ELEN OF THE WAYS & FOLLOWING THE DEER TRODS by Elen Sentier
From time to time I will be introducing reviews for books that are complementary to traditional British Old Craft and the Khemetic Mysteries … or just because they contain their fair share of ‘magical truths’ that are pertinent to all Paths and Traditions. Wisdom isn’t confined to a single belief system and sometimes we can benefit from a different viewpoint … even if it’s not remotely connected to what we personally believe.
ELEN OF THE WAYS by Elen Sentier
FOLLOWING THE DEER TRODS by Elen Sentier
‘Go … Look … Learn things’ appear to have been the watch-words that Elen Sentier and I shared when very young even though those childhoods were spent in different parts of the country. And although I am what is known as a traditional British Old Crafter and she a follower of the British shamanic tradition, our Paths are remarkably similar in practice and belief. I believe that what is known today as ‘Old Craft’ grew out of the animistic beliefs of our indigenous ancestors when the tribal spiritual leaders were responsible for the well-being of the community.
Animism is the belief that every object, animate and inanimate, has its own life-force, or energy. Taking this viewpoint into account, it is not unreasonable to surmise that Old Craft probably retains features of the native shamanic practices of the British Isles – so competently written about by Elen Sentier in her many interesting books on the subject. The term ‘shamanism’ describing the supernatural powers practitioners channel from the spirit world for healing, divination and the conducting of souls – all of which are the natural province of an Old Craft practitioner where it is viewed as ‘an isolated or peripheral phenomenon’, rather than the overt devotional practices often found in contemporary paganism.
As the authors says: “British shamanism has largely been forgotten: the reindeer goddess of the ancient Boreal forest is shrouded in mystery…follow her deer-trods to rediscover her old ways. edit thisElen holds the Shaman’s Pathway for the Brythonic people. She is our mother goddess, the ancient matriarch who leads us along the quicksilver pathways that carry the spirit-blood of the Earth as the reindeer matriarchs lead the herds across the seasonal pastures. She is our fundamental way of reconnecting to the Earth here in the lands of the Boreal forest, the largest forest on the Earth that circles the globe above the 50th parallel to the tundra edge. This forest has covered the top of Britain as well as the upper part of Russia and Canada. Once Britain was called the land behind the north wind … Boreas was the Greek name for the god of the north wind … we were a part of this and places like the Caledonian forest are the remnants of this magical forest.”
Following the Deer Trods is a practical guide for anyone wanting to begin the old British paths and follows on from Elen of the Ways, filled with tried-and-tested exercises, journeys and experiential work for the reader to engage in.
Shaman Pathways: Elen of the Ways and Following the Deer Trods – the Ancient Shamanism of Britain by Elen Sentier are both published by Moon Books in their Shaman Pathways series. www.moon-books.net