Updated: Aug 24
Qigong has its roots in ancient Taoist shamanism. Rooted in shamanism, simply put, means it is derived from studying and observing nature, animals, plants, stars, the directions, and the seasons.
Each season offers us so much wisdom and teachings; my entire practice is based on this wisdom.
One such teaching is that of The Deer. The Deer is one of the five animals of the playful Qigong Animal Frolic forms. There are several versions of The Five Animal Frolics, and in this version, The Deer is the animal that represents the north, winter, and midnight. Sometimes it is referred to as the kidney forms. This elegant and powerful form teaches us how to live and thrive in winter.
Within the wisdom of winter is the deep teaching of the element of water, the organs of the kidneys and bladder, and is associated with the endocrine system, sexual reproduction, birth, fertility, hormones, our blood, bones, and ancestral lineage.
In the deep dark winter, we come in contact with our emotions of fear. And The Deer teaches us how to transform fear into wisdom and trust.
I recently came across the teaching of The Mother Reindeer, how the ancient shamans honored The Mother Deer, and how she may be the origin of many of our winter solstice and Christmas traditions. The Mother Deer was the "life-giving mother." And the bringer of light!
Image Credit Gather Victoria
Here is a beautiful video:
And a blog post about those teachings of the life-giving mother:
Image Credit Gather Victoria
In my own personal practice, as I'm deepening my relationship with The Deer by practicing the deer form, I asked her to teach me how she drops her own fear amidst so many threats, especially during hunting season.
This is what she taught me:
Open your ears to hear what is being carried through the forest.
Open your eyes and set them wide to see nearly 360 degrees. See the light, shadow, and movement.
Open your perception. Be aware. Feel the vibration of footsteps -the sound of a gun.
Open your memory to remember what danger feels like. Remember what safety feels like.
Open your body to shake off the fear.
Feel your hooves on the earth and let the earth's energy carry you.
Open your relationship to the landscape, so you blend into your surroundings.
Open your relationship to the herd. Know you are an integral part of the group. What you sense and feel-they pick up on.
Be a steward of your energy, and don't spread fear where it's not needed.
Trust your strong bones, muscles, and legs to carry you quickly. Go now! Go fast!
Cultivate your ability to hide in plain sight. Blend in. Don't call attention to yourself.
Learn to look up!
Cultivate your ability to be still and quiet.
Learn to find safety through your kindness, softness, and beauty.
You are a gentle creature that people love.
There are safe places. Learn to find them.
Hunters, some are just taking.
We give ourselves to the people of the land as a sacred offering to be received. We nourish the land with our bodies, and we nourish you with our meat.
We are sacred instruments. We are drums, and our antlers hold ancestors in the lodges. Our skin and hides are blankets.
Work with our medicine.
Don't simply take.
Because one day, you may find yourself in danger and need our medicine."