Deer Symbolism

Symbolism of Deer in Literature

Deer as symbolism in literature has been used as the subject of mythologies and folklore for centuries. Deers are known to possess gentleness and strength. Prominent ancient cultures like Hinduism have mentioned deer in their religious texts. Also, the Sumerian god is called the stag of Azbu, a male deer. The famous Aesop’s fables also use deer as personification in most loved folk tales such as ‘The One-Eyed Doe’ and ‘The Stag and a Lion’. In pop cultures, especially films like the Chronicles of Narnia, Bambi has shown deer as gentle, wish-granting, and wise creatures, including a book Fire Bringer, narrating the story of a Scottish red deer. One of the English counties, Hertfordshire, has deer in its coat of arms.

Grace & Gentleness

Deer is a symbol of Grace and Gentleness. In Celtic culture, red deer symbolize Grace, gentleness, and femininity. According to native Americans, deer symbolize grace and gentleness because of their majestic appearance ..while deer hunting, it can run at high speed and still look graceful, and so in pop culture, deer symbolize grace and gentleness. The deer is a messenger, an animal of power, and a totem representing sensitivity, intuition, and gentleness. According to Hindu mythology, deer symbolizes grace which attributes to eyes.

Power & Quickness

Deer are one of the fastest-running animals; hence it symbolizes power. In Christianity, the deer symbolizes innocence, faith, Power, and modesty. here power means the ability of deer to symbolize wild survival.


If a person dreams of a Dead deer, symbolism visit from a loved one. In Greek mythology, dreaming of deer symbolizes granting of power. A person sees deer antlers in dreams. It symbolizes a new phase in life. Also, when he or she is chased by a deer in a dream, it is a symbol of the fear of things in life.


According to Islamic traditions, believes deer is a symbol of luck and also one of the saints sent by god. Kurdish people believe that killing a deer symbol of bad luck. In Chinese tradition, the spotted deer is a symbol of prosperity, long life, and good luck. Native Americans believe deer carry divine energy and bring good luck. Deer are a symbol of luck and divine birthright in the traditional Cherokee homelands of the southern united states. capital Nara in japan, people believe deer symbolize prosperity and good luck. white deer is a symbol of luck and a powerful omen, speed, and also a powerful representation  In British and Celtic religions.


In Buddhism, the deer represents compassion for all living things. The Cherokee tribes in North America believe deer represents gentleness, innocence, and compassion. In Hindu culture, deer symbolize excellence and compassion.


In Greek mythology, the deer is associated with Artemis, and it symbolizes good luck and well as compassion. In Hindu mythology, deer is a symbol of transformation: as per the epic Ramayana, the demon Ravana transforms into golden deer to deceive Sita. In the epic Mahabharata, The hermit Kindama transforms himself into a male deer. Southern Indian one form of Lord Shiva depicted holding a deer in his hand. Also, In Hindu mythology, Saraswathi has a  deer’s body, and it symbolizes wisdom and power. According to Native American folklore, the tale of the Deer Woman symbolizes love and fertility. In Norse mythology, red deer are symbols of spiritual healing, with connections to the tree of life. In England, the deer symbolizes the spirit of fairies and ancient divinities.


Deers have exceptional agility and were hunted by the Native American tribes and settlers from the 18th century onwards. They were very difficult to hunt and good at escaping the hunters. Thus, Native Americans symbolized survival, continuity, and abundance. In China, the deers are symbols of survival attributed to their speed and grace: they also bring divine gifts and blessings. Buddhist tradition also considered deer as a symbol of survival. Japanese believe that deer are messengers of the gods to encourage the people to stay strong and are symbols of survival and love. In Christianity Bible represents the deer as a simple and innocent creature as well as a survivor of wildlife. Thus deer symbolizes survival and strength.

Heraldic symbols & National animal

Male deer, also known as a stag, is a heraldic symbol in Australian and Russian cultures and symbolizes power.  Also, France has the Golden deer in its Coat of arms to represent Raon-aux-Bois, which is a small French territory. Ukraine’s four villages: Veselets, Tatariv, Psdlisniv, and Shpychynci, use deer as heraldic symbols as well. Additionally, the following places use as deer as heraldic symbols, such as Balakhna in Russia, Queensland in Australia, Jelenia gora in Poland, and Dassel in Germany. Krishna deer, also called blackbuck, is a state animal in Andhra Pradesh, India. In North American countries, Costa Rica and Honduras, white-tailed deer is a national animal.

Examples of Deer as Symbolism in Literature

Example #1

The Deer in the Thicket By Frank Huyler

I’m sick of claiming
comfort in small things.

The gull, for example,
in the flying cold,

its black eyes
fixed on the sea.

or the hillside
in the wildflower summer.

When the deer enters
the clearing I’m tired

of using it as evidence.
It’s beautiful, familiar,

and it stands at the edge
where it has always stood.

Then it’s gone
into the thickets

and I listen.
Meanwhile, the room

of gods
is a loud room,

full of smoke and tables.
Everyone shouts to be heard.

In this example, the deer represents patience, survival, and hope.

Example #2

I Know, I Remember, But How Can I Help You By Hayden Carruth

The northern lights.         I wouldn’t have noticed them
if the deer hadn’t told me
a doe         her coat of pearls         her glowing hoofs
proud and inquisitive
eager for my appraisal
and I went out into the night with electrical steps
but with my head held also proud
to share the animal’s fear
and see what I had seen before
a sky flaring and spectral
greenish waves and ribbons
and the snow         under strange light         tossing in the pasture
like a storming ocean caught
by a flaring beacon.

The above poem, set in a city near the arctic circle, describes the fascination of aurora borealis, which is first expressed by the deer in the forest though it was afraid to be in the open. The deer represents courage, passion, eagerness, and hope.

Example #3

The Deer By Virginia Marian Ferguson

Light the lilies around his head,…
Slow candles for the delicate dead.

Bid the fern sing an emerald song,
While the trees walk in procession along.

Spider, spin a wreath for his head;
In gossamer garland the delicate dead.

Wind, wait and mourn him as you pass,
And with slow make musical the grass.

The poet is describing the dead deer with fascination. In this example, the deer is a symbol of grace, beauty, and peace.

Example #4

Deer Descending By Philip Terman

Perhaps she came down for the apples,
or was flushed out by the saws powering
the far woods, or was simply lost,
or was crossing one open space for another.

She was a figure approaching, a presence
outside a kitchen window, framed
by the leafless apple trees, the stiff blueberry bushes,
the after-harvest corn, the just-before-rain sky,

a shape only narrow bones could hold,
turning its full face upward, head tilted to one side, as if to speak.

I want my life back.

Morning settles around her like a silver coat.
Rustling branches, hooves in flight.

In this example, the poet is describing a visit from a deer from the nearby woods. Here the deer symbolizes beauty and gentleness.

Example #5

Shiver By Maggie Stiefvater

It’s very ugly’ I said generously. ‘But it looks as though it would laugh at snow. And, if you hit a deer it would hiccup, and keep going.

In this example, the deer is a symbol of courage.

Example #6

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God By Rainer Maria Rilke

Often when I imagine you, your wholeness cascades into many shapes. You run like a herd of luminous deer, and I am dark; I am forest.

Here the author uses metaphors to describe himself as in tune with mother nature and also to run with the speed of the deer. Here the deer is a symbol of mystery and survival.

Example #7

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Through the Looking-Glass By Lewis Carroll

“What do you call yourself?” the Fawn said at last. Such a soft sweet voice it had!

“I wish I knew!” thought poor Alice. She answered, rather sadly, “Nothing, just now.”

“Think again,” it said: “that won’t do.”

Alice thought, but nothing came of it. “Please, would you tell me what you call yourself?” she said timidly, “I think that might help a little.”

“I’ll tell you, if you’ll come a little further on,” the Fawn said. “I can’t remember here.”

So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice’s arms. “I’m a Fawn!” it cried out in a voice of delight. “And dear me, you’re a human child!” A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.”

Here Alice is speaking to a baby deer or fawn and is mesmerized by its kindness and sweet voice. Here fawn is a symbol of kindness and gentleness.

Example #8

Psalm 42:1-2 The Book of Psalms, King James Version

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

In this example, the author shows his eagerness to be with God by comparing it with a deer’s going to drink water at the river. Here the deer symbolizes devotion and willingness.