Today I’m reviewing Finding Elen: The Quest for Elen of the Ways, an anthology edited by Caroline Wise and published by Eala Press. A new copy will be £10:99/$16:99.
This is an anthology, but not the kind I usually review. Rather than providing prayers, rituals and poetry to honor Elen, this book focuses on trying to understand Who Elen of the Ways actually *is*. There’s a lot of research (and almost all the articles include references – yay!). There’s UPG in there too, but there’s no confusion as to what’s UPG and what’s research. There are also some nice drawings and photographs – I especially appreciate photographs when an article is discussing archaeological findings, as Elen and the Celestial Deer Path does.
This book is split into four parts; Elen of the Ways, The Deer Mother, The Green Lady, and Back Tracks: The Sun Path and the Waters at the Shaman’s Gate. The authors have taken a variety of approaches towards finding out more about Elen – we go from The Dream of Macsen Wledig to the Miracle Stag of Hungary to the Lily Maid of Astolat, and all kinds of other things as well. Naturally, with such variety, you’ll probably find some articles more compelling than others. I have to say though, even if I didn’t feel fully convinced by a particular line of research, I certainly learnt a lot by reading through it! I think the only real problem I found with this book was that it really could have done with a bit more proof-reading at times (but hey, I’m far from perfect on that score. Faaaaar from perfect…)
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone needing or wanting to learn more about Elen of the Ways, as it provides a lot of different ideas and views. If anyone has read this, or any other books concerning Elen of the Ways, it would be great to hear from you 🙂