it is not unreasonable to detect the influence of star symbolism (Aries, the Ram of the Zodiac). Be that as it may, earlier symbolism is still there, for this is a lamb which is sacrificed (5: 6, 9:12), the victim and even the Passover victim. This, however, is a return to the risen and glorified Christ and it reveals fresh harmonies: this Lamb has overcome Death (5: 5-6) and the powers of evil (17:14), it is almighty, divine (5: 7-9) and judge (6: 16).

It was doubtless to avoid all confusion in worship and belief which could arise from the similarity of symbols which led the Council held in Constantinople in 692 to give orders that Christian art should depict Christ upon the Cross in human form and no longer in the shape of a lamb, nor flanked by Sun and Moon.

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