Thinking North
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Doe, A Deer, A Female Deer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Ancient Deer Tattoo | SpiritMAMA Blog

Ancient Deer Tattoo | Spirit Mama BlogI found an amazing new blog today called Gather – Wild Food, Magical Cookery.

Those who follow me know I have written about the ancient reindeer goddess and Elen of the Ways, but this article goes much deeper than I have and I am so grateful for it! So many new pathways to wander through while reading this. So much inspiration.

In a recent shamanic journey to discover what to build my medicine pouch with, I was told to use deer hide ‘because that animal is sacred to you’. I was gifted the deer skull that sits above my altar-space around the same time and regularly include the Great Reindeer Goddess in my prayers as an aspect of Mother-Earth. However, in this article this Goddess represents the whole cosmos. I’ve read elsewhere that She is like the axis-mundi of the cosmos. Or, She is the Tree of Life that connects the 3 worlds (Upper, Mid, Lower).

I now carry a tiny reindeer with me wherever I go. I feel a great reverence when I run into Her. Every time. Little but little, I am reminded of who She is.

Enjoy! Please take a look and go to her page to ‘like’, if you like. The author did quite a bit of work to bring us this! Much love.

“In the ancient northern religions it was the female horned reindeer who drew the sleigh of the mother or sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, that the white bearded man i.e. “Father Christmas” was born.

Today he chariots Rudolph and his steed of flying reindeer across our mythical skies and we have forgotten that it was the “Deer Mother” (stronger and larger than the buck) who led the herds.

And it is her beloved image that adorns the Christmas cards and Yule decorations we are so familiar with today. Because, unlike the male who sheds his antlers in winter, it is the Deer Mother, who flies through winter’s longest darkest night with life-giving light of the sun in her horns.

Across the North, since the Neolithic, from the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, the land bridge of the Bering Straights and into the Americas, the female reindeer was venerated as the ‘life-giving mother’. She was the facilitator of fertility, the anima of wild places, forests and mountains, the otherworldly steed of fairies and magical folk.”

Read the rest of this fantastic article here. Her postscript is awesome and adds even more to the story. In particular she makes this good point:

“There is a male-centric bias at work in many explorations of the early pagan traditions. There are a plethora of “alternative” articles observing the link between Santa’s red and white garb and the red and white amanita mushroom ingesting Siberian shaman- but they consistently refer to this shaman as “him”.  Little mention is made that this red and white ceremonial clothing was worn by the earliest shamans in the northern regions who were -and still are – female.”

Featured image, from the article, is 2500 year old tattoo found on Siberian “Ice Princess”.

5 Comments

      • I have had reindeer in my dreams. I have always been interested in the Saami so I know of her and her story. I plan on seeking her out more often in meditations and dreams. I actually am going to plan a ritual during the spring next year that I hope will give me a deeper connection to Elen and reindeer. 🙂

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  1. Pingback: The Reindeer Goddess Part One: Saints And Empresses, Antlers And Sovereignty | SpiritMAMA

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