Storytelling

Most spiritual and religious traditions have a corpus of stories which transmit their values and beliefs, and the stories of their saints and heroes. It is also good to create stories. In his essay, On Fairy Stories, JRR Tolkien expressed the view that when we create stories, we are exercising a gift from the Divine, the gift of ‘subcreation’.

One way of creating new stories is to practice storytelling in the round. One person starts off a story, and then when they have run out of ideas, the next person in the circle takes over. You can augment this practice by using cards with images or words to suggest ideas to the participants.

Storytelling is an art which it is very satisfying to learn. To make your story come to life, include details of colour, taste, smell, sound and texture; imagine how the characters in the story feel about their situation. Traditional storytelling does not go into much detail, but it gets across the experience with directness and immediacy. You can also add your own personal twist to well-known stories, such as telling the story from the point of view of another character – how about the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the point of view of the wolf, for instance? Try to find and listen to traditional storytellers and learn from their technique.

Tradition: Multiple traditions

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