Myths and Storytelling, Part Four

myths and storytelling

Welcome to my blog series as we explore myths and storytellers. Stories and myths have impacted our world and worldview for thousands of years. This is how we learned to understand and navigate our environment. It also became a powerful tool for education and entertainment. Throughout time storyteller have woven the fabric of our societies and cultures. A storyteller captures your attention. They weave a story that creates pictures in your mind and heart. We feel the tension of the story arc as they create the characters, setting and action that fill the story. We then also feel the release of the tension through laughter or humor and powerful endings or conclusions to the tale we have either read, listened to or been a part of in some way.

Storytelling could be one of the most important traditions human’s possess. Every story contains a lesson to guide or instruct their audience. Stories teach us to love, to forgive others, to be just and to strive forward in a variety of directions. The hero’s journey and all the archetypes we explore from time to time developed over the ages through storytelling.

When people talk about the great storytellers of the modern era J.K. Rowling is included on any list compiled. Rowling’s true genius lies not in pure prose, but in story structure. She is a great storyteller. She started foreshadowing the end of the series from the very beginning. There are many subthreads that develop throughout the series and in each book. A good example is when we meet the Grey Lady in book one, only to learn about the importance to the founding of Hogwarts and the destruction of the Horcruxes in the seventh book. This is very impressive as a storyteller. The focus involved in her storytelling is profound.

And yet as powerful as the plotting is in the Harry Potter series, it would not have been read by millions without Rowling’s command of characterization. She creates a rich interpersonal world within the wizarding community. We care about these characters. It is a simple narrative necessity of demonstrating emotional intelligence. This is a very important quality that powerful storytellers have.

Rowling’s ability to develop characterization is amazing. From Harry Potter to the seemingly minor person and supporting characters she creates distinct, relatable characters. Mrs. Dursley is a nosy gossip; Hermione Granger is a shy and awkward brain. Ron Wesley is the funny, red headed side kick for Harry. Ron develops and grows dramatically throughout the series , as do all of her main characters. By the end of the Harry Potter series Ron has grown into a powerful Horcrux bashing warrior.

Along with her ability to create highly developed characters and relationships between them J.K. Rowling also is a world builder. Her ability to create a just out of sight magical world with its own system probably isn’t the most impressive thing about the Harry Potter series, but it is very hard to do well. Rowling’s created an entire subculture, complete with government, sports, economy and history for her characters to live in.

For those of you who care there is a “Harry Potter For Writers” website (harrypotterforwriters.blogspot.com) He you are introduced to the world building of Harry Potter’s world.

Rowling slowly broadens the scope of this world from Sorceror’s Stone weaving the setting and wizarding culture into all the books of the series.

Our next modern novelist in this blog is Peter Matthiessen. He was a naturalist, wilderness writer, zen teacher and CIA agent. He was one of the few writers to have won the National Book Award in both fiction and non-fiction. Several of his books have been made into movies.

His fifth novel, Far Tortuga is an amazing experience to read. He captured a series of moments with a clarity that quickens the blood. The poetry in this book has a curious quality that contributes to his storyteller’s narrative style. His joy in writing this book about the Caribbean and the green turtle migration is obvious throughout the story.

Another one of his famous books is The Snow Leopard which is about a powerful trek in the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. His writing even in non-fiction is that of a spellbinding storyteller. His words create powerful images that guide you through the world he is in either in non-fiction or fiction. A genius and master storyteller for our culture.

Storytelling and myths are the fabric of our world’s tapestry. Stories are what our ancestors gave their children and have been down to us through time. Hopefully we can cherish them and pass them on to future generations.

Blessings, Patricia

Myths and Storytelling, Part Three

myths and storytelling

Storytellers have woven their tales throughout time. Minstrels used to sing stories as they played their instruments and danced down the cobblestone streets of their town. Cervantes is famous for writing the first “modern novel” in the 1600’s and he created Don Quixote. He was a man who lived in tumultuous times in Spain. His main characters criticized the government, the Church, the Inquisition and others through story. Authors and storytellers have done that for thousands of years.

Samuel Clemens known by his pen name as Mark Twain was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, lecturer and above all a major storyteller. He wrote short stories, and novels. His most famous novel are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1875 and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885. He loved humor and satire. He wrote The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

His wit and satire especially when he lectured became famous throughout the world. He was a friend to presidents, artists and European royalty. Having said that, Mark Twain slipped his deep criticism of the many injustices in the society he lived in through his humor and writing. Creative storytellers learn how to weave their tales in such a way that they can include their opinions through their characters and stories.

Not all writers are political but myths and stories are the foundation of our human experience. A modern storyteller of the Percy Jackson and Olympians series, The Kane Chronicles and more Rick Riordian is prolific as a storyteller.

Some of the major themes in Rick Riordian’s novels are transformation, perseverance, friendship, family, loyalty and deceit.  Interestingly enough Rick Riordian was a Middle School Teachers and is a father who understands the workings of young adults minds and things they have to deal with in their daily lives. His popularity stems from his powerful storytelling style. His themes are important to his audience. His readers connect to his characters and care about his stories. I really like the way he connects his characters to Greek, Norse, Roman and Egyptian mythology.

So in summary myths and storytelling is alive and well in our modern world. I asked my 14 year old grandson, who has read all of Rick Riordian’s books, why he liked him? His response was “The books are fun, interesting and entertaining, plus I learned I have a passion for mythology.” I believe this is the goal of any story teller to have their readers enjoy the books and walks away with something of value.

Myths and Storytelling, Part Two

myths and storytelling

I believe that myths, legends and all our amazing storytellers have created (and continue to create) the very fabric of human experience. This second blog in our series will explore the timeless legends and stories of Robin Hood and Rudyard Kipling.

History gives us clues to the possibility of a Robin Hood existing in the 13th Century possibly originating from Scotland. The first literary reference to Robin Hood appear in a series of 14th and 15th Century ballads about a yeoman who lived in Sherwood Forest with his men and frequently clashed with the Sheriff of Nottingham. Little John and Will Scarlet are part of Robin’s “merry crew” in these ballads. Medieval chroniclers took it for granted that a historical Robin Hood lived during the 12th and 13th Century. John Major’s “History of Greater Britain ” written in 1521 depicts Robin as a follower of King Richard, one of his characteristics in modern times.

As in all myths and legends Robin Hood and his tales have a universal appeal. The notion of a brave rebel who lives on the outskirts of society, fighting injustice and oppression with his band of companions is a heroic archetype that fits the Hero’s Journey through most stories.

The legend of Robin Hood grew especially after The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood written by Howard Pyle, an American author and illustrator. His book was for children. It was written in 1883 and became very popular. His version is what inspired all the Robin Hood tales, books and movies since then.

Rudyard Kipling was born on December 30, 1865 in Bombay, India. He was very happy until he started school at six years old. At six years old his parents sent him to Southsea, England to receive a formal British education. He lived with a foster family. He was beaten and bullied by his foster parents. They took all of his books away and he had to hide and read in secret or he would be beaten. When he was eleven years old a family friend visited and saw what condition he was in and told his mother. She rushed to England and rescued her son from the Holloways. Alice his mother took him on a long extended holiday and put him in a new school where he flourished and discovered his joy of writing. He also became the editor of the school newspaper.

At sixteen years old Rudyard Kipling returned to India. He worked for a newspaper. He wrote thousands of words of journalism before his creative style as a storyteller emerged.

The Jungle Book published in 1894 is a collection of Rudyard Kipling’s stories. Most of the characters are animals such as Share Khan the tiger, and Baloo the bear.

His main character is a young orphaned boy Mowgli who had been raised by wolves. The setting is a beautiful forest in India. He does seem to include archetypal characters along with the Hero’s Journey in his storytelling.

The Jungle Book has stood the test of time as has its storyteller. Myths and Storytelling make up the fabric of societies. Many of them are oral stories or myths passed on through generations before a writer sets them to pen and paper or in this day and age computer or digital form. Allowing our minds to open up to the creative possibilities is the best way to allow these stories to form. This series will have six parts and I would love to have your thoughts and opinions.

Blessings, Patricia

Myths and Storytelling

myths and storytelling

Welcome to my latest blog series Myths and Storytelling!

I have explored ancient myths and stories my whole life. I was blessed by an Irish grandmother who told me many stories when I was a child. I am convinced that the Irish are one of the Great Storytellers. I have always had visions of storytellers. In my mind they would sit around the fireplace or a pot bellied stove telling tales to all who would listen to them. Captain Gregory in The Mystery of Devil’s Gulch series is one of those kind of storytellers. Oral tales are part of the history of all the books we have in our libraries or homes around the world. Stories are the fabric our existence. Myths make up the tapestry of our collective consciousness.

Myths have been around since the beginning of time. Shared personal experiences have been used as stories both as oral history, paintings and eventually writing. The magic of story transcends age and time. Our society has books, audio books, movies, television, videos and YouTube just to mention a few ways that we all communicate our stories.

Thanks to storytelling bits and pieces have come to us from so many ancient cultures such as Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, Chinese, Mayan and Babylonian history just to mention a few. Legends abound and have been shared from all cultures and walks of life. Stories from Australia, South America, India, Nepal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Africa all seem to have similar themes for their people.

It fascinates me at how many cultures that are so different can share the same general ancient stories that are passed on through time.

In this series I would like to explore some of the great storytellers and myths that I love. Be prepared that this blog will be written through the lens of my perspective as a lover of writing, books and story. There are thousands of years filled with humankind stories, but I will attempt to explore some of the more significant ones as we travel through the next few blogs of this series.

I also want to mention that our online writing workshops are now up and ready to be downloaded along with new books that will be available in 2018. Welcome to Synchronicity Publishing and thank you for reading my ramblings on myths and storytelling.

Blessings,
Patricia

Archetypes For All of Us – Part 3

Fairy Tree In Mystic Forest archetypes

Welcome to part three of our archetype series. I have so enjoyed exploring these archetypes that there will be more adventures around this topic in 2018. For now let’s see what Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell had to say about the primary archetypes that we see in stories and myths around the world.

Carl Jung has written volumes of books that explore archetypes in writing and dreams. We are looking at the last four of his primary ones. The Jester lives his life out living in the moment. He believes or acts like we only live once so live life with full enjoyment. Their goal is to have a great time and lighten up the world. There are many names for the Jester. Some of them are the Fool, the Trickster, the Joker, the Comedian or Practical Joker. It appears that their greatest fear is being bored or boring others. They use many strategies to play, be funny and make jokes. The jester does need to be careful not to be too frivolous or waste too much time. As an archetype their greatest talent is Joy.

The next Jungian archetype we touch on is know as the Thinker. This archetype spends their lives focusing on finding the Truth. They do this because they believe that the Truth will set them free. They use intelligences and analysis to understand the world. This archetype is known by many names. Some of them are the Sage, the Mentor, the Expert, the Scholar, the Detective, the Advisor, the philosopher, the Academic, the Researcher, the Planner, the professional, the Teacher or the Contemplative. This archetype fears being misled, duped or being ignorant. The Thinker’s strategy to reach their goals is to seek out information and knowledge, and self-reflection by understanding thought processes. The sage is known for their intelligence and wisdom. They do need , however, to be careful with their projects and know when to ACT and not just study details forever.

The next primary Jungian archetype is called the Visionary. They make things happen. They want to understand the basic laws of the Universe. They are called many names the Magician, the Catalyst, the Inventor, the Shaman, the Healer or the Medicine Man or Woman. The Magician works towards making dreams come true. Developing a vision and living by it is their best strategy. Unintended consequences unnerve them and they fear that their actions might create negative unintended outcomes. Even the most powerful Visionary has to watch out for becoming manipulative. The Magician archetype is a master at finding win-win solutions to any problem.

Our last primary archetype of Carl Jung’s that we are going to explore today is most often called the Ruler. They believe that the only thing in life is Power. This archetype is most comfortable being in control. The Ruler is also known as the Manager or Administrator, the Politician, Role Model, the Aristocrat, the Boss, the Leader, the King or the Queen. they want to create a successful, prosperous family or community. Their most common strategy is to exercise power to get what they want. Sometimes in their need to reach a goal they can be authoritarian and unable to delegate responsibility to others. In the positive archetypes of the Ruler they use their leadership skills responsibly.

Now we will briefly explore one of the world’s greatest spokesman for archetypes, Joseph Campbell. In the previous blogs we discussed the Hero, Mentor, Ally, and the Herold from Joseph Campbell’s work.

Our fifth archetype that Joseph Campbell brought to light is called the Trickster. This archetype adds humor and fun to the story. During gloomy or tense parts of the story the Trickster jumps in to give the reader or the audience a break. Also the Trickster is there to challenge what has always been (the status quo).

Some wonderful examples of great Tricksters are Dobby and Luna Lovegood from J.K. Rawlings Harry Potter series and the two hobbits, Merry and Pippin from JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

Our next archetype is called the Shapeshifter. Often the Shapeshifter blurs the line between the ally and the enemy. Their loyalty is in question. They provide a delicious combination of appeal and danger. Often the Shapeshifter benefit the stories by creating interesting relationships among the characters, and adding tensions to the plot line. Some of the best examples of the Shapeshifter archetypes are the Beast from the classic story The Beauty and The Beast. Also Snape from the JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Gollum for JR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.

The next archetype Joseph Campbell brings to our attention in his work is called the Guardian. His job is to test the hero of the story before they face their great challenges. They block the entrance so to speak. This archetype tells the hero to forget their quest and go home. Some good examples of this archetype is in many of Rick Riordian series. The Threshold Guardian characters in his first book of the Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief are the furies.

Yoda from the Star Wars series by George Lucas has several archetypes. He is a Mentor, Trickster and the Threshold Guardian. Yoda protects the secrets and wisdom from Luke Skywalker until he proves himself worthy. The Dursleys are the Threshold Guardian archetype in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. This archetype exist to make sure the Hero is prepared for his adventure.

Number eight and final archetype we will explore in this series is called the Shadow. Joseph Campbell’s shadow archetype shows up in many stories and myths around the world. Our hero not only needs a force to fight against in one way or the other he or she needs to see the similarities between himself or herself in the Shadow figure. Luke Skywalker and his father Darth Vader are a great example of this dynamic. Frodo’s greatest fear as he see Gollum in the Lord of the Rings series by Tolkien is what the ring did to Gollum could happen to him. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series has Harry struggle through all the similarities between himself and Voldemort.

Well we have come to the end of this series and I do hope you have enjoyed our discussion. Of course there are volumes of information on archetypes, and if you are interested in this topic I suggest you go to your library and start doing all the wonderful research that is out there for those who want to know. Thank you for visiting our website and please come back often.

Sign up for our newsletter for current information on all the exciting things happening here at Synchronicity Publishing LLC. I would love to hear from you so feel free to email me at synchron@csd.net.

Blessings,

Patricia

Archetypes for All of Us

Fairy Tree In Mystic Forest archetypes

Welcome to Synchronicity Publishing LLC ’s blog. This is a special blog to me because we are starting a series exploring archetypes. The term “archetype” came from ancient Greek. The root words are archein, which means “original or old” and typos which means “patterns, model or type”. Combing these means “original pattern” of all similar persons, objects or concepts that are copied or modeled in some form.

Continue reading “Archetypes for All of Us”

TURTLE the Symbol for Mother Earth, Longevity & Awakening to Opportunities

turtle symbology

Over five years ago I was in Trinidad to visit my daughter and her family. On that trip I had an experience I will never forget. We went to the North part of Trinidad and saw large sea turtles come ashore, lay their eggs, cover them up with sand and then go back into the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It was late in the season so we were also treated to the sight of hundreds of baby sea turtles hatching out of their shells and scurrying down to the sea bravely. Turtles have always been important to me. Continue reading “TURTLE the Symbol for Mother Earth, Longevity & Awakening to Opportunities”

The Awe Inspiring Whale

the-awe-inspiring-whale

Growing up my grandmother and I would go to the Pt. Loma Lighthouse to watch the whale migration every year. They send chills up and down my spine, especially when they jump out of the water splash back down as they dive deeply into the ocean. Years later I went on an Alaskan cruise, and saw both Killer Whales and a huge pod of Humpback Whales close up. It was amazing. Seeing whales is a tremendous blessing I will always treasure. Continue reading “The Awe Inspiring Whale”