Animal totems are symbols used throughout Aboriginal/Indigenous and Native American religious traditions. These cultures are deeply rooted in the sights and sounds; visions and voices of Nature. Their Pantheistic subtleties shape an ethics of living in harmony with the Sacred. Animal totems suggest a dimension of reality where people and animals, rocks and plants, rivers and fish, seasons and weather exist in synergy as one integrated whole. Indeed, animal totems are one piece in the mosaic of the emerging signs and symbols of ecospirituality.
I respect comparative religions as a foundation of interfaith theology and my ministry. The beliefs of a culture as reflected in it’s collective psyche and ethics are transmitted and sustained within myths, legends, signs and symbols. Totems offer glimpses and sometimes just shadows of another way or the other worldly.
To that end, consider the deer totem which has taken on significant meaning for me since the sudden death of my best friend several weeks ago. The deer is one symbol representing the profound transformation of our 27 year friendship from life through death to legacy.
Deer represent the spiritual realm.
The symbolic meanings of the deer honor a synergy of soft, gentle qualities with strength, determination and perseverance.
Deer have the flexibility to move through life’s obstacles with grace.
They understand both innocence and threat. Sensitive and intuitive with a keen sixth sense, deer are ever vigilant with the ability to change directions quickly.
Deer blend in with ease. They are humble. Deer help discern what actions should be taken with speed and agility.
They have special connections with children and persons with special needs.
They can touch the hearts and minds of the wounded without pushing change… rather gently nudging toward the better direction.
They are excellent mothers as they innately nurture yet benevolently defend with watchfulness. Deer are keenly sensitive to outside influences and often direct what happens behind the scenes with ease and serenity in chaos.
Deer are associated with the magical abilities to regenerate and are said to be in touch with life’s mysteries.
Their tranquility calms, soothes and satisfies.
*This post is dedicated to the spirit and memory of Sharon L. DeLuca. Rest in peace, my friend, until we meet again.