Animal Wisdom: Connecting People and Animals

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The Elements: Deer and Spirit

The alchemy of spirit binds the other four elements together. The spark of spirit unites with the elements to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Without spirit, each element would remain inert. However, spirit does more than add spark, it also keeps the elements in balance so that none could harm us. Too much air destroys trees. Too much fire creates a lifeless world. Too much earth will suffocate us. Too much water floods us. In return, the four physical elements balance spirit. Too much spirit makes us insubstantial and ungrounded.

Deer (Red)
With his impressive rack of antlers, the red deer makes an awesome sight. His power and agility makes the red deer, a challenge to hunt. For that reason, the Europeans regarded him the “Lord of the Forest.” For many chieftains and kings, to bring him down was proof of their power. Because of his regal bearing and grandeur, the red deer became a part of European religions. Because of his connection with ancient lives, the red deer brings the old religions alive.

Stag worship has ancient roots. To the people of the Black Sea and Anatolia, he was a god of fertility. For the Celts, the stag was associated with Cernunnos, the Lord of the Animals. The stag was also the one of the earliest representations of the “Horned God” (the male spirit). In many myths, the stag signified a great change in a person’s life. A white stag initiated a series of challenges for a person to overcome. Then he became the one to guide the person through changes.

The Celts regarded the hind to be a fairy creature who could pass between worlds. Upon seeing a white hind, the seeker would be guided safely into the forest towards the gates of the Otherworld and beyond. The hind were “fairy cattle.” They were also guides for people when life seemed chaotic and illusionary.

Copyright of photoOlivier Deme

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Virginia Carper, a Roman Polytheist, lives in the Washington D.C. area with her family. She navigates life with a traumatic brain injury which gives her a different view on life. An avid naturalist since childhood, she has a blog called “Nature’s Observations.” Having experienced the animals directly, she teaches on-line classes about the spiritual and natural aspect of animals. She has published articles on her brain injury, Roman polytheism, and working with extinct animals. In addition her writings on animals (including dragons and other mythic creatures) can be purchased her book site, Animal Teachers.  


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