This excerpt deals with the relationship that I see between the two elusive goddesses of Elen and Nemetona….
I’ve always thought of Nemetona as a relation to the ever elusive goddess, Elen. The antlered goddess, Elen is currently undergoing a bit of a resurrection today, with more and more people discovering Her, though physical sources explaining Her and Her attributes are few and far between. Elen is a wild goddess, found deep within the wood. Hidden in the shadows of the trees, she watches you with eyes millennia old. You may catch a brief glimpse of her, and then she is gone, flitting silent as ghost amidst the snowy boughs, disappearing in a heartbeat. She is the heartbeat of the wood, of the wild places, of heathland and moorland. She dances under the moon in star-filled skies, her dance exhilarating and free. And in the blink of an eye she is gone, lost in the mist that slowly curls over the land in eloquent drifts.
Elen seems to have escaped the history books and academia of the human race. She knows this, and it pleases her greatly. You cannot know her without seeking her out, in the wild places, in the darkness and in the light, in the heat and in the cold. She is to be experienced, not to be read about. She is Elen of the Ways, of the trackways and paths that cross both nature and the human soul. She is a physical deity – you must put one foot in front of the other if you are ever to know her. If you are lucky, you can find the ancient pathways she had trod, leaving her energy behind, enticing you further, deeper into the heart of the wood, where the mysteries lie. Follow the footprints – in the snow, in the mud, in the sand. The cloven hoof of the deer will lead you to her. They are her children, they are Her. Like the deer, she is grace and strength, she is trusting and wary, she is capable of great stillness and explosive action. She is curious and wise, and she will beckon you further in if your heart is open.
Even as Elen embodies the wild aspects of our souls, Nemetona is that which is held in deep reverence, in sanctuary. Elen runs wild and free throughout the forest, Nemetona holds that spirit safe within the bounds of her circle, the sacred glade at the heart of the wood. Both goddesses have very little academic and historical knowledge available about them – however both are very much present here in the British Isles, and indeed throughout the world.
For me, Nemetona walks gracefully in the heart of the sacred grove, robed in natural linens, white limbs shining in the moonlight, her long dark hair flowing down her back. Elen runs free, flitting between the great trunks of the trees, ghostly as the deer, her limbs browned by the sun and her wild red hair tumbling free about her shoulders. Elen’s pathways often lead to Nemetona at the sacred heart of the wood. They often smile to each other, honouring each other and the sanctity of the sacredness of all things.
For those lucky enough to physically have a sacred grove, a forest or woodland to go to on a regular basis, making that commitment to spend time in that very special place can be an excellent way to meet with Nemetona, and indeed her wilder sister, Elen. If you can, find a space where you can go as often as you can, to walk beneath the boughs, to become a part of the forest or wood. If there is a glade within the wood, so much the better – it doesn’t have to be big. Sit and meditate there, dance in the moonlight, make offering to Nemetona in order to establish that deep connection to Her in her sacred grove that words just cannot even begin to describe.