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Reasons to carry on the magic of the story-telling tradition
by Lynda Archard
©: June 9th 2000

Reasons to carry on the magic of the story-telling tradition

Nothing is new. Story telling has been a magical tradition since time began. Modern fantasy and sci-fi fiction has reduced the art of proper factual story telling to a simple 'contrived' piece of writing, a figment of the author's imagination. Some people don't believe there is any truth in ancient tales anymore. Show, don't tell now seems to be the modern motto. Isn't story telling more important? Are they the same?

The traditional telling of tales was of major importance to our ancestors for both passing information and preserving ancient traditions. Not many people could read or write and those who did were indoctrinated into Christianity and were biased towards their own beliefs no matter what the people thought. The texts that were left out of the bible are more telling than what was included because of this attitude of picking and choosing what goes where. Throughout the world traditional tales were carried through each generation in the form of oral telling to preserve their stories that were not written down. These tales exist in every culture to give details of how we used to live, our beliefs and our morals, mainly from a non-Christian point of view. The traditional pantomime was also a form of story telling traditions via acting out the scenes. The best ways to preserve our own traditions are to re-write the tried and tested themes with our own up-dated style. This leaves two more questions; will a modern tale be treated merely as fiction? And is it needed?

The answer depends on whether you are a traditionalist or not. Reasons for writing traditional tales are many; children find them fun, historians learn about the past and the morals are both respected and understood more easily.

Showing is best done through sight; the reader must be able to visualise your tale in his/her mind eye. If this is to be done successfully then the author must use traditional symbols that all the readers can easily recognise. Today the television and film industry can show much better and will have a much wider audience.

One form of recognising the magical tale is by the characteristics of the characters. Snow white was a trusting person who was easily tricked by a sinister character. The seven dwarfs all had different virtues and characteristics, perhaps relating to the seven sins? Cinderella was left out because she couldn't find a way to stand up to her wicked stepsisters. Robin Hood robbed the rich to give to the poor. Was he a symbol of how downtrodden people felt about the wicked rich prancing about making the rules?

They all have a familiar element, similar personality, problems to solve, a moral to put to use. Don't forget that all magical tales were recited aloud to a group of people, only the story was changed to suit the culture and era. Symbolism was, and always will be, a key to recognising and remembering themes in all doctrines. Visualisation and meditation is a discipline to help train the mind and stimulate inner creativity. It also enhances the ability to sense more than with the use of just the common five senses of sight, sound, hearing, taste and touch.

A picture can show a story but the telling of it will define what you see as an individual. The original tarot decks of cards were a story in picture form; some called it the devil's picture book. Devil spells lived backwards. It is a story of life through a visual and esoteric system. Both esoteric and occult simply means 'that which is hidden.' They make you think about what you are learning. Linear thinking can only cause you to miss the point, therefore magical writing has a hidden aspect such as a moral. Tarot means 'wheel' and is an anagram of rota, tora, orat, and the additional 'T' at the end, which is not pronounced, symbolises that where we begin we also finish. It is a circle of life in a story containing all the morals you need to survive and the problems that you will encounter through your journey. The teaching of how to read the tarot has always been through oral telling, while the interpretation during a reading for a client is purely personal. The reader will 'see' a different vision for each card every time the client changes his/her life. This makes each set of problems individual and of course so are the solutions. We all respond to situations in different ways.

Going back to traditional story telling is more relevant today than at any other time in history. Traditional tales are condemned as fantasy and most are written using ancient text. Could you rewrite a magical tale and 'tell' it as it is today?

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© Lynda Archard