After a particularly emotionally challenging week Aaron and I spontaneously decided to visit the Chickasaw National Park area in Sulphur, Oklahoma about an hour from our home town. It was a hot 100 degree day, but the prospect of nature renewing our spirits was enough to impel us forward. We thought at the very least we'd get some great forest pictures and do a little walking. Aaron intuitively chose the path we should start on, as the area is filled with winding nature paths carved out through the woods. As we began down our path, we stop abruptly, met by the gaze of a small white tailed fawn a little further down the trail. We stare at it for 2-3 minutes, expecting it to leave immediately once it realizes how close potential predators are. It does not move, and rather continues grazing (aware of our presence) until casually hopping into the thicker woods to the left of the trail.
As we continue down the trail, we see more deer: two fawns and finally a beautiful tawny mother who, concerned about her babies, leads the way across the trail into the thick of the forest. This alone was a majestic site and we were indeed satisfied with our first 10 minutes of nature trail walking. We could have left then and called it a good day. After some other explorations, wild bison, a lonely armadillo, and lots of grasshoppers (and I mean, a lot!) we revisited our first trail in order to take a picture together to remember the day and to send to someone special to us whom was there in spirit.
As we walked back onto the trail, only jokingly hoping the fawn would be back, indeed there it was, silently watching, except this time the fawn inched closer to us as we slowly advanced down the path. It watched intently, curiously, but without much fear. Innocently stamping its back legs playfully, moving closer we began to feel the power of the moment. Energetically we could feel its purity, the untouched loving quality it emanated was deeply moving and cleansing. I could feel tears rising but the stillness of the moment prevented anything from stirring. The significance of being graced by this creature's presence (twice) was not lost on us.
We researched the symbolism of the deer, particularly in Native American lore (since we were on native Chickasaw territory) and soon understood its presence on the path. This has been a time of great change for us (and no doubt many of you), which is ultimately sure to be positive, life renewing and spiritually uplifting, but fraught with its own challenges, emotional and psychological adjustments, and trials of acceptance and surrender. Having met a third soul aspect (soul mate) the universe has called upon us all to remember the principles of unconditional love, patience, innocence and grace. The deer is an ancient symbol of these qualities, and as a totem animal appears to show us where to focus.
It reminds us to be gentle with ourselves and others, to embrace the organic graceful flow of life, and to love others with an open heart and clear mind. Our soul mates appear in our lives to open us to unconditional love. They are our mirrors, illuminating the parts of us that may have been difficult to see or didn't want to acknowledge. Granted, all truly deep and meaningful relationships do this, but our soul mate relationships are our chance to do this so fully because we are practicing loving ourselves unconditionally (which is leading us back to Home/Self-Realization). It is a opportunity for us to begin to love and accept ourselves fully and deeply, with compassion and gentleness for our mistakes, shortcomings, faults and foibles.
We want nothing more than to be who we truly are, to express our truth, and the human heart desires most for someone else to allow us to do that without judgement or expectation. Soul mate relationships are our gift to ourselves to manifest the "greatest love of all". But all paths are fraught with winding curves.
The fawn is a symbol of innocence and peace, a perfect reminder that no matter how winding or thick the path appears to get, there is always solace and love stationed along the way for us to remember. The youth of the deer, its curiosity and willingness to approach, were reminding us to tread our paths with fearlessness and innocence. But the fawn is strong as well, wobbling on two seemingly pencil thin legs to tread the forest despite its seeming frailty (something we all do when we open ourselves to love).
At the level the heart each of us is a pure and playful being; reflecting the innocence of the Divine. The totem of the deer is one that can be held in one's archetypal identity to remind us to soften to others, open ourselves and be vulnerable in order to allow ourselves to be loved fully. While the deer is cautious, the fawn is curious. However, they both utilize intuition and acuity to know those who will protect and respect the qualities they possess. The fawn may at times approach a hunter with harmful intentions yet its innocence compels it forward, in the chance that it may soften a confused (anyone who harms someone else is simply confused) heart.
I greatly cherish the fawn on the path. We are all at times "the fawn on the path". Innocent, pure, and gentle at the core of our essence. We easily forget our true nature when the complexity and excitement of life distract us. The winding roads of our paths can and will always take us back to peace and love if we let it. The connections we build with others can be reminders of this love. If we allow it, the deer's innocence can open new doors to ourselves and our relationships that will accelerate our spiritual and emotional evolution. Be not wary of the path for it always, at some point, leads us back to Home, and remember that in the end it's all about love.