All male deer possess antlers, with the exception of the Chinese water deer, in which males have long tusk-like canines that reach below the lower jaw. The tines (forks) on the antlers create grooves that allow another male's antlers to lock into place. This allows the males to wrestle without risking injury to the face. Antlers start to grow in the Spring and grow through Autumn where they are used to fight for the right to mate with females. After mating season they are shed.
Females are generally lack antlers, though female reindeer bear antlers smaller and less branched than those of the males. In the first twenty minutes of a fawn's life, the fawn begins to take its first steps. Its mother licks it clean until it is almost free of scent, so predators will not find it. The fawn stays hidden in the grass for one week until it is strong enough to walk with its mother.
Deer in Legends
In Irish mythology Flidais (a Tuatha De’ Danann) is a Goddess of animals, woodlands and fertility. She rides in a chariot drawn by deer and has the ability to milk deer as if they were cows. The Cailleach Bheara takes the form of a deer and herds her deer down by the shore. Cernunnos is the God of nature, life and fertility. He has the head of a stag and body of a man. He is also referred to as the Horned God.
An epic from the Norse tradition tells of four stags of Yggdrasil that are described as feeding at the world tree. The stags likely represent the four directions or the four elements. Later in the poem there is mention of Eikbyrnir, a stag who lives atop Valhalla.
A deer is associated with the Goddess of the Hunt, Diana, or Artemis, depending on whether you are referencing Greek or Roman myths. One of Hercules Labors was to capture the Cerynian Hind (Hind is another word for Hart or Stag). The Cerynian Hind was sacred to Artemis. After capturing it and delivering it, he rededicated it to Artemis.
The deer is often seen as a symbol for the heart chakra. Thus it makes sense that Deer is associated with gentleness and compassion. Yet there is also strength and determination. While these two aspects may seem contrary, the power is in the blending of them. Deer shows power through kindness and a comforting word, not through force and aggression. Deer energy reminds us that we can transform negative energy with light and kindness, rather than force and resistance. However, remember, deer have an impressive set of antlers. Being gentle is different from being defenseless. Because deer lose their antlers and regrow them every year, Deer energy is also about regeneration. Learn from Deer how to shed what is no longer useful and regrow yourself into something more aligned with your true nature.
Key Words Gentleness, compassion, intuition, determination, regeneration.
Written by Thia