Elen of the Ways is about the ancient shamanism of Britain. Elen Sentier grew up in a long family lineage of following the Deer Trods; in this book she tells of the old, forgotten ways of our ancestors. Through her own experience, stories, practical exercises and journeys with the deer, Elen takes you into the realm of the Boreal Forest, of which Britain is a part, to show how the Deer Goddess is the spirit of this land. To walk the deer trods is to realise how close and connected you are to nature and everything in this beautiful world which we share with our non-human brethren. You learn, too, that our everyday world and otherworld are intertwined. Elen of the Ways is both here and there at the same time. You will find her everywhere.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
As far as I am concerned, Elen Sentier can do no wrong! She has the knack of distilling her wisdom into relatively few words, and here she explores the magical relationship between people and deer from a shamanic perspective.
As we read, we follow the trackways made by deer both physically and metaphorically, and once again we are in the Northern Lands. ~ The Inner Light, Vol 35 No 1
Having just returned from an Elen of Ways retreat this book was well timed. Elen Sentier's book is well researched and a thoroughly interesting read, drawing on her own experiences and history this book brings together a huge amount of information about this amazing but illusive goddess. ~ Rachel Patterson, www.kitchenwitchuk.blogspot.co.uk
Elen of the Ways by Elen Sentier is a valuable addition to my shamanic library. Sentier is an awenydd, that is a spirit keeper and tale weaver in British native shamanism. What's that? You didn't know the native shamanic tradition still existed in the UK? That's why you need to read this book. It is the one I have been seeking for years.
Elen of the Ways, for whom the author is named no doubt, is the reindeer goddess of the northern forests that circle the world. She is the Antlered Goddess, a reindeer or caribou, predominant at a time when people belonged to the Land, practiced gift economics and worked cooperatively. Her forests have diminished but in the north they still exist. The hunter gatherer societies are fewer and fewer but they still exist.
Critics will say Sentier paints an unrealistic vision of what life in a pre-agricultural society was like. Her women and men shared tasks; both hunted; they worked fewer hours a week; they had fewer diseases. Certainly what she describes belies the images we have been taught, but she has some facts at hand. In Numibia women track for the men hunting big game. In the Phillipine back country the Aeta women and men hunt the same animals. Could the modern view of our ancestors be skewed by our own egotistic belief we have created a good thing with our farming and technology? About our technical age Sentier says "We have lost our way...we no longer follow the deer trods." (page 9).
File:Deer track in forest - geograph.org.uk - 1605591.jpg
photo by Russel Wills 2009
I suspect she is correct. I loved how Sentier brings us around the world in this book with stories, legends and artifacts about the Sacred Deer Goddess. Artemis and the Ceryneain Hind, the flying deer stones in Mongolia, the wild hunt across Europe, the fairy sidhe and their cattle who were deer, sacred apples of the sacred isle which cause alters to grow have a magic link. Sentier weaves these pieces of memory together as a proper awenydd so we can see how the Antlered Goddess connects us all.
In addition to telling the stories, Sentier travels to places in Scotland as she folllows the deer paths. These are wild places the deer know. Sentier chides us: "We are often afraid of the ways of Earth." (page 40) She is not. She shapeshifts and becomes the deer. She is unafraid of death. She embraces the wilderness. She dares the caves as initiation and rebirth.
I resonate with Sentier. I am a deerkin. There is synchronicity in my experience that pulls me into the book. I have heard a doe choose herself for the hunter. I have sung a protection song against trespassers and coyotes for deer who choose to live. I have seen a new born fawn cared for by his aunt as the mother doe births his twin. I have watched male elks perform for their mates and heard them bugle at night. My own mate has spoken to them. They are our kin. This book is from the heart, from the soul. It will lead you deeper if you have wisdom to know how to find the deer tracks and how to long for them.
~ Dorothy Abrams, http://dorothyabramsonlife.blogspot.co.uk
Elen Sentier is a “spirit keeper and tale-weaver” and a teacher of British native shamanism. In Elen of the Ways her story begins with an anecdote about an incident of true communion with nature when the author meets a pregnant hind that is about to deliver her baby fawn. Sentier asked if she might stay and watch the birth and was told she could. This was her introduction to the guiding spirit she refers to as Elen of the Ways, who is an “ancestral antlered goddess.”
This book which is illustrated throughout in full colour is about how important deer have been to humans throughout history. It is about past cultures but also very much about the now. This book is a journey.
Amongst the many subjects covered, the author writes about Bushcraft, about Animal Tracks and Signs, and about Getting to know the Ancestors. It is a book in which we learn how to follow “the Deer trods” and how to see and appreciate the spiritual nature of everything we come upon. ~ Steve Andrews, author with Moon Books
Elen of the Ways is a poignant invitation to walk the Earth as our ancestors have from time immemorial - with senses and heart wide open to the hidden relationships of the land; to the beauty, life and intelligence all around us. I love this book! ~ Llyn Roberts, LlynRoberts.com & EarthWisdomCircle.org
Elen Sentier's done it again! Follow in the tracks of the Deer Trods, the ancient shamanism of Britain… Elen of the Ways is a masterful teaching of how we can ask, look, and, especially, listen to Her ways, and learn of the threads of Nature that connect us to the universe we live in, which is Spirit. Embrace the threads of your continual evolution, as we all celebrate Creation, light and dark… and a higher Understanding, a journey not to be missed! Enter with care... and Joy!
~ Dr Karen Ralls, author of Sacred Doorways, Music of the Celtic Otherworld