Thursday, October 04, 2007


Myths, folklore & symbolism
doe or hind: A female deer, stands in many myths for the female animal in general, which can have a demonic character, despite what we see as the gentleness of the doe. The second of the Labors of Hercules was to capture the Hind of Ceryneia. The chariot of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, was pulled by does.

The animal is also important in Asiatic myth. In the Ural-Altaic regions she was the supernatural ancestor of several peoples. The Hungarian myth of origin tells of a fleeing doe who lured two primeval hunters into a swamp, where she transformed herself into two princesses who coupled with the hunters, becoming the progenitors of the Huns and the Magyars, respectively. Similarly, the family tree of Genghis Khan shoes a doe and a wolf as his progenitors.

A doe was said to have rescued fleeing Frankish warriors by showing them a point at which they could ford the Main river. In many old European fairy tales young women and girls are transformed into does. In one ancient Chinese legend a doe gives birth to a human child, a girl who is later reared by a man; but when she dies her body disappears, revealing her supernatural origins.

In prehistoric rites of passage does may have symbolized female initiates. In Mayan mythology of the Yucatan, Zip is a god of the hunt; under the name A Uuc Yol Zip he is portrayed in ancient hieroglyphic writings as a horned man having intercourse with a doe. (Biedermann)

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