Animal Symbolism Series—Deer

This post is co-written by Sally Franklin Christie and myself. Sally and I began our blogs at the same time, and so we thought that we’d give this collaborative blog writing a try. She has an excellent voice and sense of humor that I adore. Check her out.


deerI have been holed up in the house for a few weeks, trying to recover from a bout of silly physical injuries, my cabin fever is evident in my recent blog posts.

Today, I put a walking harness on Havan, my CCI Dog and we headed out to the East yard. It was warm and bright, I took off my jacket and sat on it in the dry September grass and Havan lay at my side.

I became aware of a deer in front of our antique wooden shed and as it disappeared on the North side, I waited for it to reappear on the other side in the high grass.

It was a two point, young buck. He came out of the high grass as I expected and brought a female and two fawns.

Havan finally noticed and gave a low growl that is more like a cat’s purr, more felt than heard. I shushed her, I am sure she thinks the deer are dogs.

Deer come by in ones, twos, threes and thirteens, so seeing four was not a big deal.

The cool part of the encounter was that the family came close enough that I worried about them startling and possibly running over us as they fled. I’ve seen what happens when they run into cars and with my latest run of injuries a deer or two trampling me is the last thing I need. They lingered before moving away to the plum bushes at the further edge of the yard. One of the babies seemed to play with its shadow as it took little leaps.

Finally, the male headed off toward the Story Mill House across the road from us. The female stopped pulling at the plums and moseyed off with the fawns close behind.

Because I am not a farmer or rancher or greenhouse owner, the growing deer population does not bother me. I do not hunt, either. I consider them gifts from the Earth and I am thankful to receive them.


DEER is a symbol for Gentleness. Seeing a deer is often a sign to use compassion towards yourself, another, or a situation in your life. The eyes of a Doe are beautiful, kind and gentle and could melt the heart of anyone, no matter how hardened they are inside. Deer asks us to use loving kindness to help heal our wounded Spirits.

Since Sally saw a family of deer, I will venture to say that gentleness needs to be applied to a family situation in her life. And with the dog present at the sighting, that would also indicate to me that there are concerns of loyalty to one’s goals vs. the needs of the family or visa versa. Or perhaps she or someone in her family would be better off employing a gentleness of spirit to achieve a goal.

The image of the young fawn ‘playing with its shadow’ is very intriguing to me. The dappled coat on the fawn is a symbol for the light and dark which is part of our world. We all have a shadow part of our nature, which is represented by our unconscious mind. This is where we put things such as our weaknesses, shortcomings or painful memories. It’s the stuff we don’t want to look at. The unconscious is also the place of great creativity, so it’s not all bad.

Healing our wounds is imperative if we want to become whole. And with every layer pain that we heal, comes a measurable increase in our creativity, as well as joy, happiness and love. I personally did much healing work on myself and found that Dreamwork was an excellent way to bring what is hidden in the unconscious to the light of day. The unconscious mind is like an ocean—vast and bottomless, but the conscious mind is like a bucket of water in comparison, so it’s easy to see how important working with the unconscious mind really is.

I believe that Deer is an excellent totem to have for any type of healing work because of its gentleness of Spirit, which will go a long way to soothe the weary soul.

Photo by Sally Franklin Christie

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