Elen of the Ways – A female antlered deity. The oldest Goddess of the British Isles dating back to Paleolithic times.
To our ancestors of the Paleolithic & Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) era, deer were an exceptionally important part of their lives. They relied on them for food, made tools & weapons from their bones, used their skins not only for clothing but also in the construction of shelters, all parts of the animal would have had a use.
The herds of deer would also guide them in seasonal migrations. Leading them to areas where food was more plentiful. Living the same lifestyle that the Saami peoples who are deer herders do today. As in the Saami culture of today. the deer would also have been highly revered and would have given the peoples their spiritual connection and Deities.
The deer, back then, would have been reindeer. Not the red deer that we know today in the British Archipelago. Although the majority of red deer in Britain are now found in moorlands and mountains, they’re originally a woodland species. Reindeer became extinct in the UK about 800 years ago because of hunting, the Vikings are thought to have hunted them – but also due to climate change. Our weather gradually became too warm for them. Reindeer are also the only species where the females also have antlers.
Are we descendants of the Deer People?
Further information is in our section on Folklore, Mythology & Culture, where Elen has her own page – here
Celtic Earth Spirit’s YouTube channel has more videos on our mythologies, customs, folklore and practices.