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Deer Woman, sometimes also known as Deer Lady, is a shape-shifting woman in Native American mythology


Description/Morphology

Deer Woman is often said to have all the features of a normal young woman save for her feet which are shaped like deer hooves and her brown deer's eyes. She allegedly appears at various times as an old woman, or a young maiden, or a deer. Some descriptions assign her a human female upper body and the lower body of a white-tailed deer.

The Deer Woman is said to sometimes be seen as a beautiful woman just off the trail or behind a bush, calling to men to come over. Men who are lured into her presence often notice too late that she is not a natural woman and are then stomped to death. Other stories and traditions describe the sighting of Deer Woman to be a sign of personal transformation or a warning. Deer woman is also said to be fond of dancing and will sometimes join a communal dance unnoticed leaving only when the drum beating ceases.

According to Ojibwe tradition, she can be banished through the use of tobacco and chant. Others say that you can break her spell by looking at her feet, which are in fact hooves. Once she is recognized for what she is, she runs away.


Family

The Deer Woman is similar in nature to several other female figures of folklore from other regions such as La Llorona from Mexico and the Southwestern United States, The Colombian creatures La Patasola and the Tunda and the Iara of Brazil, and the Xana from Asturias (Spain). All are females who at times, function as sirens leading men to their death.

This physical deformity marking an otherwise perfect women is a common theme among legendary siren figures. Deer woman has hooves for feet, La Patasola and the Tunda have deformed feet and La llorona is often said to have no feet by those who see her. The Iara on the other hand is a fish woman with a blow hole in her neck.


Art/Fiction

Deer Woman was featured as a character in an episode of the Showtime horror series Masters of Horror. It originally aired in North America on December 9, 2005 and was directed by John Landis.


References

  • LaDuke, Winona Last Standing Woman Published by Voyageur Press, 1997 ISBN 0896584526
  • Where the White Stag Runs: Boundary and Transformation in Deer Myths, Legends, and Songs by Ari Berk Realms of Fantasy magazine, 2003
  • Deer Woman And the Living Myth of the Dreamtime by Carolyn Dunn the Journal of Mythic Arts 2003
  • Deer Woman And the Living Myth of the Dreamtime, article by Carolyn Dunn from the Endicott Journal of Mythic Arts 2003


External links