New Review from Amber Agha, Shamanic Practitioner www.sacredspacehealing.org
Elen of the Ways
Shaman Pathways -Elen of the Ways – Following the Deer Trods
By Elen Sentier
Published by Moon Books
ISBN: 978 1 78099 5595
Author website: www.elensentier.co.uk
‘Elen of the Ways’ is a beautifully written book which connects the reader with the the ancient shamanism of this country, and it does so wonderfully and with both grace and fascinating anecdotal information. The reader can feel the author’s passion and her authenticity.
Elen Sentier is an Awenydd and comes from a family of Awenydds, the name given to the British Shamanic tradition. She was born on Dartmoor and grew up on the edges of Exmoor and now lives in Wales where she teaches and writes about British native Shamanism. Her mother was the daughter of a Manx witch.
The reader is urged to seek and to find a connection with the land through ancient shamanic practices. She directs us to sacred sights across the UK and shares their significance with us, including the discovery of sweat lodges which existed until the 19th Century.
The book describes how, by following the tracks of the Reindeer through the landscape, we can come into greater balance with ourselves. The author uses well researched historical analysis of Neolithic and Pre-Neolithic mankind, the life of the early hunter gatherers and later, the farmers, and she makes valid points about how living out-of-harmony with the seasons, the land and the animals makes us unwell on many levels.
‘Elen of the Ways’ is the antlered Goddess, and the book is rich with stories linked to Her and to ancient mythology and the Priestess tradition, the Anwenydd – the Spirit Keeper.
Each page gently guides the reader using simple methods to connect authentically to the land by tracking animals and birds, which signs to look out for and how to read the landscape. It involves asking permission of the food we eat, connecting to the insects in our homes rather than seeing them as undesirable intruders and asking the land and listening to its replies. These are simple practices, and yet they provide the core of a development of attaining a healthy understanding and knowledge of our environment.
We are given a history of the symbolism and the importance of the Reindeer in Sami traditions as well as other traditions around the world – including our own. Sometimes, there can be a perception that to have any Shamanic experience or knowledge one must travel to parts of the world and steep ourselves in another person’s culture. Elen Sentier makes an important point that Shamanism is native to this land and has roots here so why not trace it through the land and its sacred stone circles? We can begin to appreciate the similarities and differences and take ownership of the magical practices that we have at our disposal.
Most especially, I enjoyed the explanation of the Goddess through the observance of the female Reindeer. The terms ‘God’ and ‘Goddess’ are given an authentic explanation that places power in the hands of both as Pre-Neolithic society had both male and female hunter gatherers. In ancestral times, neither male nor female was superior – they were equal so we see ancient people had a profound honouring and knowledge of their environment and practiced a gentle and respectful way of living a life in balance and harmony with the creatures around them. We have forgotten so much when Elen Sentier has now revealed.
‘Elen of the Ways’ is a must-read book for those who wish to discover their magical roots in the British Isles. Above all, this book shows the commonality of mankind across the world and how small the world family really is. Wonderful!
Reviewer: Amber Agha, Shamanic Practitioner, www.sacredspacehealing.org