By Ina Woolcott
Deer’s medicine includes gentleness in word, thought and touch. The ability to listen, grace and appreciation for the beauty of balance. Understanding of what’s necessary for survival, power of gratitude and giving, ability to sacrifice for the higher good, connection to the woodland goddess, alternative paths to a goal.
In the Celtic tradition, there are two aspects of deer – female and male. The Hind (the red female deer), called Eilid in the Gaelic language, symbolises femininity, subtlety and gracefulness. The Hind is believed to call to us from the Faery realm, tempting us to release the material trappings of so-called ‘civilization’, to go deep into the forest of magic, to explore our own magical and spiritual nature. The topic gentleness is part of this tradition. Many stories tell of Hinds changing into women, often goddesses, to protect does from being hunted. The lesson to be gleaned here is that when we explore magic and spirituality, it must be with good intention, to harm no living being, but to enter the realm of the wild things in the spirit of love and communion. The Stag, Damh in the Gaelic tongue, is also linked to the sacredness of the magical forest. The Damh represents independence, purification, and pride. It is known as the King of the Forest, the protector of its creatures. For time immemorial people have sought to identify with the stag by ceremonially wearing antlered headdresses and imitating the deer’s leaping grace.
Both Celtic and Native American hunters prayed to the deer to give them a good hunt, and in return promised to take no more than was essential for the survival of the tribe. This helps remind us that our spirit of gentleness and unconditional love should extend to all species, not only our own.
Maybe the most effective way to summarize the lessons of these beliefs, is to say that only when we move through life in the spirit of love for all beings can we melt the barriers that separate us from others, from other life forms, and from the beautiful mystery which is our own magical and spiritual gift.
By observing the ways in which deer behave, it is possible to see what amazing qualities – or powers – they possess. From the deer we can learn that the gift of gentleness and caring can help us overcome and put aside many testing situations. Only love, both for ourselves and for others, helps us understand the true meaning of wholeness.
If a deer crosses your path, this may show you that you are a very compassionate, gentle and loving person. If you don’t have these qualities, then consider if you have a problem that needs addressing. Are you facing a challenge in your life, whether with a fellow human being or a delicate situation? If you are feeling negative emotions such as anger, try letting go. Think about whether a gentler and more loving approach can sort the issue out. It may be necessary to speak the truth, this is best done with kindness and from the heart, this will generally give a better result.
Deer teaches us how powerful it is to be of gentle demeanour, to exert keen observation and sensitivity. Deer’s are in tune with nature and all it comprises. They are sacred carriers of peace and show those with this power animal how to open their hearts and love unconditionally.
Frequently twins or even triplets are born in the spring. Females and males reside in separate groups until the mating season. White-tailed deer are rather sociable, and family members forage food together along with other family groups, which gives the appearance of a large herd. Fawns are born a colour that protects them, camouflaging them from a predator’s sight. In the first few days of their life they hardly move, until their energy field is strong and grounded. They then stand up and begin to follow their mother around. A magical sight to behold is fawns coming out of forests, following their tenderly protective mothers. Even when grazing, the mothers are constantly watchful, fully aware and alert of what is going on all around them. They travel through forest and field with deliberateness and clarity, mindful of the fragile creature they nurture and protect. There is a powerful lesson to be learned here by us. Though we are born with an inborn ability to be unconditionally loving, often we are born to parents whose life experiences have taught them to become hard, and to lose that ability to experience and give unconditional love. Watching the deer and her babies is a reminder to honour and respect the child-like innocence within your self and go about your life with gentleness and an open heart. You should also stand strong on your path, in your beliefs, and not allow yourself to get distracted by outside influences.
Deer has entered your life to help you walk the path of love with full consciousness and awareness, to know that love sometimes requires caring and protection, not only in how we love others, but also in how we love ourselves.
A deer’s senses are very acute and they see extremely well in low light, giving them the ability to understand the deeper symbolic meanings of things. They can hear a twig snap a very long way off. People with this power animal are often described as being swift and alert. They are intuitive, often seeming to possess well developed, even extrasensory perceptions. Sometimes their thoughts seem to race ahead, and they appear not to be listening, to be somewhere else. Anyone with power animal has latent clairvoyant and clairaudient abilities. They can see between the shadows, detect subtle movements and hear that which is not being uttered. Ask the deer to help you develop these true gifts.
The set of antlers grown by the male deer are antennae that connect it to higher energies. If you come across a deer in the wild, try to count the number of points on their antlers. This number is associated with numerology and can carry great significance for those with this power animal.
Deer teaches us to be gentle, to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings who are in our lives. Don’t push people to change, rather gently nudge them in right direction, with the love that comes from deer. Love and accept people as they are. The balance of true power lays in love and compassion.
When a Deer totem enters your world, a new innocence and freshness in about to be awakened. New adventures are just around the corner and there will be an opportunity to express the gentle love that will open new doors for you.