Story is a common treasure shared from our earliest days of ‘once upon a time . . .’. Good stories can activate our imaginations, touch our hearts, remind us of our own life journeys, connect us to the shared family and cultural histories into which we were born, and open us to a growing awareness of life beyond the familiar. They also can move into the realm of understanding and meaning.
When we start to discover in our stories patterns, archetypal energies, and essential ‘truths’ that aren’t facts, we know we are moving into myth, archetype, and the great adventures that take us, as Jean Houston says, across time and culture into the Bigger Picture – the Larger Story. There we find other ‘kindred spirits’ who also tap into the excitement of being called to co-create a New Story needed to meet today’s needs.
As a child I loved The Little Engine That Could, and as a teen I couldn’t read enough Nancy Drew Mysteries. By young adulthood, my heart opened to stories of Catholic mystics like Thomas Merton and Native American holy people like Black Elk and Lame Deer. I also loved the Grail stories of Arthur, Merlin, and Parzifal. Now I also am drawn to the bard Taliesin. Looking back, I realize these myths and stories have been invitations to imagine a bigger life.
Soon I was learning from Clare Danielsson, John Nolte, Ann Hale, and Donna Little how to use action methods for exploring individual and collective stories through psychodrama, sociometry, and sociodrama; immersing myself in core shamanic training with Michael Harner and Sandra Ingerman; and actively participating in Jean Houston’s Mystery School, including her Grail Study Trip to England, Wales, and Scotland.
I moved to Edinburgh in 2001, where I heard and read stories about and told by the Travellers; reflected on ‘spiritual allies’ stories gathered by Scottish ethnologists; engaged with numerous Celtic myths; enjoyed the music and exchanges at folk sessions; and quickly met Gordon Strachan and his cohort of ‘kindred spirits’ who were on a Grail Quest and an adventure to learn more about Merlin and Jesus.
Last autumn I facilitated a shamanic workshop entitled Inner Journeys: Shaman’s Core Seeds of Storytelling for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2013 at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. Whether stories are heard, read, discovered through processes like shamanic journeys, or enacted through methods like psychodrama, sociodrama, or Playback Theatre, they can evoke meaningful personal and collective experiences.