In the comments of the post Animal Spirits: The Deer, Jeff of Stuff Jeff Reads reminded me of the flying reindeer and its symbolic connection to the dreamworld, psyche, and astral traveling. As I read over this post and comments I had noticed the reindeer on the cover of my holiday fairy tale in the right hand column. And fittingly, ’tis the season for these beautiful and swift-running wild animals to do their annual long journey around the globe as well, and so let’s dash away into the symbolism of the reindeer!
Reindeer are very tough creatures. They live often in harsh, cold environments and travel up to a few thousand miles exploring vast terrains as they search for food. They are sturdy and very sure-footed, which helps them to navigate and guide themselves across such large and often frozen landscapes.
Possibly because of their fast-moving and long-distance travel abilities, the reindeer, similarly to birds, are considered spirit guides for souls as they travel from the physical realm to the spirit realm. Shamans, especially those in Siberia, Mongolia, and the Sami of Arctic Scandinavia, had a close connection to the flying reindeer as spirit guides for soul journeying, mind-traveling, astral traveling, and spiritual transformation.
As carriers and guides for souls, flying reindeer travel in and to the hidden realms (the spirit world, the unconscious, in darkness, and at night), and the deer’s connection to the moon symbolically connects the reindeer further to the unconscious, the dreamworld, and the psyche and soul.
The god Wodan or Odin in traditional Germanic and Scandinavian cultures is believed to be one of the precursors for the modern day Santa Claus. Odin was a shaman, seer, and poet who rode an eight-legged horse, Sleipnir, who could take Odin to Hel (the underworld) and back, that is, travel between realms. Today the eight reindeer of Santa’s sleigh have replaced the eight legs of Sleipnir.
Reindeer are associated with shamanism and mysticism. May they bring miraculous joy to everyone this holiday season!
The Reindeer symbolize:
- Sturdiness & Survival
- Travel & Journeying (physical, mental, astral, shamanic)
- Psychopomps & Soul Guides