Deer are indigenous to every continent except Antarctica and Australia, and stags appear in art and stories across the ancient world. In several cultures, deer antlers are employed as symbols that combine powerful masculinity with spiritual concepts.
First, the way in which antlers are rooted in the skull and reach into the sky evokes a connection between earthly concerns and the divine. A Mesopotamian legend describes a great stag who crosses the sky bearing the sun on its antlers, and here the antlers themselves are thought to have been interpreted as a radiation of heavenly light.
By contrast, the antlers of the Celtic god Cernunnos sprout from his head like branches and are equated to branches on the Celtic Tree of Life. Cernunnos' antlers teemed with birds and other animals, and were therefore associated with fertility and wildlife. This also calls to mind a particularly well-preserved Scythian tattoo depicting a stag with curved antlers that transform into bird heads.
Finally, as deer antlers are shed and re-grown every year, they can also be used to symbolise rebirth and reincarnation. Celtic myth does this with the story of the stag as Hern or the Horned God of the Hunt. Here the stag is hunted and ultimately slain by a powerful hunter in the depths of winter, thereby freeing the sun and ushering in a new spring.
However you choose to interpret the attributes of this magnificent creature, we hope you enjoy our most recent torc design. Wear it with pride!
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