Towards the end of last year I was privileged enough to see a deer. I was at a nature reserve and we had pretty much finished for the day and were heading to the cafe down a long straight path with trees either side. As we turned onto the path, a way ahead of us stood a deer on the path, just staring at us. It didn’t seem frightened, more perplexed. It jumped away gracefully. Then, as we got closer to where it had been, it reappeared to peer at us. It was a magical moment and it was only after a short while of us all looking at each other that I remembered I had a camera on my knee. Obviously at this point the deer moved! It was one of those hold your breath moments and it felt so special.
My experience is nicely summed up in this page from A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld.
There are around 90 species of deer, including the elk which we have already looked at although the deer you are probably most familiar with is likely to be Bambi!
This little cutie illustrates a few aspects of the deer; they are gentle, playful and curious creatures.
Deer have an excellent sense of smell and great hearing. The large eyes which pull on our hearts see sudden movement easily but find it hard to pick out static objects. If you’re lucky enough to see a deer, staying still is best. Are you seeing what’s right in front of you?
These graceful dancers can move through forests silently which suits their timid nature. Despite this shyness, they are inquisitive creatures and seem comfortable around others (providing they don’t pose a threat of course). Indeed on Japan’s Yakushima Island, deer live closely with monkeys, helping each other out; deer eat fruit which the monkeys drop from the trees, and the monkeys groom and sometimes hitch a ride on the deer.
Contrary to their appearance, deer are much sturdier than they look. Their spindly, flimsy looking legs might not seem like much but they allow the deer to run incredibly fast, to jump and they can give a nasty kick. This gentle strength can be a reminder to us that there are different ways to approach a fight and appearances can be deceptive.
As we saw with the elk, antlers and horns can be considered a link with the heavens and in Japan, deer are sometimes considered messengers from the gods. There is a correlation between antler size and feeding – you need nourishment to build your antlers and hence your connection to the spiritual world.
These peaceful grazers are creatures of routine and symbolise nurture, kindness and simplicity. Open up your heart to this loving animal, let them feed your soul and nurture your very being.
Wild Unknown Tarot
I love this family of cards. The daughter of pentacles with her innocence, the son who is heading on slowly but surely, the father standing proud and tall with his success. But it is the mother that I have the most respect for. She is motherly, nurturing, loving and kind but she avoids being overly protective of her young. A reminder that we all need room to explore and grow and we do this best when we have a secure base to return to.
All of these cards are pentacles and as such are all down to earth and grounded.