The Symbolism of The Deer Totem

In Celtic myths, the deer had the reputation of being among the oldest animals. Its natural elegance associated it with arts, especially with poetry and music. For the Ancient Celts, the deer was the king of the fairies, a supernatural being who led the fairy troops, and chosen humans, to his kingdom in the woods, the realm of the fairies.

The doe personified femininity, elegance and discretion while the deer spoke to us silently but without any doubt of independence, pride and purification. The forest was the domain of the deer, and in this way assumed the protection of its creatures. Not surprisingly, the Celts related the deer to the virility and fertility of the warriors.

In the heraldic representations, the deer speaks to us of peace and harmony, and declares himself as one who will not fight except when provoked.

Both in the Celtic culture and that of the Native Americans, the deer has a special talent for locating medicinal herbs, earning a special respect and reverence in the life of the tribes and folklore. The image of a deer or dead deer with the stamp in its mouth has assumed a special meaning in the art world, symbolizing unrequited love, lost love, or sadness of love. A deer trampling serpents symbolizes victory over temptations.

For the Native Americans, the deer symbolized the tree of life, the sun’s rays, longevity and rebirth. It also represents a zodiac sign for all those born between May 21 and June 20. China has many symbols for happiness and good fortune, and the deer is one of them. Infact, in China, the words “deer” and “abundance” sound exactly the same.

Buddhists like to tell the story of their teacher’s first lesson when their sacred presence attracted even the wild animals of the region, especially the deer. The current place where this first teaching of Buddha is supposed to take place is called “The Deer Park”. In some Tibetan monasteries, disciples in the form of a Buddha deer appear on both sides of the wheel of the Dharma.

The Deer’s Defensive Mechanism

To defend himself, the deer activates his incredible perception. He is extraordinarily sensitive to its surroundings. At the slightest noise or strange smell, its alarm system goes off. The creak of a branch makes him disappear with a jump. When running, they can reach a speed of  72 kilometers an hour and can jump up to 2.5 meters in height.

The Deer As a Spirit Animal

The male deer is related to the mystic currents of the Yggdrasil (Cosmic Scandinavian Tree). Apparently, for the shamans, the deer, or specifically, its antlers, symbolize access to the nine worlds (that is, to the nine different levels of shamanic wisdom). The shamans used to decorate themselves with antlers of deer, when they reached the maximum level of wisdom ”      

                                                –              Forn Sidr-

A common advice of the Deer says that you should always handle situations that might arise and avoid procrastination because the longer you leave it undone, the worst it could become.

The Powers of the Deer are:

  • Grace
  • Force
  • Mildness
  • Renewal


  • Enemy: The snake
  • Complementary animal: owl
  • Green color
  • Association: Light and sun

The Wisdom of the Deer includes:

  • Ability to listen, speak gently and act tactfully.
  • Grace and appreciation of the beauty of balance.
  • Understanding what is necessary for survival.
  • Power of gratitude and of giving.
  • Ability to make sacrifices.
  • Connection with the goddess of the forest.
  • Alternative roads to a goal.

Another interesting feature behind the deer totem is that they are able to use their regenerative power. This symbolism is really linked to the meaning of the antlers. Each year its horns fall and grow back or regenerate. Just as a deer is able to regenerate its body, people born under this totem are able to get up after being pushed to the ground.

Sweetness, innocence, kindness, compassion.

The young deer as a spirit animal, comes into our lives to remind us to seek the sweetness that heals all wounds. Apply sweetness in your current situation and everything will be solved. It can come to show us the need to calm down and pay attention to the most sensitive aspects of life.

The Deer as a Spirit Animal teaches us to find the kindness of spirit that heals all wounds, to stop insisting that others change and to love and accept them as they are. The only true balance of power is love and compassion.

The deer as a spirit animal teaches us to be at alert, to interpret even the smallest changes in our environment and recognize threatening situations. The deer teaches us to use especially the sight and hearing sense to understand our environment and the people around us.

The individuals related to this animal are intuitive, and with a well-developed extrasensory perception. Sometimes their thoughts run very fast, and they seem not to be listening. The deer harmonize very well with their environment, but they are very sensitive to sounds or movements.

What do you do when you see a Deer?

If a deer crosses your path, then it could mean that you are a very compassionate, gentle and loving person. If you do not have these qualities, then find out if you need any problem that needs to be addressed. Are you facing a challenge in your life?  If you are feeling negative emotions such as anger, try letting go.


  • Wikipedia
  • The Game of Power Animals (Ed. Obelisco, Barcelona, 2011).
  • Some parts by Julia C. White © 1995-99. ISBN 1-888059-25-7

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