Painting by my talented niece, Yasu.

As I rode in an open air taxi from the ferry to our camp on my arrival to St. John, in the Virgin Islands, a small family of deer crossed the road just in front of us. I was visiting St. John for the first time for a week’s vacation. My name, in Hebrew, means deer, so I smiled at the welcome from my namesakes.

A few nights later, I found myself face to face, and nose to nose with a deer in my dream. We peered at one another until I was no longer certain which body I was gazing out from. I looked at her and I saw my face. The deer lifted its hoof and pressed it against my head. It didn’t hurt, but I was aware of the power the animal had, if it chose to use it.

I entered the heat of that day with the riddle of the deer’s face staring at me staring at her. The image followed me even as I hiked up Ram Head and back down to Salt Pond Bay.

The view from Ram Head on St. John.

When I have an encounter with an animal in my dream, especially if it licks, bites, or scratches me, I interpret it as a totem. If I encounter that animal more than once in a short period of time, awake or asleep, I pay special attention. It wasn’t until I returned home that I could investigate what a deer totem might represent.

I learned that the deer comes to us to remind us to approach situations with gentleness and unconditional love.

For me, the deer also reminds me of Japan, because when I visited there 12 years ago next month, when my niece was born there, we visited the Nara Park, where deer roam freely and will eat out of your hands.

Of course Japan has been much on my mind and heart this past week and a half. My sister and her family live there so, I felt a deep ache and urgency over the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that occurred there the day before I left on my vacation.

My niece, who still lives in Japan, painted the beautiful (and award-winning) picture that accompanies this week’s post. I offer my dream, the painting and these words as a reminder to bring gentle, unconditional love into my thoughts toward myself, others, and most especially toward all who are suffering from the recent events in Japan, or the fear those events have awoken in so many of us.

I especially dedicate this unconditional love to my sister, niece, brother-in-law and all of their friends and family in Japan.

Coral hearts displayed on Salt Pond Bay Beach.

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To read some hopeful words about Japan’s strength and dignity please visit my sister’s blog.
For more Corner Views from around the world visit these blogs:
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