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Animal Symbolism

Deer Spirit Animal Meaning: Symbolism & Dreams

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Written by: Tina Caro

The deer is a totem animal held in high regard in the shamanic culture. Let’s learn more about the meaning of a deer as a spirit animal.

A lot of men rely on this animal when they want to receive some of its powers. The American Indians have the richest history related to the deer and totem animals in general. In many other cultures also the deer has been and still is used as a totem and guide.

This article was recently updated. I added additional explanation and included new subsections.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

The deer carries various spiritual meanings across different cultures and traditions. It often symbolizes gentleness, grace, and sensitivity due to its calm and elegant demeanor.

In some Native American beliefs, the deer represents harmony with nature and the ability to listen and adapt to one’s surroundings.

In Celtic symbolism, the deer can represent transformation, as seen in its seasonal shedding of antlers, signifying the cyclical nature of life and renewal.

Overall, the deer embodies qualities of intuition, peace, and connection to the natural world in many spiritual contexts.

Meaning of a Deer as a Spirit Animal

The deer is an animal rich in symbolism, linked both to the instinctive strength of the body and the spirit, then to the power of sexuality, to calm and fertility.

This last characteristic is due in particular to its horns, which express the continuous renewal of life, the process of death and rebirth.

The horns are renewed every year, they fall after the mating period in winter and be reborn in the spring with all of their might. This symbolizes the increase in strength and age.

Although it is perceived as a peaceful animal, it still remains wild and difficult to tame. That is why, when it appears to us in a dream, it refers to instinctive impulses. While advancing towards its competition with its silent step, in solitude, it does not draw back before the struggle, especially when it comes to conquering a female. At that moment it shows off its majestic horns, similar to branches, colliding with other rival males to conquer the primacy.

TraitsDescription
GracefulElegant and poised in movement
SensitiveHighly attuned to emotions and energies
IntuitiveTrusts instincts and relies on inner wisdom
VigilantAlert and cautious, always aware of surroundings
PeacefulBrings a sense of tranquility and harmony
Table 1: Deer Spirit Animal Traits

The horns are undoubtedly the fascinating part of the deer. This animal has been associated with the sun thanks to the radiant power of its horns, which similar to branches are useful for camouflage in the forest.

It is also associated with the tree of life because as the horns rise towards the sky, act as a link between the earthly world and the spiritual one. From this point of view, the deer rises as a figure of union (and passage) between the two worlds, contributing to the union of opposites, advancing between the here and not here.

Depicted even next to the Buddha, who is said to have reincarnated in a previous life in a gilded deer. This graceful and elegant animal is also connected to the alchemical Mercury, a psychic substance that acts as an intermediary, forming a bridge between the conscious and the unconscious, giving us the extraordinary possibility of illuminating interiority and allowing our profound self to manifest itself.

 

Also read:
A List of 5 Deities That are Associated with Deer [With Stories]

Video about the symbolic meaning of deer

Deer Symbolism

SymbolMeaning and Significance
GentlenessGrace, kindness, and sensitivity
IntuitionDeep connection to instincts and intuition
VigilanceAlertness and awareness
SpiritualityConnection to the spiritual realm
InnocencePure and gentle nature

Deer Symbolic Meanings in Different Cultures

CultureSymbolic Meaning of Deer
Native AmericanSpirituality, sensitivity, and guidance
CelticIntuition, harmony, and transition
ChineseLongevity, good luck, and prosperity
JapanesePeace, serenity, and gentleness
GreekRenewal, transformation, and divine feminine energy

In the Celtic Culture

The Celts considered the deer as a supernatural animal that belongs to the Mother Goddess, associated with the cult of fertility. Numerous Celtic mythological figures are connected with this animal: from Flidais, Oisin to Sadbh.

goddess Flidais
Goddess Flidais

In particular, Cernunnos, the god of the forest animals, was represented with the stag’s horn on its head, symbolizing the celestial light ready to be radiated everywhere. This divine being together with the goddess of the hunt Flidais, portrayed in a deer-drawn cart had the task of gathering the souls of the dead to take them to the afterlife. In this perspective, the deer is also associated with Samhain, a moment of transition between the two worlds.

Apparently Cernunnos was a pre-Celtic divinity with a shamanic origin, worshiped throughout the Indo-European continent. In all of its portrayals as a protagonist, it is shown that most of the time it is surrounded by numerous animals, which is why it receives the nickname “Lord of the animals”.

Gundestrup_Cernunnos
Cernunnos

Besides, it is also recognized by the strange serpent with ram’s horns. Another thing for which Cernunnos is recognized as mentioned before for the deer horns, as a symbol of rebirth/regeneration, hope and abundance, and for the torque hold in its hand, as a clear symbol of royalty.

In fact, the stag was also considered as a symbol of vigor, fighting strength, solitary pack leader who in case of need knew how to fight and lead.

The Celts always considered the deer to be “fairy bulls”. They used to create talismans in the shape of deer horns and were using its horns and skin for decorative purposes. On the other side, the doe is linked to the lightness, to the nose, to the ability to change shape and is the one that leads the hunters in the mysterious forests in search of otherwise invisible fairy places.

Particularly the white deer, a very rare sacred creature, is associated with the god Lugh, the god of the sun, light, and sky; a symbol of those who began the mysteries of life and death, having passed the tests of metamorphosis and renewal of personality. Lugh symbolizes the union between the chaotic forces of the shadow and the luminous forces of the order and the white deer, in this perspective, is a divine messenger.

god lugh
Lugh. Photo by: Mythical Ireland

Christian Symbolism of Deer – Biblical Meaning

The deer is very often mentioned in the Bible. It has become a symbol of Christian iconography and is especially used on baptismal fonts. Its meaning, in this case, refers to the soul of the faithful who drinks from the only source of authentic life.

The loss of the boxes that are miraculously regenerated in the spring was instead associated with the resurrection of Christ. This is why the deer is considered the one who rises from its ashes after giving its life through death.

In addition to the association with Christ, this animal is often connected with different saints, starting with Saint Patrick, who in order to escape from king Loegaire turns into a deer.

You can read more about the story here.

saint patrick and loegaire
St Patrick meets King Lóegaire to ask permission to preach Christianity. Photo by: irish-genealogy-toolkit

A magical creature, capable of opening access to other worlds.

The deer connect us with the spirits of the forest and show us alternative paths to our goals.

The Deer is friendly and affable, it is also an accomplished conversationalist. It loves being among friends and does not cease to communicate its joy and desire to live, although it can be a bit self-centered and narcissistic. This means that if you channel your energy negatively, you will become irresponsible, impatient, and double-sided.

The deer is the quintessential shamanic animal; it moves between worlds and usually accompanies the shaman-druid on its trips to the other world.
In fact, the ritual importance of the deer is confirmed in the widespread custom of the “cerium facere” or imitation of the deer by means of a mask and antler thereof.

The deer chooses to be a guide for the souls who have set out to learn to enjoy direct contact with nature, appreciating and protecting all the species that inhabit it, becoming veterinarians, biologists, ecologists, botanists and other occupations related to the restoration and protection of natural ecosystems. With all of them, it shares its strength, persistence, and capacity for renewal.

Deer as an Animal Totem

The deer as an animal totem is chosen since ancient times. Men have often relied on it as a symbol of some advantageous characteristics. To better analyze why the deer is chosen as a totem, besides all of the other animals, it is necessary to see what are its characteristics.

This animal is associated with the instinctive force, both instinctive strength of the spirit and instinctive force of the body. Additionally, it is believed that the deer is associated with the sphere of sexuality, in particular with fecundity.

When describing the deer as an animal totem, we should not forget to emphasize the importance of its horns. The horns of this animal, in fact, renew every year. The annual renewal is considered as a symbol of the renewal of life.

Spiritual Meaning of Hitting a Deer

Hitting a deer means destroying the part of us that is gentle, caring, and wise.

Deer as a Guiding Animal

A deer connects us with the forest’s spirits and shows us alternative paths to our goals.

It is friendly and pleasant, and it is also an accomplished conversationalist.

It loves being among friends and does not cease communicating its joy and desire to live, although it can be a bit self-centered and narcissistic.

You will become irresponsible, impatient, and double-sided if you channel your energy negatively.

The deer is the quintessential shamanic animal; it moves between worlds and usually accompanies the shaman-druid on its trips to the other world.

The ritual importance of the deer is confirmed in the widespread custom of the “cerium facere” or imitation of the deer using a mask and antler.

The deer chooses to guide the souls who have set out to learn to enjoy direct contact with nature, appreciating and protecting all the species that inhabit it, becoming veterinarians, biologists, ecologists, botanists, and other occupations related to the restoration and protection of natural ecosystems. With all of them, it shares its strength, persistence, and capacity for renewal.

Usually, those who are born under the Gemini zodiac can choose the deer as a guiding animal.

Of course, all of the other signs can choose the deer as a guiding animal. Selecting an animal as a guide animal means wanting to rely on it and let it guide you in particular moments of your life.

During its lives, deer are looking for the best source of water to drink from and the greener lawns to eat from, so those who choose it as a guiding animal will be encouraged to do everything to improve their lives and focus, day after day.

We have said that a deer, seen as an animal totem, indicates a desire to avoid daily routine and make new experiences.

If you want to connect with this spirit animal, you can do it during meditation and dreaming.

Besides that, you can use some figure representing a deer to attract its energy but also as a way to honor its majestic, eternal, and robust beauty.

If you are a sensitive person looking for wisdom, guidance, and a brand new journey towards the higher version of yourself, the deer spirit animal can be the perfect guide to do so!

A Deer in Our Dreams

In a dream, the deer symbolizes the instinctive aspects mentioned before and the need for a vital and spiritual force that will support us in the choices we made without having our fears to limit us.

Dream ScenarioInterpretation
Seeing a deerIntuition, grace, and sensitivity
Being chased by a deerNeed for gentleness and self-care
Petting a deerConnection to nature and peacefulness
Deer with antlersStrength, protection, and personal power
Deer running freelyFreedom, agility, and the pursuit of passions
Table 4: Deer in Dreams Table

The doe on the other side has these qualities plus many others, starting from female grace: If the deer appears in a man’s dream it suggests that this man should accept feminine/yin parts; those related to intuition and emotion, while inviting the woman to keep an instinctive feminine force under control, bringing it to equilibrium with the male parts/yang, or the animus junghiano.

If the deer appears in a dream as a calf, it brings tenderness and sweetness to the dreamer who represses these qualities in everyday life.

Deer is an animal that symbolizes physical and spiritual strength, instincts, and sexuality. It is a sign tied to the earth and the sky because of its imposing horns. We cannot fail to mention the deer in the guise of Christ, which could influence the meaning of dreams.

What does it mean to dream of a deer? Dreaming of a deer certainly is not an ordinary dream, on the contrary, it represents the tenacity of those who struggle to find their love, working opportunities, but at the same time need calm and tranquility.

For Jung, the deer is one of the symbols that recalls the archetype of the old sage, and at times the archetypes Anima and Animus.

About
Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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