It is not enough to say that I did not like this book, nor do I have any desire to seek out any other writings by this author. What came across for me while reading Shaman Pathways – Following the Deer Trods was a lot of anger and blaming, and a strong sense of the author’s own self-inflated superiority.
From the very beginning I found myself questioning the veracity of comments written by Elen Sentier in Following the Deer Trods. It set my spidey senses tingling!
Seeking clarification, I reached out to one of the many people that she claims to have studied under and worked or collaborated with over the years. This person informed me that Elen had begun taking one of her study courses many years ago, but never completed it. Any claims that she makes of collaborations or of working together exist solely in the mind of Ms Sentier.
I believe that Ms Sentier has fallen prey to the misguided idea that one needs longevity in order to create authenticity. And if you don’t have actual longevity, then make it up. Or take bits and pieces from other people and stitch them together as your own story. And while I cannot prove that this is what Ms Sentier has done, given her dishonesty in claiming to have studied under and worked with other teachers of shamanic ways in Britain, I certainly have reason to wonder.
With this in mind, I went back to reading the book. Time and again I found the hairs on the back of my neck rising, not in anger or fear, but in revulsion. Ms Sentier’s anger towards other religions, and her unsubstantiated claims for her own personal history cast doubts on every other thing she has written. Again and again Ms Sentier pulled the reader’s attention from the main focus of this book – a practical guide for working with Elen of the Ways – into the Elen Sentier story. Or, at least, what she would have you believe is her story.
I would like to study more about Elen of the Ways, having discovered stories of Her while reading If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie and knowing that the deer is a sacred animal to The Cailleach. However, I will be looking for more reliable teachers and authors in future.
My suggestion to you – avoid this book. Don’t bother buying it, or reading it. There are far better and more reliable teachers out there.