Posts Tagged ‘oral tradition’



Photograph copyright Theodore Herzberg

Saturday, I went to a storytelling workshop by Ruth Strotter, founder of the Dominican College Storytelling Program, who is also a folklorist and international storyteller and teacher. Seven storytellers gathered. We learned new techniques and hopped right into telling stories. As the day flowed and undulated with the sounds and movement of the telling of tales, I experienced the magic and mystery of the oral tradition.

There’s something about the oral tradition and the alchemy of symbol and metaphor as elixir for the soul. It engages the imagination, yes. But there is something more that happens. Something I can’t quite put words too. But there is a shift, a change that happens, people are renewed. You can feel the spell, a real sense that magic is happening. You can’t see it but you can feel it. Mystery is engaged.

After the experience I wanted more, so I listened to Clarissa Pinkola Estes Volume One CD’s of “Theatre of the Imagination”. I listened to the story of “The Lost Mother Moon”. Mother Moon is lured from the sky into a dark bog, trying to help a lost old man, but she is tricked, beaten, hurt and shoved deep down into the bog, covered by a heavy boulder.  The people have to work together as a community, creating light together to help rescue Mother Moon.  

The telling in it self is enough to start creating movement in thought and feeling, but then Clarissa enriches the telling with insights and more stories. Mother Moon is wounded in the story, and Clarissa talks about how the origin of the word “wound” is related to wonder. And later talks about how within a wound there is a door. If we go sit in the center of a wound, we can open a door. We can be the light that walks through that door, a light for others.

In the words of a dear friend, “there is magic in the telling”. 


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