Sukat Tevishnekish (Magical White Deer)
Painting by Amil Pedro
Another spiritual being residing in the Hot Spring waters is a Magical Deer that is said to be completely white in color.
Pedro Chino, one of the most powerful type of Cahuilla shamans, was known to visit the Magical Deer beneath the Spring’s surface. Here, in a place he described as “not really water [but] dry land underneath,” Pedro Chino was instructed by the Deer and other sacred beings on how to cure his people. “The beings living in the water show me,” he once said.
“Before the white man came, the Deer would appear at the hot springs. There would be a storm. The medicine men would spring upon the back of the deer and ride the lightning to the Upper Regions, where they found herbs and medicine for our people.”
- Fannie Siva
“Sukat tevishnekish pe pe. Yen pe pe panga hiwqa.” Translation: “That is the so called White Deer. But it lives in the water."
- Katherine Siva Saubel, A Dried Coyote’s Tail