'Trail the stories, don't trap them.' - Dr. Martin Shaw

Painting by Siggi Crombie

Painting by Siggi Crombie

What are we, but the stories of our ancestors and the stories of our selves?

Stories guide us in our understanding of humanity and encourage us to view the world in a different sense. There is an abundance of richness in our history and in the present that spans beyond our own lives. We can breathe these stories in, take them into our consciousness and value their wisdom, even if it isn’t needed at that precise moment. There is always a reason for something to be written. Some questions to consider when deciding the reasoning could be: It is to encourage us to get closer to the earth? To learn a lesson? To develop empathy, compassion, understanding? 

The ancient stories, the myths, are those filled with knowledge that want to wake the listener up  to their higher order of intuition. A new chapter of myth stories has opened up to me in the past month with the discovery of the brilliant storyteller and painter, Dr. Martin Shaw and with reading the book Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

In his talk with the amazing Emergence Podcast, Dr. Martin Shaw tells a beautiful rendition of the ancient myth, the Lindworm, an old Norwegian tale about a mythical creature that is part human and part snake. The story begins by introducing us to a gentle king and queen who live a wonderful life, but are unable to conceive a child. The Queen takes a walk into the woods and meets an old wise woman who listens to the queen’s desire to have a child. The woman tells her that in her garden the following day will be two flowers, one will be white and the other red. She must by no means eat the red flower. Of course, our curiosity always gets the best of us and the queen is no different. In all of her humanity she, as you may have guessed, eats the red flower. You must listen to the podcast to hear the rest of this beautiful myth. One that is filled with details of how our decisions and actions continue to affect those that surround us. 

Dr. Shaw’s questions to the listeners are important to consider:

What do you stand for and defend?

What do you love?

What are the one or two images (things) that have claimed your heart?

Myth stories ask us to recognize the difference between seeing something and beholding it. A thought that I think is beautiful to consider.

Women Who Run With The Wolves is a book that is rich and filled with stories that celebrate, embrace and embolden the feminine archetype. Ancient stories from Indigenous Americans spanning from Canada to Central America and stories that come from Eastern Europe are all shared along with descriptive commentary that helps us to relate these stories into our own lives. 

My favorite (thus far) is the Skeleton Woman. This story is beautiful for both men and women to read. What is it that we seek? This story opens up this question, especially when considering what we are looking for in love and friendship.. How do we view one another and how does this reflect our inner selves? It takes strength to go inward to acknowledge our bare bones and the darker sides of ourselves.

We haven’t lost our innate wisdom, it is there just waiting to be uncovered. The voices are still present but, they are quiet. Modern life is noisy, we must take an extra moment to hear these quiet voices. It is wonderful to listen to storytellers or to read the stories that have been ‘trailed.’ Advancement and technology seems to rule our everyday lives, but as I continue to find, it cannot replace the necessity of story and myth. The ancient knowledge is still so important and ever present in our lives.

As you go forth, remember these wonderful words of Dr. Shaw: “You were born for these times, proceed with a degree of urgency and a sense of humor.”

Inspiration Recomendations:

Emergence Magazine Podcast 'Mud and Antler Bone' with Dr. Martin Shaw

The fantastic book that highlights the 'myths and stories of the wild woman archetype': Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés