I offer you every good wish for whatever you celebrate at this winter holiday season.
Story: Berkshire and Lancashire Folk Tales Books and Storytelling
My storytelling has sadly fallen off in recent years. This has been due to distractions, some good, some bad, a nasty virus affecting my sight, writing my Soulfulness book, a broken arm, and the growth of my psychotherapy practice.
There have still been some storytelling highlights this year:
Telling tales throughout the day at a grandson’s school is always a joy. One parent texted my daughter, “My son has been raving about your Dad and the storytelling he did in the school today. All the kids loved it, please, let him know.”
Daily family storytelling at Oxford Dance Camp is something special, because it offers the younger children the unique experience of sitting in the storytelling chair and telling a tale to a captivated audience. It’s magic. This year some 10-year olds told me in no uncertain terms that they had grown out of tales for younger children and wanted to hear some longer stories. Fellow storyteller Jackie and I responded by telling wonder tales around the campfire to a large gathering of young people.
The time has now come for me to renew my commitment to writing and telling stories. My first step has been to revitalise my storytelling website, as a good way of promoting my books of folk tales, Berkshire Folk Tales and Lancashire Folk Tales, and my work as a professional storyteller.
Website wizard Alan Woollard has designed and created my brilliant new website, so please visit me at https://www.davidengland.co.uk/ .
Storytelling in Schools
Telling stories in a school is brilliant and astonishing, the responsiveness of the children, their willingness to join in and to add their thoughts to the story, their quick and witty (and sometimes rude) humour, their enthusiasm for the tales themselves.
I tell a story in assembly that has the whole school on its feet, then I tell age-appropriate tales throughout the school. For more details, please, email me to receive a copy of my document Storytelling in Schools, which describes my general approach, my collaboration with the school to agree session plans, and the benefits to a child’s education of listening to and telling stories.
Friday is my day for storytelling in schools. I have a recent DBS Enhanced Certificate and my continuing membership of Equity includes my public liability insurance.
You will find two seasonal stories on My Stories page:
Mabon ap Modron. Beginning at Autumn Equinox—the stealing of the light—the tale reaches its glorious end at Winter Solstice, when the light is restored. In the story are wise old creatures like the Eagle of Gwernabwy.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, my pithy retelling of this spicy Arthurian tale of beheading, courtly love, and more.
Soulfulness : The Book and the Psychotherapy Practice
My book, Soulfulness, The Marriage of Shamanic and Contemporary Psychology is not, alas, the best read book on the planet, but those who have read it tell me they found it clearly written. The book does, I hope, contribute to the flow of ideas in psychology, showing how synthesis can be achieved between ancient psychology and practice and mainstream contemporary psychotherapy.
My own psychotherapy practice, Psychotherapy for Soul, has been significantly enriched by the inclusion of shamanic insights and approaches, including the shamanic journey, which is like a conscious dreaming. At Oxford Dance Camp I ran several group shamanic journeys. The journey for children had a full house – or yurt actually.
Having been reading books about neuroscience by Iain McCloud and Allan Schore, I am struck by the congruence between shamanic teaching and present day learning from neuroscience as they relate to psychotherapy.
The type of psychotherapy I practice is Psychosynthesis. My latest paper More of Self, to be published by the Italian Psychosynthesis magazine in April, explores the relationship between Psychosynthesis ideas of personality and shamanic ideas of emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, and sexual energy. If you would like an advance copy (in English), please email me.
Books of the Year
This year I have been very taken with the novels of Barbara Kingsolver. She writes fiction that is set in factual places and situations.
The Poisonwood Bible is a compelling and harrowing story about the family of an evangelical missionary in the chaotic Belgian Congo of 1959.
Prodigal Summer weaves a fascinating story around the lives of people inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia.
The Lacuna is a lively tale set in Mexico City at the time of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. It explores the couple’s tangled relationships with Lev Trotsky.