The soul, the gentle harmless self that is often hurt or wounded by our aggressiveness and cynicism, or by other people’s criticism; vulnerability; the unsocialised or wild, but gentle side of our instincts; love-sickness.
In Greek mythology the deer was associated with the virginal huntress Artemis. So the female deer in a dream suggests the qualities of female gentleness and the connection with nature and the hidden world of the unconscious with all its strange wisdom. While the stag often links with bold and powerful masculinity and sexuality in a natural and potent form.
The Core Self often appears as a deer, or woodland creature in dreams. Below is a quote from Carl Jung’s book Man and His Symbols.
Example: “I am your child and your mother. They call me the ‘connecting animal’ because I connect people, animals, and even stones with one another if I enter them. I am your fate or the ‘objective I.’ When I appear, I redeem you from the meaningless hazards of life. The fire burning inside me burns in the whole of nature. If a man loses it, he becomes egocentric, lonely, disoriented, and weak.”
Example: As I walked the meadow my dog was running free. I felt I must call him to heal, as there were grazing animals about. I called him and saw him coming, almost wraith like, or like a spirit form, shadowy and powerful looking. He was running behind a wonderful looking beast – a mixture between a sheep a gazelle and a deer. The remarkable thing about it was its colouring. There were bright blues on its hindquarters, and radiant almost transparent colours elsewhere, perhaps on its head. I shouted to stop my dog frightening the creature. It ran towards me and jumped into my arms, very fearful, but relaxing and feeling safe as I held it. I could sense its emotions of terror. I seemed to feel what it was feeling inside. It was a creature without any means of defence except to run. So it was frightened for its life. This sense of its inner condition was impressive as I knew what it was like to be that creature when hunted. I also could feel how it could feel safe in my arms because somehow it was like handing over its defence to a sort of mother, as a baby might.
Then I seemed to look at the creature anew and saw that it had a much bigger body than I had first thought. In fact it must have been different because when in my arms it was small, but now it seemed to be about the size of a fallow deer.
In the above dream the man actually feels the quality of his inner condition represented by the deer.
Deer are sometimes used to indicate a sexual longing for a woman – the hunter and hunted. The sexual implication of the deer hunt is underlined by a medieval English folk song called “The Keeper”: The first doe that he shot at he missed, And the second doe he trimmed he kissed, And the third ran away in a young man’s heart, She’s amongst the leaves of the green O”.
In a man’s dream: The deer may depict a young woman the man is in pursuit of, or a daughter if you have one.
In a woman’s dream: The deer may link with you as a young woman, or to a daughter if you have one.
Useful Questions and Hints:
What are the qualities of the deer in your dream?
Does it link in any way with a feeling of entering the magical realm of nature or the unknown?
Are you feeling about it as you would with a female?
If a stag, are there symbols linking it with sexuality, such as its horns or its attraction to you?