Earth Stories Project
We live in a time when the web of life on this beautiful planet is increasingly being torn up by an out-of-control form of human society. All other-than-human life forms are mostly treated as without soul, consciousness or intrinsic value, and are exploited as 'resources' and quickly thrown away, in the interests of profit, and supposedly in the interests of human wellbeing. This is tremendously hard on humans, in fact, tending to leave us somewhat numb, brutalised, lost and alone-feeling.
We have lost in this our sense of living within a vast and beautiful mystery, embedded within and part of a huge web of consciousness, on an extraordinarily beautiful and generous planet. This loss creates a crisis of meaning, and can leave us scared and dangerous, defensive and prone to build walls.
It can be immensely powerful to challenge the distortion of consciousness by bringing in all that tends to be left out in our human centred ways of thinking and speaking - by telling our Earth Stories for a change, rather than our usual human-human stories of our lives. And sharing these together can weave a magic of sanity, clarity, insight and compassion.
From March 2017 the Inner Transition group facilitated the telling of Earth Stories in all sorts of settings and for all age groups. The launch of the project was on Thursday March 16th, 7 - 9pm at the Methodist Church; an evening of listening and speaking, as we explored our connection and disconnection with the vast web of life through the journey of our lives, and learned how to hold our own Earth Stories events. On Tuesday March 28th, we experienced the magic of Playback Theatre, as they re-enacted our Earth Stories before our eyes at Bogan House.
All events tied in with our 10th Anniversary Celebrations are detailed in our beautiful poster; more detailed information will be published on the calendar as events unfold, as we will continue this project beyond the birthday celebrations.
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Report from Hilary Bee in May 2017, reflecting on the project to date:
Thank you from Inner Transition to everyone who took part in our Earth Stories Project! We are celebrating the successful completion of a series of events that we hosted from February to April. Birthed around a fire, on land tended entirely by hand, the project centred around the speaking, writing, singing, drawing, acting and receiving of our stories of connection and disconnection with nature.
After running some small gatherings, we held our Launch Night on March 16th, which was attended by about 65 people. Using candles to symbolise a fire, we gathered in a large circle and told each other our stories. One participant said, “Although I've never met the two people I spoke to before, I will never forget them for the rest of my life”. On March 28th we partnered with Playback Theatre, who held a poignant evening of enacting the stories of the audience before our eyes. On April 17th writer Roselle Angwin led a workshop on her land, where people were invited to write about their direct experiences of connecting to the natural world. On April 21 Caspar Walsh led a walk from Totnes to Sharpham, with participants also writing of their experiences.
These events culminated in an Earth Stories Celebration on April 21st (left), where we again sat in a circle around a symbolic fire. Celebrating in many modes, a group of about 120 people were led in song by Global Harmony, Viva Choir and Ian Hague of Bowden singers; we told each other our stories; we heard poems and writings gathered by Roselle and Caspar at their workshops; and we completed with a spiral dance.
Throughout this period Elly Crichton Stewart held a series of storytelling events with local primary school children, reaching about 170 children from all 3 local state schools. Concurrently with this, we kept a display at Totnes Library, where we invited both adults and children to post their stories, poems and drawings. We also collected stories via email. We were thrilled and touched by all the material that came in, including a wealth of wonderful contributions from children. Local artist Bethan Matthews attended both our launch and celebration nights, sketching heartfelt vignettes throughout; with permission of some storytellers, she also depicted scenes from the Playback Theatre evening. We exhibited all this material - pictures, poems and writings at the TTT Tea Party on April 22nd - Earth Day (below right).
In offering this project, we discovered that it has a life of its own that seeks expression. We found that when we tell our Earth Stories together in both small and larger groups, a web is woven between us and we recognise that all the stories are our stories. There is only one story - the reverence of all of life shared together here on earth. We are deeply grateful for the heartfelt response this project has received, all the positive responses and offers of help. It feels as if we have birthed something that will continue in various forms. After a period of rest and reflection, we plan to explore what is next.
One offering has already emerged, which is taking place on June 1st 7pm at the Methodist Church - “People of the Earth, Language of the Earth: Reconnecting with the Culture of our Ancestors” with Paz Treuquil and Guillermo Piquero.