The deer as an animal holds a special place in my heart. For me, they are a creature that speaks of home, which is not surprising considering I grew up next to forest along a bitter, windy coastline.
When I think of home, I think of the rolling waves crashing against the rocks, a fog that rolls in and blankets the expansive silent forest, silent except for the lone call of a stag. My upbringing may be my own, but I am not alone in holding deer in high regard.
These graceful creatures have been held in high esteem by many cultures and peoples throughout history. Their solitary nature amongst the trees of the world has given them spiritual significance to many, and they are the animal that, I would say, embodies the forest most.
The invocation of their spirit and their will has enchanted humanity’s waking selves and their dreaming ones as well, and their presence is one of meaning to us all.
Deer’s Meaning And Symbolism
The most common meanings associated with the deer are those of innocence. The deer is the playmate to the lost child, whether that be a real child or the inner child you have lost.
They represent the innocence in all of us and can bring that child to surface for those little moments in life that bring people, especially children, joy, like the wonder at seeing snow for the first time or the excitement of the first flowers in the spring. This innocence can also be a curse that can lead people and children astray, though not intentionally.
Deer can be seen to symbolize renewal, regrowth, and adaptability, with their behavior following the cycle of seasons.
They give birth in spring, feed together through summer, rut in the autumn, shelter through winter and begin the whole cycle again in the spring. Through their life as well, deer grow and shed antlers and different distinct coloring patterns, making this cycle all the more prominent.
As such, deer are seen as the symbol for finding new pastures and adapting to the world around you, while always being wary about the changes just around the corner.
As A Spirit Animal
Many times, in mythology and folklore, the deer has been presented as a guide and authority in the spirit realm and many gods have used the form of a deer to inhabit the mortal plane. This is no different with the deer itself as a spirit animal.
It comes to you with authority and shows you new opportunities or beginnings. However, it comes to you with a gentle and compassionate touch, reminding us of our goals, but imploring us to pursue them in a considerate manner.
To the deer, peace is the most powerful and important of goals, and it will attempt to teach you how to obtain it. Yet, the deer is also aware that there are those in the world who consider peace a hindrance at best, and so will caution you with vigilance and to be ever alert of people around you.
As A Totem Animal
Those born with a deer as their totem animal are often those you can trust. They have an innate understanding of life’s lessons and wisdom, appreciating all who have helped them in the past.
These people tend to be very gentle, while possessing a strength and fortitude rarely matched. Most people who have the deer as their totem are creatures of instinct, making moves or doing actions without forethought, yet due to their gentle nature they are rarely the wrong choice.
Thanks to these inclinations, people of the deer totem are exceptional listeners, often being peacekeepers amongst their friends and resolving many issues without conflict.
They frequently make efforts to initiate communal healing for the whole group as well, talking about all the different viewpoints they have heard before coming to a consensus.
Sometimes it can take them a while to make up their minds when these situations arise, but when they do, they are very hard to dissuade from their decision.
As A Power Animal
The deer is a fantastic power animal, especially in the mysticism or psychic arts. It becomes a guide which can navigate you through potentially dangerous situations without taking damage, or it can serve to guide you on how to resolve this situation peacefully.
The deer can also help you come more to terms with yourself, your own limitations, and help you reach a higher sense of self or important messages from the astral plane. These often dictate changes in your life or help in practicing clairvoyance, so it is best to pay attention when they come.
Deer’s Significance To Different Cultures
As well as being an indispensable spiritual guide and symbol of our spiritual selves, deer have also been significant in the mythos and legends of many different groups of people, especially to the Native Americans of North and South America, the Celtic peoples of the British Isles, and the Yamato people of Japan.
Even today, these groups of people hold the deer in high regard and have continued to speak of the legends these animals appear in as bedtime stories or in hushed voices.
In Native American Lore
There are many tales in Native American lore of the people once being deer themselves before slowly changing into humans.
There are even multiple tales of the ‘Deer Woman’ in northern tribes. She is a spirit whose relationship to you changes depending on how you behave. To all those who are respectful of women and children, she is kind and associated with love and fertility.
To all those who have harmed women and children, she is vengeance personified and is known to lure the unsuspecting to their deaths for their crimes.
Amongst the Native South Americans, deer are the caretakers of mother earth and are sacred to her and all. This sacred nature of the deer seems to be a theme throughout the Americas, as many across both continents would pray to deer for successful hunts and promise they wouldn’t wantonly kill, only taking what they needed.
In Celtic Lore
The deer is incredibly important to Celtic lore and spirituality. The animals themselves are often described in stories and tales, as fairy cattle that are under the guidance of benevolent, but still otherworldly women, be they gods or powerful spirits, who herd them for their milk.
This idea persists today where Cailleach Bhéara (The old woman of Beara) takes the form of and herds deer down by a shore. In Ireland, this is the Beara Peninsula, near the islands where the lands of the dead are, or at the tips of the Cliffs of Moher.
In Scotland, the Cailleach is most often seen on the isles and the mountains of Argyll and Bute. Either way, the Cailleach is associated with the creation of the landscape, the appearance of storms, and the season of winter.
There are many more tales that involve supernatural deer and their ability to move between reality and the fae realms – the tale of Oisin is one that springs to mind – giving the insular Celts a fascination with the animals.
In Japanese Lore
In the religion of Shinto, deer are the messengers of the gods and move between their realm and the mortal realm in order to deliver divine messages. This is said to have happened at Kasuga Shrine in Nara, where a white stag appeared from Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki, bearing a divine message.
They have been considered so important to Shinto that deer became the symbol of the city of Nara and freely wander the city’s parks and town, being used to people and unafraid of them.
Deer In Dreams
Compassion, gentleness, and guidance are the messages brought by deer in dreams. Often, it is about a higher power reaching out to nudge you in the right direction.
The deer can symbolize your need to incorporate more compassion in your life, without sacrificing your true self, while it can also mean you are coming to a point where decisions must be made, and you will need to use a gentle hand to make these decisions rather than going at them with force.
Deer Tattoo Meaning
Due to the differing natures of Does and Stags, there is a difference between each of the tattoo meanings. The idea of the Doe is one of gentleness, familial bonds, and kindness, while a Stag is a fertile, noble, and diligent animal.
These work in tandem to create a beautiful vision of the creature that embodies rebirth, benevolence, peace, love, and intelligence in the tattoo designs that range from Native American and Celtic tribal designs to more modern antler and deer skull images.
Thanks to many different aspects of the deer, you can highlight different emotions and concepts in your tattoo to make it appear more about that than anything else. For example, you could have a Doe with a fawn or a Stag looking over a cliff edge over their domain.
Deer Spiritual Meaning
Deer are one of the most widespread groups of animals, being on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
However, whenever we see one, it is a moment for joy and celebration, as they are shy and careful creatures that possess strong spiritual connections to this world and others. The spiritual meaning of your encounter with these amazing creatures could mean a lot of things.
They may be attracted to your energy, as they are aware of even the most subtle of energies around them. If they are, then it shows you are tranquil and gentle with a deep sense of inner peace. If they have come with meaning, they may bear a message.
These are often about trusting your intuition, taking an action but making it graceful, and being self-aware of your actions, especially to other people.
Deer In Astrology And Zodiac Signs
In the Native American zodiac, the Deer is the sign from May 21st to June 20th. The people who are born under the Deer sign are unifiers, who seek unity above all things. They are strong people who are not afraid of standing their ground, but also are incredibly gentle to those they care about.
Many are alert and wary, being light sleepers and cautious in unfamiliar surroundings. Due to this, sound is the way that signs and omens are given to you and by being familiar with the sounds around you, you can detect these signs.
Don’t ignore a sound omen. Most people born under the Deer see everyone as a potential friend, but once burnt or hurt by that potential friend, they are wary and will not allow themselves to be hurt a second time.
Summation Of Deer Symbolism
– Rebirth and Renewal.
– Peace and Tranquility.
– Gentle and Kind.
– Strong and Noble.
– Spiritual and Mysterious.
– Peaceful and Unifying.
– Loving and Family oriented.
The deer is held in a deep love by most cultures, and even most people view deer as beautiful and majestic. They have many different meanings across many different cultures, but they have spiritual traits that are considered universal.
All those who are born under their sign or guided by them in the ethereal realm are lucky, for they have a good spiritual energy and have attracted a caring and loving guide, who will help you to help yourself through trying and difficult times.
All those who have taken spiritual significance from a deer they have met, take heed of their guidance and be thankful for the encounter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Does It Mean To Dream About Deer?
Regularly, the deer in dreams are there to guide you through a problem you’ve been having. They have probably come to you as you are a gentle, compassionate person, and they wish to bring you peace and tranquility in your decision.
What Does It Mean To See A Deer In Your Yard?
Well, for one, lucky you! It is not often that a deer will come to a place of such dense human habitation with no worries. However, if you are looking for spiritual significance.
They have either come bearing a message about your next action or your intuition, or they are attracted to your wonderful spiritual aura. So, take heed of their appearance and go with your gut on the difficulties you are having.
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