A Study of the Celtic Meaning of the Deer
Deers held a special meaning for the Celts. They believed they were part of the fairy world and had magical powers.
Celts thought deer lived deep in the forest so that they could have secret knowledge.
As one of the oldest animals in existence, the deer was a symbol of life, fertility and vitality. Their antlers were a symbol of the tree of life.
Deer in Celtic Astrology
The White Stag symbolizes:
Deer in Celtic Mythology
Deer appear throughout Celtic mythology. For example, a deer pulled the chariot of Flidass, the Celtic Goddess of Wild Things. However, it is the white stag that had the most significance.
The Celts believed the white stag was a messenger of the gods. Whenever a white stag was seen, it was thought that important things would soon follow. We can see evidence of this in the legends of King Arthur where the appearance of a white stag sent the Knights off on spiritual quests.
The Celts also thought the white stag appeared when one was doing something forbidden, such as when Peredur entered the Castle of Wonders at the house of the Lame King. (Check out The Mabinogion by Sioned Davies for the story of Peredur.)
Cernunnos, the Celtic Horned God
The Celts lives were interwoven with nature and animals. They had several animal gods, including Cernunnos, the Lord of the Animals and God of the Hunt.
Cernunnos, the Stag God, was of particular importance to the Celts because their survival depended on their success in the hunt. Cernunnos, as the ruler of animals and the Celts relationship with them, could grant a favorable hunt, thus ensuring the Celts survival.
Cernunnos’ appearance represents the balance of Man and Nature. Part man, part animal, he bears the antlers of a stag on his head, marking him as a mature leader with the ability to protect his realm.
Celtic Deer and Stag Tattoos
Whether it’s an image of horns, a doe-eyed deer, or a stag, Celtic tattoos can be designed to match a variety of interests. Popular Celtic deer tattoos include:
Celtic deer tattoos meaning
Incorporating Celtic features, such as the Celtic knot, Celtic deer tattoos combine the graceful majesty of a doe-eyed deer with the meanings of gentleness, spirituality, swiftness, and motherly love.
Celtic stag tattoos meaning
Celtic stag tattoos represent the masculine, power, strength, and fertility. They can also incorporate the
importance of the white stag to the Celts, whether as a symbol of the Celtic Birch zodiac sign or as the mythical white stag who was a messenger of the gods and a symbol of spiritual quests.
Celtic antler and skull tattoos meaning
Many old European families have deer antlers in their coat of arms. The antlers represent strength, fertility, and virility. Drawing on the idea of the Celtic deer god, Cernunnos, Celtic antler and skull tattoos represent strength, protection, courage, and the balance between Man and Nature.
Recommended Books on Animal Meanings