Creativity Gathering 27th March 2021: Storytelling
Jennifer Ramsay: Storyteller, art therapist, Gestalt therapist. www.storyarte.com
This was my first visit to the Creativity Gathering and I received a warm welcome. I was particularly interested in the topic of storytelling as I am a professional storyteller and facilitate Story Medicine workshops.
What would your answer be to this icebreaker? “What is your favourite character from a story, myth or legend?”
In our gathering a variety of characters turned up and took us into the world of stories: Baba Yaga, the witch who helps us to grow, was a favourite. So too, was another character from Russian culture, The Snow Maiden, who always dies at the end of the story, when spring arrives. Mary Poppins, the flying nanny and her magical bag, instantly transported us to our childhoods and on a more philosophical note, Siddharta appeared passing through on his quest for meaning.
Last, but not least, was the phoenix, the ancient mythological bird, which every so often bursts into flames and another phoenix arises from the ashes of his predecessor. This powerful symbol is much needed in the world of storytelling today, since almost all live storytelling has been cancelled due to Covid restrictions. But, storytelling can never die, it can only rise up from the ashes, like the colourful phoenix, carrying stories to the public who yearn for them.
Stories have been with us since the beginning of humanity when we sat around the ancestral fire. They have accompanied us through wars, plagues, depressions, famines and they are here to accompany us in this uncertain time as well. Storytelling is a fundamental part of human life and we create and share stories constantly.
Sometimes we can get stuck in a negative story. Narrative therapy and similar types of therapy can help us to retell this story and reframe our lives by focusing on more positive aspects of our life story. A great way to story our lives is through journalling. We can journal through words, imagery, collage, painting, photography and other media.
Oral storytelling is often associated with words, but it is so much more than that. Many storytellers consider it to be a visual art and their role is to relay the images, but the listeners may receive the story through a heightened sense of smell, sound and even movement, that’s the magic of storytelling.
The space stories are told in, can help transport the listeners into a magical realm. We discussed the project of the mobile shepherd’s hut and I used to tell stories in a big tipi. This was in the ‘olden days’, before the restrictions for Covid. Nowadays, Zoom invites us to gather round and our screens act as an ancestral fire.
Nothing can stop our imaginations! We can still travel to imaginary to places, like a secret story garden and visit an ancient grandmother tree who can provide the answers to any questions or doubts that we may have.
We briefly discussed story creation and the Six-Part Story Method (6PSM) as a good topic for a future creative gathering and we viewed the beautiful new website that Tatiana Stoiko designed for the creative gatherings https://creativitygathering.wixsite.com/website
I’ll finish off with my favourite quote from a Siberian elder:
If you don’t know the trees, you can get lost in the forest
if you don’t know the stories, you can get lost in life.
Let stories and storytelling accompany you through the forest of life!
If you are interested in joining future gatherings please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.