midwinter rituals the seasons

The Medicine of the Reindeer: Getting back to you

10 Dec 2019

It’s week two of the Medicine of Midwinter. And this week is a mystical + magical journey. But, we do not have to journey alone. If you wish, if you can imagine, then the medicine of the reindeer is here to guide you along the path.

Last week, I tapped into the medicine of the dark. The silent, solitary, still medicine of the darkness of this midwinter season. For me, there is no other choice than to accept + sink into the deep, dark mystery of December. There is no escaping Mother Earth’s need for rest + restoration. And there is no denying that I am in need of the exact same thing. So, all month long, I drink in the medicine of the dark. Letting it quiet my soul + slow my pace.

And, now that I’ve settled into the groove of the dark, then I am ready to begin my quiet journey back to my soul.

That’s what this week is all about. And that’s why the medicine for this week is reindeer medicine. The reindeer is the perfect companion for me as I start my journey back to myself.

As we move deeper into December, darkness still growing, days still shortening, it is the time of the year to tap into ancient wisdom + inner intuition. The winter nights provide just the atmosphere needed for self-reflection, self-care, and inward journeys.

The journey, however, can be a bit intimidating. But, never fear, that’s what the stag, the deer, is here for right now. To guide us on our way.

Many different cultures, religions, and folk have honored the sacred symbolism of the reindeer years. Thousands of years, actually. And from all that I have explored, in addition to my own feelings + experiences, deer emerge as magical, strong, ancient creatures with much to offer us.

Photo by Annika Thierfeld on Unsplash

Legend in cold, northern, indigenous cultures regard the reindeer as the keeper of the sun. Sitting in between the majestic horns of the female deer, the sun rests during the winter months. Old Mother reindeer is seen as the bearer of light. Flying through the dark winter sky with the life-giving light of the sun. Hence, she is honored + revered by the peoples of the north, who followed her path, her journey, and her light. She has been spiritual symbol of regeneration, life, and rebirth – all themes of midwinter + the winter solstice.

Very appropriate for this time of year, I think. As the sun has been hidden from us, but returns with the winter solstice, just as the reindeer swirl around + fly about our holiday celebrations. I’m certain these old legends are exactly why reindeer are important characters in our holiday stories. I mean, think Rudolph. He saved the day because he literally (his nose) was the bearer of light in a snowstorm.

Image from here.

But, the Celtic reverence of the deer is the one that speaks deepest to my soul. in Celtic mythology, deer are mystical animals that can move between worlds. But, often they are seen as gatekeepers standing at the entrance of a threshold. Waiting to greet others + usher them into a new realm, another space. Serving as guides, helping to initiate one on a new journey.

Also, again, the antlers of the deer are seen as sacred symbols of life and light. Symbolizing the life-death-life cycle, since they, too, are grown + shed + regrown year after year. Once again, another sign of the continuous cycle of life and the return of life + light in the middle of the dark.

It’s these two myths, of the gatekeeper/guide and the sacredness of the antlers that seem to be the medicine that my soul craves this season. The beautiful antlers of the reindeer are simply a powerful reminder of the cycle of life. That, even though it is so dark, the sun will return to us when we reach the winter solstice in just a couple of weeks. The deer symbolizes that return. So, even though it is the darkest of the dark right now, the medicine of the deer provides hope.

Photo by Annika Thierfeld on Unsplash

But, even more important, for this week, for me, is the reindeer as a guide + a gatekeeper. The end of the year is approaching. A new threshold is soon to be crossed. And this is the perfect time to prepare for that crossing. To use the long dark nights to reflect + remember. To restore + reset. And to cast a vision to begin manifest once the new year, and a new journey, begins.’

The mystical deer comes quietly + silently close to us. And just stands there. Calm, stoic, strong, stable. She looks at us, as deer do, cocking her head. Locking eyes with us. And just is. She just stands there. As if to say that she is present. There is nothing more to do. Nothing more we need. She’s a protector + a guide. On the edge of the forest, on the edge of a new path for us. Giving us strength just be her presence. Giving us courage + initiating our curiosity to follow behind… off into the deep, dark woods. Off into the deep, dark intuitive + wise spaces of our own soul.

That is the journey to which I am called right now. To dare to walk forward, one step at a time. Tramping down a new path. Beating down the bushes, the grasses, the plants, and making a way, my own way, ahead. Because this is nowhere I have trodden before. This is a new journey. A new path. A new chapter. A new future.

And I need courage to dare to make my own way. To set out on my own to do my own thing, to live my own way, to follow my own heart beating in my chest. To get back to myself.

Luckily, the quiet, strong, mystical deer is close by. Carrying the light in her antlers. Standing at the threshold, waiting for me. Ready to usher me into a new space + a new vision. Standing guard at the gate, coaxing me ever forward as I slowly, cautiously approach the threshold myself.

What path am I meant to create? And how will it both be an embodiment of my soul + an offering to the world?

This is the medicine of this week. The medicine that soothes our soul, guides us back to our own magical soul, and prepares us for a new beginning. So, take it slow this week. Trust the silent presence of the energy of the deer. And, whenever you see a reindeer, on tv or in a book or wherever (assuming you or I won’t see one in real life because most of us don’t live up in the far arctic north) let that be a sign of the magic of the medicine of the deer. Bringing light, reminding us of the cycle of life, and guiding us deeper into our souls + onward onto a new path that is meant just for us. Guiding us from the darkness of the old year to bring light + life to the new.

The reindeer stands tall + silent. She comforts + guards. And quietly calls us deeper into the dark, mystical forest of our own souls. We will be fine. She will stand there. And guide us onward.

Blessed week of the deer, wild souls. xoxo. liz.

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