As a kid growing up in a city, I always wanted to see a deer in the wild. When I finally did, the event proved powerful in the incongruity of its moment. It was unexpected. I was 19 and alone in a place I’d never imagined I’d be, in the thick of an equally unimaginable situation. Coming face-to-face with that deer seemed a magical development, and it was: it marked a turning point that ultimately changed the course of my life. It was like the deer had been sent as a sign of encouragement. We held our mutual gaze, and then we went our separate ways.
I’ve always loved animals and appreciated the connectedness we share as sentient beings, but my momentary interaction with this deer left me with a unique impression. It felt personal. To draw a comparison, I feel a deep connection with our wild horses here in Arizona, but I felt connected to the deer I encountered when I was 19 and living in a foreign country… as if the deer was a part of me.
Considering this, I thought it interesting recently when I took one of those fluffy “What’s my Spirit Animal” quizzes and found that my spirit animal is a deer. The description read:
“When you have the deer as spirit animal, you are highly sensitive and have a strong intuition. By affinity with this animal, you have the power to deal with challenges with grace. You master the art of being both determined and gentle in your approach. The deer totem wisdom imparts those with a special connection with this animal with the ability to be vigilant, move quickly, and trust their instincts to get out the trickiest situations.”
After my interaction with the deer, I did, in fact, go on to use my instincts to get myself out of a tricky situation – the tricky situation in which I was flailing at the time of our encounter.
Regardless of the extent of my belief in the meaningfulness of “spirit animals,” it was eye-opening to take this quiz from where I stand today. I may have taken 15 different “what’s my spirit animal” quizzes over the years and landed on 15 different species of critter, but where I am right now is in a place of processing some aspects of the past. “My” deer has turned up in poems and prose I’ve written since I encountered her, but she’s been at the front of my mind these last few years, especially. Coming up with a deer result on this silly online quiz seemed more than coincidental.
What really got me taking the notion of spirit animals seriously was the deer energy description I went on to find in Ravenari’s Animal Energy/Animal Guide Dictionary on Wildspeak dot com. If you know me…
“Muntjac deer – Bark and Bite
Having a bite that is worse than your bark, fighting for what’s yours, defending your territory, alertness, the power of observation, finely tuned instincts, letting others know that they’re in trouble, comparing yourself to others, surrender to the spirit, trust in nature.”
Yes, the deer is my spirit animal. The muntjac deer, to be precise.
I have to say that I do believe in spirit animals, now that I’ve taken a spirit-animal quiz in an introspective mind-frame. I couldn’t help but consider my result in the context of my one encounter with the animal in question. I thought about how I felt, and how that animal appeared in a moment that greatly impacted my life. For me, the quiz’s result was a revelation, more than a declaration.