A mystical and magical creature said to build its nest in the mountains and line it with gold and attributed as an attribute of understanding the relationship between psychic energy and cosmic force, as well as being the guardian to the pathway to spiritual enlightenment. This solar hybrid creature, combines the head, claws and wings of an eagle with the body of a lion, symbolizing rulership of air and land and together making a double emblem of the Sun’s power and usually shown next to a ‘tree of life’ or similar symbol as the guardian of the sun and seasons.
The Griffin has been a forceful motif since the second millineum BCE in western Asia, later in the Middle East, Greece and eventually Europe. It was a Hebrew symbol of Persia, had demonic significance in Assyria, but seems in Crete to have played a protective role in palace decoration. In Greece, where the griffin was sacred to Apollo, to Athene as wisdom and to Nemesis as retribution, legend said they guarded the gold of India and of the Scythians. In early Christianity iconography the griffin was used to symbolize the forces of persecution, vengeance or hindrance. But from the 14th century it emerges as an emblem of the dual nature of Christ – human and divine – and of courageous vigilance, which was its usual meaning in heraldry.