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.
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.
The horns are undoubtedly the most 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.
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.
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.
If the deer appears in a dream in the form of a calf, it brings tenderness and sweetness to the dreamer who evidently represses these qualities in everyday life.
Deer is an animal that symbolizes physical and spiritual strength, as well as instincts and sexuality. It is a sign that is tied to the earth but also to 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 have the need for 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.
Deer Symbolism 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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 the 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. Which 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.
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 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. As a symbol of some advantageous characteristics, men have often relied on it. 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
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. Choosing an animal as a guide animal means wanting to rely on it and let it guide you in particular moments of your life.
We have said that the deer, seen as an animal totem, indicates a desire to avoid daily routine and make new experiences.
The best moments to approach your animal guide are when doing meditation and when dreaming.