Deer Spirit Meaning and Finding Your Purpose

Deer painting in watercolor

Deer has been coming forward for me a lot lately so I thought I’d share a bit about the spirit meaning of this magnificent animal. Perhaps it will speak to you, too!

Like all animal guides, Deer has multiple meanings and I could go on for pages about it. For now, though, let’s explore Deer spirit meaning as it relates to soul’s purpose.

Connecting head and heart

This animal relates very strongly to two chakras in particular: Heart and Crown. Gentleness, innocence, nurturing, giving of oneself, and Love are some of the symbolic meanings of Deer in many traditions. All of these resonate very strongly with heart energy. And the antlers of the male deer symbolize the crown’s connection with Spirit. While pursuit of purpose involves all the chakras, this connection of heart and crown is especially significant. Deer can therefore be a powerful guide in the process of seeking one’s purpose.

It’s interesting to note that in English, another word for “stag” is “hart,” don’t you think? There are many examples in folklore of a hunter or prince being led deep into the dark forest by a mysterious stag, becoming lost and embarking upon a great adventure that eventually leads to love, wealth and happiness.

And that is what often happens when we begin to follow our h(e)art’s purpose.

Often we feel alone in the wilderness, at least at first. And we face many challenges and even demons and monsters along the way. Every hero of story and myth experiences their dark night of the soul, and it can truly be a place of woe and despair.

3 whitetail deer illustration

So as innocent as the Deer animal guide may appear to be (and innocence is indeed one of its symbolic meanings), taking it on as a totem is not for the faint of heart.

But there is immense wisdom to be found in myth. Inevitably, our hero meets up with helpers and guides along the way, and is given tools and wisdom to vanquish the forces of the dark and accomplish his task (the first step of which is often to realize that he has a task in the first place, and to find out where and what he needs to do!)

Letting go of attachments

On another note, purification is another huge symbolic meaning of Deer totem. And in fact, a large part of finding and pursuing Purpose often entails letting go of that which does not support it.

Here we want to take a close look at one of the shadow aspects of Deer: jealousy.

Male deer can be extremely jealous, which if you think about it makes sense, since during rutting season it’s a buck deer’s goal to gather together a harem of does and to mate with as many of them as possible. If he is successful at this, of course, his genes get to rule the next generation. But he has to not only fight with powerful rivals, but also guard against rogue bucks who will sneak into his harem and mate with the does while his back is turned.

So like nearly all shadow energies this one is here for a reason. When jealousy shows up in human relationships the underlying reason is typically fear of loss.

I’m not talking just love relationships here. I’m talking about any kind of attachment energy, where you cling to and/or defend a person or behavior or idea of how something should be. And what happens is that we fixate on that thing, we keep giving our energy to that instead of focusing on our connection with Light.

So one thing to consider if Deer keeps showing up for you, especially if you are experiencing some sort of dark night of the soul, or relationship issue, is what fixations might be present in your consciousness? Are you relating to the person as he or she really is, or some sort of projected belief about that person? Are you focusing on what you really want in your heart, or on what some part of you thinks you should want? Are you clinging to things that no longer serve you? Recognizing and releasing these fixations and attachments will help free you to get back on the path you seek.

Watch my new video for more about the spiritual symbolism of Deer

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Deer spirit meaning. If you’d like to hear more Deer spirit wisdom (including Deer’s connection with Christ energy), check out my newest animal spirit video here:

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

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Is Wolf your Power Animal?

I’ve been working on a series of Power Animal paintings in preparation for showing at the Hiawatha Music Festival Artists in the Round art & craft show next month in Marquette, MI. Thought I’d try another Wolf! Read on below for insight into Wolf as Power Animal.
Watercolor Wolf

Wolves are one of those animals that humanity both loathes and reveres. I think it’s because they represent very intense energy, which can be extremely empowering to work with but also frightening, especially if you’re not prepared for it.

Like most animal totems, Wolf has multiple meanings. Today I want to focus on Wolf as Hunter and Pathfinder. Wolf represents following your intuition and inner guidance, and taking action on it. So if you are seeking your Purpose and Wolf appears to you, pay attention!

As you know, Wolves are predators, tracking their prey by scent as well as sight and sound. They are highly intelligent animals. A pack of wolves will work cooperatively to bring down prey much larger than they are. Deer (and anything in the deer family, including elk and even moose) are their favorite prey. Deer are excellent runners. Bringing down such large animals requires speed, stamina and strategy. Once they have selected an animal to chase, they pursue it relentlessly until it is exhausted.

Wolf as a power animal can help us discover our inner Purpose, and guide us on our path towards it. One of the keys to doing so is to tap into our intuition, or inner knowing. As a wild animal, Wolf has all its instincts intact. Wolf and Dog were originally one; dogs are simply domesticated wolves. (And there is good evidence that the process of domestication was likely initiated by wolves, not humans!) If you feel a strong bond with Dogs, but are struggling with some aspect of your life, you may want to invite Wolf to walk beside you as well. Its sharper, wild instinct may help you in ways that Dog energy isn’t equipped to.

Yes, that wild instinct can be scary. As we tap into our intuition, we may find that it leads us into unfamiliar territory. In fact, it may tell us to do things that feel positively terrifying! This can make you doubt your own instincts. And in some situations, it’s possible for instincts to work against you – especially fear. In the wild, anything new is potentially dangerous. So we have a built-in distrust of change.

Wolf represents the power of tempering instinct with intellect (and vice versa). When you make a decision based on instinct, check in with your intellect first. Ask, “what is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” Then weigh the outcome against potential benefits. You can do the same thing with your logical decisions. Check in with your gut before jumping in. Learn to trust yourself. Like a wolf crossing a river in winter, you can tune in to those red-flag feelings that tell you to beware of thin ice.

 

In the painting above, I’ve tried to capture the Wolf’s intensity of focus. The Wolf’s direct stare can be frightening, but it is also compelling. Wolf can help us zero in on our Purpose, and pursue it without allowing ourselves to get distracted. As you work with Wolf energy expect your intuition to grow stronger. You will probably become more focused on your goals and more determined in your pursuit of them.  You may find that other people in your life resist this. Be sensitive to when they are being unreasonable, and when you might be getting a little ruthless or overstepping your role. If the latter, it might help to invite some Deer energy into your life.  Gentle Deer can activate your heart chakra to balance out an overabundance of Wolf hunting energy.  Or, focus on the nurturing side of Wolf for a while. Wolves are very family-focused. They spend a lot of time nurturing, playing with, and teaching their pups. If you’ve been working intensely for a while, try taking some time off to spend with your family, or seek out a teaching or mentoring role in your work.

Speaking of which, Wolf also tells us that we are stronger and more successful when we work together towards a common goal. Whatever your goal is, look around you. You are almost certain to find someone whose goals complement yours. Why not see how you can help each other out?

 

 

Did you enjoy this post? Christie

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, you will enjoy my newsletter, too. I share positive affirmations, spirit animal information and artwork, and spiritual insights for awakening souls. You will also get a free guided meditation to help you meet your Spirit Animal! Just hit the “follow” tab in the menu up top to subscribe.

Animal totem art reading: Fox and Spider

This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

Did you enjoy this post? Anne

This is another art reading I did for a fellow writer. Interpretation below (edited to protect her privacy)!

Fox totem animal reading

This little fellow took a LONG time to decide to show himself. Foxes are considered tricksters in many traditions, but I think that comes from their intelligence and ability to disappear into their environment in the blink of an eye. Not being noticed can sometimes be an advantage, and foxes are able to choose to be highly visible or invisible as the occasion calls for. In your own life, you can use this to your advantage as well. Sometimes it pays to watch from the shadows, or “shapeshift” – blending into your surroundings or into whatever society you are in at the time.

Fox  & Spider animal totem reading
This is the drawing I did during the original reading.

This fox is at home in its den. Home is very important to foxes. Once they leave the nest, young foxes will wander – sometimes for hundreds of miles – until they find a territory of their own. Then they stay in that home range for the rest of their lives, raising their young underground in dens. It may be important for you to make your home a place of refuge, and be sure you are allowing yourself time and space to relax there.

Finally, foxes are more or less nocturnal. As a creature of the night they are associated in many traditions with feminine energy. Don’t doubt your creative power and ability – nurture and protect your creative impulses until they’re ready to bring out into the world.

Like I said, it took a very long time for this fox to decide it was safe show up here. If you are dealing with trust issues at all (whether your own or someone else’s), you may need to cultivate patience and quietude. Practices that help you do this, such as meditation, yoga, or just walking in nature, can help.

There are a couple of other animal totems in this image. The deer showed up in the beginning, and stuck around long enough for me to include her shadow on the rock wall, but then took off again. Deer have some of the same ability to quietly disappear and camouflage themselves as foxes, so I think her presence may just underscore this quality.

The spider hung out long enough to be significant (although I kept feeling that there was something more, and eventually the fox showed up). A lot of people are afraid of spiders, but I don’t get a negative feeling from this one. The spider’s web is both exquisitely beautiful and practical. I think it’s a reminder of your constructive power to support yourself and weave beauty into your life in the process.

One final note – foxes are the most feline of the dog family. If you have a dog or a cat at home, watch them and learn from them – they will teach you important lessons about how to live your life!

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Deer Painting: Forest Spirit

Deer painting in watercolor
"Forest Spirit", watercolor deer painting

Last weekend we spent some time on a rural property we own in southwest Wisconsin.  One morning I bushwhacked to the far corner of the property to pick nettles and came upon two deer in the woods.  The doe looked at me curiously for the longest time, even after the buck had gone with a flash of white tail.

I’ve noticed that deer are often quite curious about human visitors to their domain.  Last Spring Equinox I attended an early morning ritual in the woods on Rib Mountain near Wausau.  On the way back down afterwards we came upon a similar small group of deer.  They, too, were extremely curious about these strange creatures on two legs and didn’t seem at all alarmed at our bemused chatting.  A cheeky red squirrel’s chatter, however, sent them bounding out of sight!

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