”Oh lady of the moonpath bright,
and Sea-lanes laid by sun’s fair rays,
the Dragon paths from height to height,
and all the hidden holy ways
Oh Lady Elen of the Ways…”
In Legend and Landscape She has Many Names.
Courtesy of John Harding
St. Helen of Caernarvon
The mother of Constantine the Great, born about the middle of the third century, She became the lawful wife of Constantius Chlorus. Her first and only son, Constantine, was born in the year 274.
On the death of his father, Constantine, who succeeded him, summoned his mother to the imperial court, conferred on her the title of Augusta, ordered that all honor should be paid her as the mother of the sovereign, and had coins struck bearing her effigy.
She lavished on the land her bounties and good deeds, she "explored it with remarkable discernment", and "visited it with the care and solicitude of the emperor himself". Then, when she "had shown due veneration to the footsteps of the Saviour", she had two churches erected for the worship of God.
According to tradition, the Empress Helena discovered the cross of Christ on September 14, 320
She was revered as a saint, and the veneration spread, early in the ninth century, even to Western countries. Her feast falls on 18 August.
Elen Luyddogg is best known from Welsh legend in the Mabinogion. In “The Dream of Macsen Wledig”, Elen is discovered by Mascen in a dream. Her beauty is compared with that of the Sun: She is radiant and Queenly.
When Macsen finds the vision of his dreams on the real plane, he finds the woman of his dreams. Macsen and Elen meet, embrace, and marry within a day.
As his Empress, she requests the land of three chief cities as her bride-gift. She then supervises the building of roads from one cities fortress to the next, to assist in their protection. It is in this tale that we come to know her achievements as Elen of the Hosts [legions].
The Welsh Saint day of Elen of the Hosts is May 22nd, connecting her to Spring, around the time of Beltane.
Elen also been associated with Olwen of the White Track, She was a beautiful woman of high degree. When she married, her father's power (and life) was transferred to her husband.
She has been associated in recent times with Nehallenia, a Celtic-Norse Godess whose attributes mingle very closely with her own.
In their novel, Elian, a Priestess of Avalon (whose Matron Goddess is Elen of the Ways) leaves Avalon after falling in love with a Roman.
This story is an intricate weave of St. Helen and Elen Luyddogg, with the essence of the enigmatic Elen of an earlier age.
In Priestess of Avalon she is described by a bard-priest. She was said to have been tall and strong, having a love of dogs, and the elder tree was sacred to her.
It is also written in the novel that all roads are under her protection, both paths that cross land and the sea. Ancient traders prayed to her for protection. She also seems to have had effect on agriculture (perhaps a fertility Goddess also).
The bard-priest relayed that she may have been the one that showed the way across the sea to Avalon. The places where the waters meet with the land are special to her. She maybe called upon when we seek to go between the worlds, because she is also Mistress of the Hidden Ways.
The Goddess Nehallenia is introduced in Priestess of Avalon to Eilan and she can’t help but notice the similarities of Elen and Nehallenia.
Color ~ Red
Holiday / Feast Day~ Beltane, May 22nd, August 18th
Talismans~ comb, mirror, shell
Direction ~ Southeast
Aspect~ Lover, Virgin Goddess
Animals~ Dog,Mare, Horse, Dove, Swan
Region~ Ancient Britan
Gaurdian~ of all who journey
Rituals are not the path; they are a reminder that there is a path. –Judith Stanton
Personal Journey Ritual
This ritual is best done at the waxing of the moon.
A time that beginnings are best, and journeys reveal themselves.
Your intent may be to find your way through a ‘lost’ feeling, or time. on your path.
Gather the following ritual items and place them upon your altar:
(their placement in the ritual is listed with them)
1 small bowl filled with soil~ placed in the North
1 small bowl filled with water ~ placed in the West
1 small mirror ~placed in center, next to white candle
1 white candle ~placed in the South
1 candle ( color is your personal choice)~ placed in center
Please keep in mind that you will be reaching across a flame, so dress accordingly.
Create a scared space in whatever way you are comfortable in doing.
Cast Circle: You are creating a circle of power and acknowledging the Elements with this circle chant
Circle your space three times chanting the following words, light the white candle on your first pass.
Elen of the Ways
Please Come To Your Daughter.”
“Here in lies
The Garden of Me
and then Revel
in the Intricacy
and the Beauty
of My Garden.
Long may I reap!”
Open Circle in the manner in which you are most comfortable.
Ground and Center
Extinguish candles. You may make an offering of the soil and water in honor of Elen of the Ways and yourself, if you wish.
1. Priestess of Avalon; Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxon; 2001 : Viking Penguin
2. The Ancient Brtish Goddess by Kathy Jones; 2002: Green Magic
3. The Mabinogion (Everyman Paperback Classics) ed. Gwyn Jones;
4. King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land: The Divine Feminine in the Mabinogion by Caitlin Matthews; 2002: Inner Traditions Intl Ltd
5. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7 1910: R. Appleton Company
6. Http://www.moonspeaker.ca/hera/helen.html ; accessed in May, 2004
7. http://www.jharding.demon.co.uk/maenmadoc.htm ; accessed in May, 2004
8. The Book of Welsh Saints by T.D. Breverton; Glyndwr Pub.; 2000
9. http://www.pantheon.org/articles/o/olwen.html; accessed in May 2004
The Dream of macsen Wledig, trs. By Lady Charlotte Guest, is on the web at http://www.zinescene.org/mabin/maxen.html
Dr G. R. Jones: The cult of St Helen is at http://www.le.ac.uk/elh/grj1/helen.html
Elen as Archangel of the first Ray is at http://www.spiritsongs.org/Archangels_Archangel_Elen.htm
Kinuko Y. Craft’s phenomenal art can be viewed at http://www.kycraft.com
Robert Emmott’s amazing photographs can be viewed at http://www.rollei-gallery.net/rje/folder-4344.html
J. Harding’s spectacular graphics can be viewed at http://www.jharding.demon.co.uk/maenmadoc.htm
Patrick Keith’s digital artwork may be viewed at http://digitalart.org/artwork.php?ID=1793
Temple of the Ways, a Nehallenic Wiccan Tradition http://www.electricapocalypse.com/wicca/
Nehalennia (historical) http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nehalennia/nehalennia.html
View ancient votive altars to Nehalennia (the visuals are striking) http://www.devrijedomburger.nl/files/nehalennia2.htm