2015 Shamanic Lands Elen-0All my life I’ve walked the Deer Trods of Elen of the Ways. She is the Ancestor, the Lady of the Boreal Forest.

Dad was a wise man from Lancashire. He met and fell in love with Mum before WWII but I didn’t come along until shortly after the end of the war. My mother’s mother was a witch from the Isle of Man but I never knew my Gran. Mum passed over into the Summer Lands when I was four years old but I remember her well and sometimes she still comes to me if there is a need. We lived on the edges of Dartmoor and for a few years after Mum’s death we remained there, living with aunts and with me learning from Dad and my relations as well as the village elders.

When I was eight Dad moved us up to settle in an ancient little village on the edge of Exmoor where the church is dedicated to the goddess Urith – the old spelling is Iwerydd. Dad fell in love again with the woman who had come as our housekeeper … her father had owned the house we now lived in … and they were soon married. Her sister owned the goddess’ sacred well which cured cataract and gave clairvoyance. My stepmother and her sister were among the elder folk of the village so I was still much involved in all the old ways, following the deer trods, along with the other young ones of elder folk. So I grew up in the old shamanism of Britain.

I grew up in an environment full of everyday magic. As well as Dad and my stepmother and Aunt Ida one of my uncles was a gardener who talked to his plants and taught me lots of biodynamic-like things. Another was a woodsman who could talk with animals who would take me out with him, teach me the ways. I’ve seen him call a wild hawk to his wrist and, many times, and sat all night by his side under a tree watching foxes and dormice, weasels and rabbits, badgers and hunting owls, and all the other night denizens of the wild woods.

Always living with otherworld, I’ve explored all sorts of magical paths and been fortunate to meet and work with some amazing people … like Lila Bek, Caitlin & John Matthews, Emma Restall Orr, C Maxwell Cade, Colin Bloy, Hamish Miller, Tom Graves, Paul Devereux, John Michell and many others during the 1970s and 80s.

I’ve done all sorts of other things during my current incarnation. I went to Exeter University and was part of the group that created the first degree in Rudolph Laban’s Modern Educational Dance and went on to The Place in London where I studied with Robert Cohen. Then I took a big step sideways and joined the Ministry of Defence, but I carried on dancing as “demonstrator” for a friend who taught for Arlene Phillips at the London Pineapple Dance Studio. I enjoyed my time with the services and finished up as project manager designing a networked computer system for Defence Sales. After leaving the MoD I met Ian Gordon-Brown and Barbara Somers and trained with them in transpersonal psychology and had a practice, working especially with dreams, until I moved out of London in 1999. I’m also an artist and gardener, I designed three biodynamic show gardens at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and our land here is Demeter certified.

I’m awenydd (you pronounce it Ah-when-ith). That’s how we call ourselves as British native shamans and it means spirit keeper. I live and work in the Welsh Marches which is a very magical twilight place full of the ancient ways on the borders of Wales and England and share my life with my husband, our cats, a host of wildlife and Otherworld. Here I write about and teach our old British traditions and, when I’m not doing that, I read, spin, knit, weave, paint watercolours and play in the wild lands.

Warm wishes from between the two lights,
Elen
email me at elen.sentier@yahoo.co.uk