When we think of animal totems, we traditionally think of those that are common or native to the Northern Hemisphere – the stag, the deer, the bear, the crow, the raven. When you live on a continent where an animal is an introduced species, sometimes trying to work with that energy is met with barriers.
For example, I’ve been told there are wild deer in my region, but I’ve never seen them.
For someone who works primarily with Deities who have a deer connection (purely coincidental, I assure you) they often find other forms to communicate and to get their message across. Just like many of us with European heritage on this amazing continent, the Gods are just as “introduced” to this land as the deer.
Messages and messengers are different for everyone, as we each have a special and rather specific relationship with our Gods – for those of us who chose to work with the Gods. The animal Elen of the Ways chooses to communicate with me may be different for her followers in the United Kingdom, where her connection with deer is strongest. For me, it’s through an animal often no bigger in length that my thumbnail.
It’s also incredibly surprising to which form the Gods will take.
With Herne, we need to look past his immediate traits that he’s associated with. Horses are introduced to this land, deer is introduced, wolves and dogs and his usual game are introduced. While the kangaroo has a similar facial structure to deer, for me personally there is no kinship because of how I personally see kangaroo… and to be very morbid, I see more lying on the side of the road than out in the wild. So while yes, kangaroos do represent the strength and fertility often associated with deer, that is not how he personally chooses to communicate to me.
Another example of this is to look at ourselves: I am a parent to five cats, but cats are not an animal I connect with outside of seeing them as my children. I’m overweight, but I do not connect with pigs, or hippos, or any other animal traditionally associated with being overweight.
So when it comes to a Deity of another land choosing an animal for themselves on a continent we’ve introduced them to, don’t be surprised if they look outside the box and choose an animal that maybe they just like.
Deer as a totem signifies strength and grace, vigilance and gentleness, being assertive, and being able to re-cooperate (eg. shedding antlers). Herne is raw masculine strength; a natural hunter; King of the Forests; a tad vengeful; incredibly protective and loyal.
Like the animal he chose to connect with to communicate with me, he is a carnivorous hunter; he brings change in order for you to challenge your perception of self; he knows his territory and will mark it and protect it. He can be very confrontational and will make you own your truths and own your mistakes. He is very forthcoming, very bold, and has a very unique sense of humour (I’m sure I’ve blogged about our “eye of the tiger” moment…?!).
He may not be able to ride the Wild Hunt through our native animals, but does he need to? He has his Hunt. He sat back and watched me for years fumbling my way through attempting to honour him before he truly made himself known. This, to me, shows that he chose his Australian animal very wisely.
It has taken me fifteen years to be granted this information, of course I’m not going to announce it on a blog. It is sacred between myself and him.
So what’s the purpose of this blog, you ask? If you are mono-or-polytheistic and you’re wanting to connect with your Gods on a personal and very localised level, particularly if you’re like me and live somewhere we’re you’re both *technically* an introduced species, ask them how they’d like to send you messages.
Don’t assume, don’t allocate, just ask.