Storytelling, myth, legend and poetry are the fabric of Druidry The power of stories is best illustrated by a quote from George Orwell: “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” Life is a story we tell ourselves. In Christian texts, it is stated that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Logos is the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.We give life meaning through stories and become the hero of our own lives.
Traditionally, Druids, like Homer, told stories in epic poem format. Some examples include: Battle of the Trees in The Book of Taliesin VIII, The Four Ancient Books of Wales or Imcallam in da Thurad or The Colloquy of the Two Sages in the Book of Leinster. Consult any number of examples from the Irish Literature section of Ancient Texts for more examples. Druids preserved ancient myth and history through memorizing and reciting hundreds of stories as part of their training. They were divided into seven grades. One of the lower and less learned grades was bard. The highest grade was the ollamh, achieved after at least 12 years of study, during which the poet mastered more than 300 difficult metres and 250 primary stories and 100 secondary stories. He then could wear a cloak of crimson bird feathers and carry a wand of office (from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/art/fili-ancient-Gaelic-poets).
Stories build empathy. Telling stories is one of the most important things that public speakers can do to make their presentations memorable. Studies suggest that people accept ideas more readily when their minds are in story mode as opposed to when they are in an analytical mind-set. Stories help us connect with our audiences in a way that facts, charts, graphs, statistics, and bullet points will never be able to do. Stories help to motivate audiences to action because we build an emotional connection and understand the human commonalities.
Storytelling is a "mutual act," requiring the teller to transmit the words, feelings, and images, and the listener to create those images. While mutually engaged in this process, they are in "another kind of time," and in this other kind of time, a real and special community is created. The process is also fleeting; it cannot be repeated. "You can never recreate the exact circumstances of a story, a teller and an audience." Because there is no remote to control storytellers, no rewind buttons on them to make the story come out again, people listen with an attention they don't give to repeatable media.
Elinor Ochs and Lisa Capps (in Living Narrative: Creating Lives in Everyday Storytelling) tell us that storytelling is a response to our desire for coherence, but also to our need to probe and acknowledge the enigmatic aspects of experience. Stories serve our need to create selves and communities. In the role of a Druid, our task is to provide counsel and leadership in the secular as well as sacred arenas. Stories bring people along, making truth personal and making the listeners part of the play. Here are a few video samples of storytelling that help set the stage: Homer and the Oral Tradition The Tradition of Storytelling The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves
HOW TO BE A BETTER STORYTELLER: There are some basic tips to being a good oral storyteller: 1. Start in the action. Have a great first line that sets up the stakes or grabs attention. 2. Use different voices for characters and voice modulation to create clear distinctions between sections and perspectives. 3. Use your gestures to punctuate and enhance the content of the story 4. Have clear sections with pauses and transitions - a beginning, middle, and end. 5. Distinctive Repetitive phrases and gestures are used in oral storytelling. 6. Steer clear of meandering endings. They kill a story! Your last line should be clear in ave your head before you start. 7. Know your story well enough so you can have fun! Outline it before hand but no paper or notes during the telling. Watching you panic to think of the next memorized line is harrowing for the audience. Make an outline, memorize your bullet points and play with the details. Enjoy yourself. Imagine you are at a dinner party, not a deposition.
Seven Deadly Storytelling Sins Mistake #1: Telling Words, Not Images Mistake #2: Ignoring Your Listeners Mistake #3: Overdosing Us with Morals Mistake #4: Giving Too Many Scenes Mistake #5: Being Too General Mistake #6: Sending Self-Destructive Messages Mistake #7: Doing It All Alone
You can't learn to communicate by yourself. Beyond a certain point, the more you try to create, adapt, learn, and tell stories alone, the more difficult the task of communicating through stories becomes. To be sure, you will spend some time alone pondering and reviewing your story. But avoid the false assumption that working on and telling a story is primarily an individual activity! The fix: To tell well and easily, you need other people. At the minimum, you need willing listeners. But your telling will improve even more quickly if you also have helpers who agree to assist you by a combination of listening, appreciating what you've done well so far, and asking questions aimed to help you discover your storytelling strengths.
Going for the Flow When you avoid all seven of these deadly mistakes, your storytelling will stop sputtering and begin to flow. You and your listeners will experience ever more often the joy of mutual giving to each other. You will unleash the full beauty of your art - and the full power of your message.
Oral Language Skills for Storytellers At its most basic, storytelling involves imagining or remembering scenes, then describing them to your listeners. Oral language has its own operating principles, strengths, and limitations.
Tone of voice
Orientation in space (facing toward or away from listeners)
and a dozen or so more.
Further, many of the communicative elements of oral language, such as tone of voice, are powerful enough to completely overpower words. Sarcasm, for example, uses tone of voice to give words an opposite meaning. Said sarcastically, “Right!” means “Wrong!”
Master the Elements of Oral Language There are an infinite number of effective oral language styles, ranging from leaping about the stage and declaiming in Shakespearean tones, to sitting quietly on your hands and shading your words with a subtly raised eyebrow. Whatever style makes sense for a particular teller and telling, however, the masterful storyteller calls on well-developed expressive abilities in voice, face, eyes, hands, posture and the rest. The masterful storyteller’s voice easily conveys a wide range of emotion. It creates interesting and appropriate shapes through rhythm, repetition, tempo, volume, pitch, pauses, and more. The masterful storyteller also uses her or his body well, using postural changes and changes in muscular tension to convey clearly the attitudes of characters and the narrator herself. The masterful storyteller uses her or his eyes well, alternating naturally among the “big four” eye behaviors:
i) Looking up and to the side while accessing images; ii) Looking down and to the side while accessing emotions and attitudes; iii) Looking at imagined objects or people while describing them or pretending to interact with them; iv) Looking directly at listeners.
Each element of oral language has a wide range of expressive potential. It is possible to master each of them in ways that are unique to you.
Master the Interplay of Oral Language Elements Not only does oral language use a variety of expressive elements, it also uses elements simultaneously and in succession. Written language is basically linear: the second word comes inexorably after the first word, and so on. But because oral language broadcasts its communicative power over several channels, it is “multi-linear.” The “word channel” may carry its own programming while the “tone of voice channel” and the “posture channel,” for example, may be reinforcing that programming, negating it, or introducing new nuances.
Here is a Storytelling Skills List. Tick off the skills you use
Sit on comfy chairs, or cross-legged on the floor, and look around you audience with a welcoming smile and bright eyes.
Say where you got your story from:- for example, a book, a film, a person, your life, a dream or your imagination.
Try to create an atmosphere, like casting a good spell. Set the scene for your audience. Start with the time, place and weather of the story.
Use facial expressions, to show the feelings of your characters, their nature or personality, or the situation they are in, eg shy or cold.
Speak more slowly and loudly than normal, so everyone can hear, and sit near anyone hard of hearing. Vary the speed, pace and volume of your voice where appropriate. Make your voice melodic and interesting.
Use your hands, shoulders and body as much as you can, to show shapes of objects, scenery, actions and feelings. Use mime and gesture to "paint the story", like a picture.
Role-play any dialogue, with characterful voices. Help the audience to feel sympathy for the characters and their situation.
Use other sounds, for example, weather sounds, like wind or rain; happening sounds, like explosions or rustling; animal sounds; emotional sounds, like sighs, sobs, yawns. You can ask the audience to help you, by making the sounds.
Leave a space between words or sentences sometimes, to create an atmosphere.
Look around the audience with expectation. Occasionally surprise them with a loud noise, but do not frighten very young children.
Involve your audience if you like, with phrases like "As you know the sea is deep and mysterious..." or ask them questions like "What might a sea monster look like"? Keep the traditional style of storytelling, but develop your own style inside and around that. Buy storytelling tapes to learn from them.
Anatomy of Story by John Truby 1.Weakness and need: a hero with a weakness and a need. 2.Desire: the backbone of the story that drives the hero…notice that the desire, the want, isn’t the same as the “need” 3.Opponent: this character, often the antagonist, must go against the protagonist by wanting the same thing 4.Plan: heroes who want something need a plan of action 5.Battle: when the story boils to a crisis 6.Self-revelation: here the hero realizes what he wanted wasn’t what he needed…..I want to say this again, The hero wants something but he realizes that what he wanted wasn’t what he needs 7.New equilibrium: with the new knowledge the world changes for the character The seven steps…exist in the story. [They] are the nucleus, the DNA, of your story and the foundation of your success as a storyteller because they are based on human action. They are the steps any human must work through to solve a life problem. 1 - weakness and need From the start, your hero has one or more weaknesses holding him or her back. Something is missing within her that is so profound, it is ruining her life. The need is what the hero must fulfill within himself in order to have a better life. It usually involves overcoming his weaknesses and changing, or growing, in some way. Need is the wellspring of the story and sets up every other step.
Your hero should not be aware of his need at the beginning of the story.
a. If he already knows what he needs, the story is over.
b. The hero should become aware of his need at the self-revelation, near the end of the story, only after having gone through much pain or struggle.
Give your hero a moral need as well as a psychological need.
c. psychological need = a flaw that hurts only the hero.
d. moral need = a flaw that hurts others
e. a moral need keeps him from being perfect or being a victim
The problem is the crisis the hero finds himself in from page one.
Keep the problem simple and specific.
f. Begin with hero already in trouble, but not knowing how to solve it.
2 - desire What the hero wants in the story, his particular goal. A story doesn’t become interesting to the audience until the desire comes into play. Think of the desire as the story track that the audience “rides along.” Everyone gets on the “train” with the hero, and they all go along after the goal together. Desire is the driving force in the story, the line from which everything else hangs.
A goal outside the character; once the hero has her desire, she moves in a direction and takes actions to reach her goal.
Your hero’s desire is what he wants in this story, not what he wants in life.
3 - opponent The opponent, or antagonist, is not simply a character looks evil, sounds evil, or does evil things. A true opponent not only wants to prevent the hero from achieving his desire but is competing with the hero for the same goal. The trick to creating an opponent who wants the same goal as the hero is to find the deepest level of conflict between them. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing they are fighting about?” That must be the focus of your story.
To find the right opponent, start with your hero’s specific goal; whoever wants to keep him from getting it is an opponent.
4 - plan Dictates action; strategies the hero will use to beat opponent and reach goal.
Organically linked to both desire and opponent, the plan should always focus on defeating the opponent and reaching the goal.
5 - battle Throughout the middle of the story, the hero and opponent engage in punch and counterpunch as each tries to win the goal. The conflict heats up. The battle is the final conflict between hero and opponent and determines which wins the goal. The final battle may be a conflict of actions or a conflict of words. 6 - self-revelation The battle is intense and painful for the hero, a crucible causing him to have a major revelation about who he really is. The quality of your story is linked to the quality of this self-revelation. For a good self-revelation, know its two forms:
In a psychological self-revelation, the hero strips away the façade he has lived behind and sees himself honestly for the first time. This stripping away of the façade is not passive or easy. Rather, it is the most difficult, or the most courageous act the hero performs in the entire story.
Don’t have your hero say what he learned. So obvious and preachy a move will turn off your audience. Instead, suggest your hero’s insight by the actions he takes leading up to the self-revelation.
If you have given your hero amoral need, create a moral self-revelation, too. The hero doesn’t just see himself in a new light; he has an insight about the proper way to act toward others. In effect, the hero realizes that he has been wrong, that he has hurt others, and that he must change. He then proves he has changed by taking new moral action.
Structurally, self-revelation is closely connected to need. These two steps communicate the hero’s character change. Need begins your hero’s character change. Self-revelation is the end-point of that change. Need marks the hero’s immaturity at the beginning of the story. It is what is missing, what is holding him back. Self-revelation is the moment when the hero grows as a human being (unless the knowledge is so painful it destroys him). It is what he learns, what he gains, what allows him to live a better life in the future. 7 - new equilibrium At the new equilibrium, everything returns to normal, and all desire is gone. Except there is now one major difference. The hero has moved to a higher or lower level as a result of going through his crucible. A fundamental and permanent change has occurred in the hero.
If the self-revelation is positive—the hero realizes who he truly is and learns how to live properly in the world—he moves to a higher level.
If the hero has a negative revelation—learning he has committed a terrible crime that expresses a corrupt personal flaw—or is incapable of having a self-revelation, the hero falls or is destroyed.