Glimpses of 'Elen of the Ways'

My 'Elen' Medallion - Pyrography on Birch
I first heard of 'Elen of the Ways' back in 2012 by chance...
  An image of a woman with antlers had been in my mind for a little while..I knew nothing about the image and assumed it was another of my slightly odd inner 'visions'. The image was eventually given form on paper, and became the drawing I named  'Spirit of Albion'. The lady with antlers had developed a green face, and I thought of her as a kind of spirit of growth, fecundity, the earth and the forest and also representing 'Englishness'.
'Spirit of Albion'
   After posting the drawing online, someone commented on the picture and mentioned 'Elen of the Ways'. That was how I first heard of her. Although Elen is not noted for having a green face, she does have antlers, and is believed to be an ancient British and Northern European goddess linked with the herding of reindeer along the old trackways.
  Since that initial discovery I have studiously avoided reading about Elen, although intrigued and tempted to do so! I don't want my inner idea, or feeling of this antlered woman to be influenced by what I might read - my way of getting to know her needs to be through allowing images to arise.
 Around this time I was asked to create an 'Elen of the Ways' Pendant using my pyrography technique, which again required that I draw on inner feelings about Elen. The design I created depicts a goddess figure, with antlers, and holding a flaming torch in one hand and staff in the other, set against a starry night sky. I wanted to show the figure offering guidance on the path -hence the staff, and to be a 'light in the darkness', hence the flaming torch.
   My next glimpse of Elen, in 2013, came in the form of words - a short verse arose in my mind during a period when I was making a number of Elen pendants, which had proved very popular..The verse  helped to give further shape to my understanding of Elen ..and introduced the notion of her as a mysterious shape-shifter..

                                      ' Lady of the ley-lines, Elen of the Ways,
                                        Essence of the Forest, and sacred sunlit days -
                                        Through dappled green we glimpse her,
                                        A dance of shimmering light,
                                        A vision on the pathway...
                                        A graceful hart of white..'

By 2014 Elen had continued to develop in the recesses of my mind..and was ready to step forward into another picture. 'Elen of the ways- Forest Dancer' is
'Elen of the Ways, Forest Dancer'
the title. In this drawing Elen is seen dancing with joy and vigour in a forest clearing, holding her drum and beater and accompanied by an owl.
   Another year passes..throughout which I work on whatever images demand to be created! I never force ideas  - the drawings I create are whatever is right at a given moment. Elen is still there in the background, waiting her time..
 In 2015 she made her appearance, again in a kind of winter forest setting entitled 'Elens Wood'. This Elen is much more still and tranquil than the dancing version..here we see her as more of a contemplative..accompanied by white doves.
   Her most recent appearance, in January 2016 continues this contemplative theme.
     'Lady of the Forest' depicts Elen in thoughtful, compassionate mood, gazing at a blackbird. Her antlers have developed their own tree growth which provide succour to the birds and creatures of the forest..so that she appears in a slightly mystical form..it is interesting to compare this version with the first, green faced figure of 'Spirit of Albion' -there are similarities, particularly with the idea of her antlers developing supportive growth.
     No doubt she will continue to dwell and shape-shift  within the depths of my mind until she is ready to reveal herself in new form..


'Elens Wood'
'Lady of the Forest'
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