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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in deer

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Deer People Have Come

In the dream, the coven has gathered, ready to begin the Rite of Samhain.

Night has fallen. Turning, I see deer on the hillside: first two, then more, then many.

We have visitors, I say.

We watch them watching us. The Deer People have come to witness our sabbat.

As we watch, one by one, the deer take human form.

Last modified on
The 5th Moon of the Year, June 21

It is late this year, Spring. A coldness has swept over our land as many are fighting the powers that be, or complying with the powers that be, and those that are fighting the powers that be are being fought against by those who are complying with the powers that be, and perhaps vice versa. We are at war. Unfortunately.

May the warriors for Truth be victorious, win this war.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
People of the Deer

Witch-folk. We've pretty much always been a People of the Deer.

Sure, we've hunted larger game, and smaller, but down the years it's mostly deer that have kept the cauldron full and the family fed. Back in the old days, “deer” used to mean pretty much any kind of wild animal, did you know that? But now, a deer is...well, a deer. That tells you something about how important they've always been. To our people, deer are the animal par excellence.

Back in old tribal days, when we called ourselves the Dobunni (and later the Hwicce, which is where we get the name “witch” from), we were, admittedly, a People of the Herd, and our god (and our priests) wore bull's horns mostly.

But even then, just to the north lived the Cornovii, People of the Horn, and for them the god wore antlers. They're still fine hunters, the Cornovii, and being such near neighbors, there's been a lot of marrying back and forth down the years. My father's mother's people come from the old Cornovii hunting runs, in fact.

Well, it just makes sense. Unlike bulls, or elk for that matter—not to mention moose—a deer is human-sized, just about the same weight and volume that we are. There's something human about a deer. It's all a matter of scale.

Up here in the North Country, Samhain marks the time of the rut. Just now, the deer that will feed the People in years to come are being bred.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
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.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Stag of Light

Daddy, why do people put lighted deer in their front yards?

We're headed towards the tail-end of November, and the front yards in my neighborhood are suddenly sprouting deer.

These are not the wild animals, although here within sight of downtown Minneapolis we've got a sizable urban herd. (They mostly live in the wooded Mississippi Valley that runs through the heart of town.) No, these are Yule Deer.

(Up here in Snow Country, if you want to decorate outdoors, you've got to do it early.)

As a pagan, and myself a worshiper of the Deer Man, I find it deeply amusing that one of the foremost symbols of American Christmas: the Secular Holiday should be the Deer.

The connection is pretty tenuous. Presumably these are the reindeer that pull Santa's sleigh. Of course, the Deer of Light that you see in people's yards are clearly not reindeer. You can tell because reindeer have a very distinctive antler configuration. No, the Yule Deer are based—insofar as there's a natural prototype at all—on the American Whitetail, as (after all) they should be.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I remember Kate Seredy's The White Stag well. "Little Father" Attila leads his people--the- Huns--to the Promised Land--Hungary--b
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "Christianity the origins of a Pagan Religion" Philippe Walter connotes white deer with Halloween. His examples are of Saint H

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

What is it about the Stag and Yule? Three traditional Midwinter's carols about stags from all over Europe, as charming as they are mysterious.


Nine-Tined Stag

Nine-tined stag a-running came

(Kalado, nine-tined stag)

came and into water gazed,

gazed and counted tines.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jaime Johnson
    Jaime Johnson says #
    These are beautiful and mysterious. I couldn't help but sing along as I read them; loving them!
  • tehomet
    tehomet says #
    Fascinating. I knew about the carol 'O the Rising of the Sun' which has the line about the running of the deer in its chorus, but

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Deer Wife

Here’s a tale, the story of the Deer Wife, and well it might be the oldest tale in the world.

One day a man takes his rifle and goes off into the woods, where he sees a pretty little doe. He takes aim, shoots, and hits her in the shoulder, but he doesn’t kill her outright. So he follows the blood-trail into the forest until he comes to a clearing.

But there’s no doe in that clearing. Instead there’s a woman standing there, naked and bleeding. Her hair is like red fire and her skin like apple blossom, and she’s got a bullet lodged in her shoulder.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    In the Fenian Cycle, she is Sadhbh (Saba), mate of Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn McCool) and mother of Oisín (Osheen), meaning "faun."
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Seal Clan for sure. Have you seen David Thomson's People of the Sea? The single most lyrical book I know about seals and selkies.
  • Carol Leary
    Carol Leary says #
    Oh, just prophetic in the sense that I have never liked getting out of the water, all the way from the time my mother would call
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    So mote it be!
  • Carol Leary
    Carol Leary says #
    So cool. For me, it was the story my grandmother told me when I was six, of the Selkie. She is the seal who took human form &

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