This winter, give your loved ones a memorable and traditional gift: a Great Story and Soup.
For centuries, before the 1960s brought the television into our private homes to entertain us, people gathered around for winter storytelling. Friends and family gathered in village meeting places, or they bundled up and sat around bonfires in chilly weather—to hear a great story. Why? Because a great story awakens the imagination and allows listeners to time travel to faraway lands, feeds the soul, and connects us to our humanity. Storytelling is Medicine.
How to Become a Storyteller: Learn a folktale, faerie tale, or myth—one that stokes your imagination. Know it well enough so that you can tell it from memory and embellish characters and harrowing moments in the ordeal. Live-telling is animated and interactive; you are looking at your listeners (and taking cues from them) while they are watching your every gesture. It usually does not matter if you forget one part because in the part that is told with generosity and heard with rapture, because the listeners are making their own images and connections about how the story relates to their own lives or memories.
Gather your loved ones around. Light a candle or stoke the fire in the fireplace. I like to play music and serve homemade soup and bread or dessert using recipes from the place or people from where the Story comes. A simple bowl or cup of warm homemade soup while listening to a story adds to the whole social and sensory experience (without being distracting). Hearing and seeing the telling of a tale focuses our attention and awakens the imagination. Puppets and a few props may hold the children’s attention. I have a big Raven hand puppet who helps tell “Raven Brings the Light” and other Raven stories.
In Birth Story Listening, every listener learns the art of storytelling, too. The art is in choosing a story, biography, sacred or nature story that mirrors the storyteller’s personal myth.
Blessings on your new tradition,