Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Following Reindeer Woman: Pazyryk Priestess & Deer Artifacts

Pazyryk mummy tattoo
In my post "Reindeer Goddess, Axis Mundi, & Axis Shifts" I began my journey to blog my findings regarding a reindeer goddess. Since then, I have come across reports of amazing finds throughout the EurAsian Steppes.

        The first picture on this page is a copy of a tattoo on the shoulder of a well preserved female mummy found by archeologist Natalia Polos'mak in a kurgan in Pazyryk. Discovered in 1995, 7,500 feet above sea level, the mummy was named the Ice Princess or The Lady. (This same tattoo design has been found on other mummies, both men and women in the Ukok Palteau.)

         The kurgan  and it's contents are at least 2,400 years old. The Lady was buried in a coffin carved from a larch tree trunk. The exterior of the coffin was appliqued with a leather deer design, the antlers moving back like the ones in the tattoo above. The chamber of this full burial was 7.5 feet by 11 feet and contained everything The Lady would need to continue her life in the Otherworld: clothing, food and furniture.  Astoundingly, buried around the chamber were 5 horses, each ornamented with reindeer antlers and elaborate deer embossed bridles. Quoting an article posted Mary Lynn E. Turner  : Culture on the Hoof: Kurgan Woman of the Pazyryk: "It is thought, though, that although the horses were symbols of the sun, the antlered headdress were a kind of throwback reminder to the the days before herding horses, back when people of the Steppe herded reindeer instead."

Pazyryk Horse/Deer Headdress
  These photos came from an exhibit in the State Hermitage Museum. To visit the site click here.

Pazyryk bronze mirror backing
In her book, The Deer Goddess of  Ancient Siberia, art historian Esther Jacobson traces the progression of the ancient Neolithic reindeer rock art images through to the the Bronze age, and into modern era. This progession of images also paralells the transformation of the the Reindeer Goddess as Animal Mother of a culture of matrilineal descent into the male dominated form of shamanism that we read about today.  (For more information on the roots shamanism in ancient women's mysteries, read The Woman in the the Shaman's Body by anthropologist  Barbara Tedlock, PH.D.) In Jacobson work, she repeatedly finds the deer antlers representing the Tree of Life. The Lady was buried in a tree trunk, ornamented with antlers. She was also buried in a 3-foot-tall pointed hat with gold foil images of branches, trees and cats. Was The Lady a priestess of the deer goddess as tree of life, a wisdom keeper? Is this hat the origin of the pointed "witches hat"?

        The bronze mirror above was found in another Pazyryk kurgan on the Ukok  Plateau. The Lady's coffin also had a similar deer decorated bronze mirror. In fact, these type of mirrors were found all through the EurAsian Steppes in Scythian, Pazyryk, Samaritan and Saka burials. (The Amazon women of myth and legend were also Samaritan. And, Buddha himself was a Saka prince.)   Reindeer images were also found on fabric and carpets. Other images include griffins, panthers, lemurs, house cats &  birds. These images are also created as combined, morphing hybrids.

            Interestingly, or tellingly, is what The Lady is not called. A male mummy nearby, with a less ornamented burial, is called a "tribal chieftain". The Lady is called "unknown woman".  Writer Vicki Noble (2003) calls her a "priestess shaman" and noted the parallels between The Lady's artifacts and those found in stories of Tibetan dakinis and yoginis. I agree.

             When I had my first dream/vision of  reindeer woman, she was showing me that there was going to be a pole shift & a severe earthquake. At that time, I had no knowledge of a "reindeer goddess" image. Through research I found that she is a ancient , pre-shamanic deity that is associated with a warning to humanity: if we stray from balance in our relationship to the earth, she will cause the earth to quake.  Coincidentally (or should I say, sychronistically?) I recently discovered a curious news story about The Lady. When her tomb was disturbed, and her body moved to a museum, the local Altai desendants of The Lady were very upset.  After she was removed from the tomb,  there were frequent quakes in the local area 2-3 times a week. The people warned the government that her removal from the tomb was the cause of the quaking. They felt that if she was placed back in her kurgan the quakes would stop. So far, the government has refused to take her home.

               Symbolically, The Lady's tomb and other tombs like hers represent the North Pole, or the spiritual orientation of the clans & tribes. This idea is found throughout EurAsia, Mongolia& Tibet. Disturbing the tombs is a metaphor for the loss of Spiritual North. Though I can't say that moving The Lady has caused the earth to quake, I can say that the people of earth have collectively lost their North Star & their spiritual orientation. All is not lost , though. There still remain Those Who point The Way.




  1. 5 minutes after posting this we had a 3.7 earthquake centered 32 miles from my home.

  2. You live in a such a deep psychic place, Debra, that it's fascinating to see where your research with this archetype has taken you. The quake 5 minutes after posting sure seems like a confirmation to me - not big enough to cause major damage, but just big enough to serve as a synchro.

    I can't wait to see the next installment. Perhaps you should post this on dream weavers, too, and see if the other dreamers can tune in??

  3. Very interesting Debra. This is an area that I know nothing about. Thank you for educating us on this ancient and symbolic topic.

  4. what an intriguing story you've shared with us - wonderful! like nancy, i thank you for the sharing of it all -

  5. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Debra!

  6. You should really read a book called Entering the Circle by Olga Khartidi. She talks about these tombs being time capsules that were planted on purpose to carry a message to the people of our time from their time. A message not so different from the one that you have intuited. While I don't agree with all of the conclusions that you have drawn, I think that your intuition is on the right track. and best of all, you are tracking it well. Good work. by the way, have you gotten your hands on a copy of Jungs Red Book? Jung is finally revealed as the Gnostic Prophet of our time. You would find much within to illumine your path. blessings upon your path.

  7. leland- thank you for reminding me about Entering the Circle. I have just read it again. The pertinent passages are on pages 165-166.

    I do have a copy of Jung's Red Book.... amazing material. I agree that he is a Gnostic Prophet of our time.

    As for my own conclusions on my own process: I remain open and my conclusions are not final. I want to learn more....
    Thank you for posting!

  8. Oh. My. God.

    From January 2016 I have been having many visions of a deer, mostly with the Sun nested in its antlers. And I was deeply fascinated with the Princess of Ukok when I first heard about her, back in 2012. Today, I had this story, combined with other synchronicities, in my mind again and found this blog while searching for Pazyryk pictures at google images!

    I'm deeply grateful to you for creating this post. It's being really helpful to me! I slowly make sense out of everything. Thank you!