What the Storyteller Knows (Grey Heron Nights 12)

Yes, there’s some overlap in these recent posts; after all, I’m making it up as I go along. Each early morning with a notebook brings a new set of reflections to add to the soup. Dream-makers, memory-keepers, storytellers – in a sense, they’re all part of the same thing. But they each have different gifts, and each of those gifts is critical at this time in its own unique way.

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The storied days

There is something about the all-too-fleeting days between Samhain and Winter Solstice. Something about the sudden sharp shock of early-morning air, about the mists rising from the surface of a thousand scattered Connemara lochs. The bog grasses have transformed themselves from a tired green to a rich russet red, and the great black clouds pile in from the mountains to the north, smothering skies that are all shot through with rainbows. Read More

Myth and story as an act of placemaking: the transcript

For those of you who requested a transcript of yesterday’s audio file, here it is.

It’s not quite dawn in this green, fertile valley; there’s just the faintest glimmer of pink in the sky to the east. The moon is waxing, its light silvering the river which winds through the land, soft like the curves of a woman’s body as she stretches out to dip her toes in the sea. At the crossroads, three hares are sitting quite still in the middle of the road; they scatter when they become aware of me, tails flashing white in the moonlight then fading into the dark. Read More

Myth and story as an act of place-making (a short audio file)

Animism is a profoundly unfashionable idea among the ‘nature intellectuals’ – even those who preach to us about reconnecting with ‘nature’. Which is curious, really, because I’m not sure why they’d want to connect with nature if they believe that most of what is in it is inert, insensible, or just plain dead. Read More

The re-enchantment of psychology: or, why we are not imagining myth, but myth is imagining us

My psychology studies didn’t begin well. In the first lecture I ever attended, a sardonic disbeliever-in-everything thoroughly and mockingly debunked the idea of hypnosis, demonstrating how to fake the Human Plank Feat to a lecture theatre full of mesmerized (sorry) students who were already beginning to wonder what on earth they’d let themselves in for. Read More

Why enchantment matters

It seems suddenly to have become fashionable — or was it always fashionable? — to turn one’s nose up at the mention of words like ‘enchantment’ or ‘re-enchantment’. It seems that men in particular don’t like these words, as though they’re just not gritty enough. As though enchantment is somehow about distancing you from the earth rather than connecting you to it. I find that idea perplexing. Once upon a time I used the title ‘Re-enchanting the Earth’ as an overall banner for my work, and although I don’t use that title any more, my work is still very much about re-enchanting. How could it not be? Read More