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Relief carved 9"round Celtic deer Knot ceramic tile.
For many cultures around the world the female deer or hind's natural qualities of gracefulness, gentleness and dignity have made them a symbol of the sacredness of life.
For the Huichol people of Mexico the 'magical deer' is of very special significance. Representing both the power of the maize to sustain the body and peyote to enlighten the spirit, the deer is also said to pass some of her qualities onto the people of the tribe. Interesting to note that the character of the Huichol people tends to be light, flexible and humorous, and they have avoided open warfare with the Spanish as well as with any Mexican governments, but still hold to their own traditions.
The Celts held hinds as supernatural animals, often referred to as 'fairy cattle', herded and milked by a local, benevolent fairy giantess that could shape shift into a red deer who would oft times lead this or that hero to adventures in the underworld.
In some Native North American symbolism deer is a strong healing totem that helps humans to conquer the fear of death and leads their souls peacefully into the spirit world.
In Buddhism they are considered the messenger of universal love and there is a mandara (sacred painting) of a deer standing on a white cloud with the tree of life above. Meditating on this mandara is said to open ones consciousness to the mystery of infinite peace.