Deer trods are footprints. There are stories around the world of people whose footprints, when they walk, have energy. One of the most famous is the story of Wenceslas who we sing about as a Christmas carol …
Mark my footsteps, my good pageThe story has been Christianised as so many of our old tales are but the truth of what Wenceslas could do is still there … and he would have done it because he was connected, was walking the deer trods.
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
In his master's steps he trod
Where the snow lay dinted
Heat was in the very sod
Which the Saint had printed
The words to the carol "Good King Wenceslas" were written by John Mason Neale and published in 1853 but the music originates in Finland 300 years earlier. Wenceslas himself was the king of Bohemia in the 10th century.
As I mentioned in my book Elen of the Ways, my father taught me about what we called foot-dowsing.
When any of us step, walk, run, touch the Earth with our feet, we give out and pick up energy with each step. This happens whether we are conscious of it or not; walking, following the deer trods is partly about becoming conscious of this and about how we do it.
This energy is coloured by how we are because it has passed through us. If we are not connected but wrapped up in ourselves, our egos, the little self that lives only in this incarnation, then the energy we give out won’t be very good. It will be full of our own things and thoughts and feelings, both good and bad, our own fears and selfishness as well as our joys and happiness. But it will all be personal, “about me”; the connection won’t be properly made, if it’s there at all, because the whole focus will be on “me”. Just think for a moment how it feels to you to when you draw in bad energy from wherever you are. We’ve all done it, most unpleasant. Now think how the earth feels, and all the trees, plants, rocks, water, fish, animals and birds. And this is what most people give out every day.
When we are connected, beginning with the Earth/Sun exercise, then the energy from earth and sun will wash through us and help to clean us up, widen our perspective, take our attention off ourselves and out into everything else. The exercise helps … but we still have to work on it. It’s not like confession where you can sin all week, go to confession on Friday and get cleaned up so you can go out and sin again all the next week! Otherworld certainly does not work like that!
This giving and taking of energy is part of the plan, what the earth wants us to do; being connected means we can learn to do it properly. Connecting and learning to walk the deer trods helps you give good energy.
As I said in Elen of the Ways, feeling, sensing the threads, for me, is like walking on a musical instrument, a big one with many different notes, like harp-strings or organ pipes as they are being played. And it’s my walking that plays this great instrument. Dad used to take me out walking from as soon as I could walk, in the park, the grounds of the ruined castle in the town where we lived and out on Dartmoor. He taught me to feel into the land and sense her. At the same time he’d teach me to see the physical signs that told what creatures had been down the path before us, so bringing together spirit and matter. He called it seeing with your feet.
It’s the earth and her connection with the sun that makes it possible for you to see with your feet. Once on that thread it’s much easier to connect with the Spirit of Place of the place where you are; spirits of place, genius loci, are a sort of step-down from the Earth spirit, smaller and especially concerned with that particular place. Working with the spirit of the place you are in will bring you so much more kenning.
Our long-time ancestors to knew this and were much closer to spirit then than we are now. They followed the deer trods as a normal and natural part of life and living, we have to relearn the old ways; it takes time and lots of practice and patience but the reward is joy.
You can view Following the Deer Trods on Amazon and on Elen's author page at Moon Books. Her website Deer Trods Tribe has more details.