Apprenticing to the Earth – the power of storytelling

Saturday 28 May – Yesterday the uncertainty of the weather brought us indoors, so we gathered in the house. The cats were also present – it seemed as if I had one or other of them on my lap all the time, as we sat in circle and passed the talking piece to listen to the collective emerging through the fractal of our individual stories.

What kind of stories are these? Having sensed into our time and our context (Planet Earth in 2011), we find that this is a time of threshold, approaching the point of tipping into something unknown and new, something that will be a mixture of the intentional and the synchronistic, the magic and the mystery, effort and ease. And so the stories we invited were threshold stories – pertaining to those systemic shifts inside us that mirror the shifts in our world – in order to illuminate the inner and outer alignment that we are seeking and sensing into.

The way we told our stories was something I recognised as an Aquarian pattern.

Illuminating our thresholds

Before we started, we took 15 minutes on our own to think about the thresholds in our lives and the threshold we were at now – and to illuminate that in any way we chose. Then the round began, and continued (with a break for lunch) all day.

Sarah was the Guardian of the circle. She sat holding the Tibetan bowl, sounding it at the end of each story. Without ever being told ‘this is the end of my story’, that bell always spoke at exactly the right moment and exactly the right volume, sometimes decisive, sometimes caressing and barely audible.

Each person took a talking piece as they felt moved to speak, and began by speaking their name, and saying “this is my story”. After each story, the circle had the opportunity to reflect back what it had witnessed, to question, probe and honour the teller. Then the talking piece moved on.

The stories that unfolded around our circle were deep, tough and beautiful – some were quite unnerving. Certain themes kept recurring, weaving the fabric of our collective tapestry. I was particularly struck by the prevalence of death and loss in many of the stories, and the challenge of self-acceptance.


During this telling, there were a number of powerful moments of synchronicity. Those poetic responses the world sometimes gifts us, confirming the import of something just spoken. One such moment was when the pachamama figurine serving as a talking piece imploded in Kamyar’s hands just as he spoke of his new experience of himself as the earth.

The bell

At another moment, as Christel was telling her story, the bell rang up in the kitchen. Sarah slipped out to investigate – was Kiria Athina announcing lunch already? But it was Mia, the cat, who had rung the bell – the bell that came through the lineage of Sarah’s family; Mia, the matriarch born from abandonment (echoing Christel’s story) to birth two generations of offspring into a community that loves her. It should be said that the cats that live on this land – Mia’s children and grandchildren – are powerful denizens of the place and bring enormous love to spaces that need it. Mia herself is one of the strongest Guardians of Axladitsa.

As our storytelling came to a close with the end of the afternoon, Maria spoke the pattern she had scried unfolding through our stories.

It starts with honouring our lineages – be they positive or painful and oppressive. It is this honouring of where we have come from that enables us to forgive – our own humanity, ourselves, our families, our cultures. Forgiveness leaves us free to begin to hand-make our own lives – having forgiven our past, we are no longer condemned unconsiously to repeat it. We are free to choose how we live, where and with whom. This hand-making turns out to be the alchemy of the soul that brings us to unity – that moment where at last we fit seamlessly into that place in the kosmos that we have prepared for ourselves over the span of lifetimes. Living from unity, we become love and service in deep joy.

Maria illuminating our collective story

Maria went on to illuminate four themes that stood out for her from the stories we had told and witnessed. These strongly resonate for me as Aquarian insights and practices:

  • Living nature as a place of safety – marking a clear reversal of the powerful Western cultural narrative of nature as a dangerous place where we can survive only thanks to the subjugation services offered by our civilisation. Quite by contrast, in many of our stories, as children we went to nature for safety when we didn’t find it in our families.
  • Learning – not teaching – so that we can again see (re-member) that we are the Earth.
  • Building the temples – there is physical stuff to be done – working with our hands, co-creating with the Earth to manifest the places and spaces that can release the energy that is coming through to us at this time, erupting from the depths of the formless reaches of the kosmos into the midst of our lives right now and in the years to come.
  • Telling our stories for the next generations. There is much we have learned, much we have lived, much we have to pass on. But unless we also tell our personal stories, there is no context to ground our wisdom, no light paths to guide our young folk into the future, building on what we have learned and how we have come by that learning.

As it transpired, the moment when we closed our story-telling circle was the true opening into cohesion of our group. Our stories had created intimacy and trust among us, providing a container that enabled us to move into the following days in a really open, unstructured way that produced some beautiful co-work and collective creativity. In retrospect, it was also a peak moment, in that we never again experienced such wordless cohesion.

About iyeshe

Woman returning to the wild. Cunning linguist, mother of twins, witch, host, harvester, spaceholder for the dawning Aquarian age, evolutionary wooden-spoon wielder, self-mitigating carbon footprint, wannabe holon in the forthcoming collective buddha...
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4 Responses to Apprenticing to the Earth – the power of storytelling

  1. Tom says:

    Since Martin gave his workshop story telling at the immagination club Brussels I feel the urge of having a regular story telling group -like you describe here dear Helen- in Brussels. I find amazingly enriching. Who would like to co-create this idea?
    Big hug


    • iyeshe says:

      Ho, Tom, this pleases me greatly! I’m betting that Martin will be very happy to join in the dreaming on this one, and I’m game to hold space for it to manifest…

  2. Annamari says:

    I’d be glad to join you, if I can? And I know some others who gladly would do the same, if you accept company :-))

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