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, Pierre Teilhand de Chardin, and Native American holy people like Black Elk and Lame Deer. I also loved the Grail stories of Arthur, Merlin, and Parzifal.
Since then, I’ve continued to be drawn to stories and myths that activate archetypal energies, invite us to imagine a bigger life, and inspire us to make a positive difference in our world. During my adults years, I also started exploring creative ways for individuals and communities to remember, share, and reflect upon their own stories.
Soon I was learning from Clare Danielsson, John Nolte, Ann Hale, and Donna Little how to use action methods for groups to tell personal 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 in 2000.
When I moved to Edinburgh in 2001, I heard and read stories about and told by the Travellers; reflected on ‘spiritual allies’ in 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 took delight in jointly ‘seeking’ the Grail and the esoteric wisdom it embodied.
Over the years, these ‘kindred spirits’ met regularly at Gordon’s Open Studies classes, pub sessions after class, and on special occasions. When the courses ended, we became Grail Questers – meeting monthly and continuing our journey of adventure to learn more about Merlin and Jesus, sacred geometry, sacred sites, the Knights Templar, and related esoteric topics. We even took field trips to particular areas in Scotland.
In the autumn of 2013, I facilitated a shamanic workshop entitled Inner Journeys: Shaman’s Core Seeds of Storytelling for the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 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.
I want to acknowledge several women with important story-telling abilities and have included their websites under SELECTED RESOURCES to enable you to browse their work and read what you wish. HJ Blenkinsop, who designed my website, is an author of magical books that are creative and empowering for girls. Alex Mayer is a writer and journalist, whose way with words is powerfully touching.
Sharon Mehdi is another magical writer who writes with subtle power and delightful intrigue. Jean Houston tells her marvelous stories throughout her many books. Zerka Toeman Moreno, co-founder of psychodrama with her husband J. L. Moreno, has written her amazing story-filled memoirs and other important books and articles. Alette Willis tells and write stories that honor our environment and overall wellbeing.
Finally, Magdalene Sacranie, a friend and colleague on the Compassion UK Team, which is connected to the Charter for Compassion, lived in Africa for a time and has published a re-telling of African Dreamtime Tales. It’s a charming book well worth reading.
Many thanks to them and to all who tell stories that enrich our lives!
BOOKS AND PROGRAMS:
Tales from African Dreamtime, retold by Magdalene Sacranie. To order, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is priced at £7.99 plus P&P £2.50 (UK). All proceeds from her book go to compassionate education initiatives at the Charter.
See http://www.jeanhouston.org/ for new information about what Jean Houston offers now that Mystery School has ended. Also check for her books.
Celtic & Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/literatures-languages-cultures/celtic-scottish-studies/home
Kitty Tweddle Books by HJ Blenkinsop (magical stories for courageous and empowered girls) http://www.jhblenkinsop.com
Mehdi, Sharon – Writer, Author and Much More http://www.sharonmehdi.com
Meyer, Cameron Alexis – Writer and Journalist http://www.cameyer.com
Moreno, Zerka Toeman http://www.zerkamorenofoundation.org/
Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, California, USA http://www.pacifica.edu/mythology.aspx
Plotkin, Bill – Anima Valley Institute https://animas.org
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK, www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk
Willis, Alette ReStoryLab http://restorylab.com
BIBLIOGRAPHIES (downloadable link to pdf):
Celtic Studies (pending)