Below is an article I wrote awhile back. Though it is written to “artists in the trade” (harpers, storytellers, bards) it may serve as an introduction to some concepts about the use of story as a medicine for ourselves, others, and for our culture that I will discuss in forthcoming posts. Whether you work consciously with story or just love story, I invite you to meditate in particular on the quotes below. What felt sense arises in you when you read the quotes? Do any of the words spark something true in you or is the feeling more: that isn’t for me!
How might a deepened relationship with the magic of the natural world and with the poetry of the soul as expressed in myth, dream, and the yearnings of your own heart speak to you of something of your own nature that the world most desperately needs you to root into our place and times?
Bardic Harp & Healing
by Jane Valencia
The 21st century bard is an important voice for our emerging culture– a culture that is rooted in the natural world, sustainable, just, spiritually-connected, considerate of future generations, honoring of the past, and above all, hopeful. In my opinion the bard of our times would do well to consciously craft performances and his or her artistry to inspire us to connect more deeply with ourselves, our nature, our heritage, our future.
As a 21st century bard, I feel that my art form is woven of the following:
* song and harp artistry
* folklore, poetry, and other aspects of heritage, art, and the “immense inner language of the soul”
* a quest to weave stories to nourish a positive future right now
* a call to live our deep-rooted, unique magical nature
* personal journeying into our indigenous nature as humans in relationship to one’s ecology and as humble members of the more-than-human earth community.
As a bardic healing artist I apply this bardic perspective of belief in the possible, the weaving of sacred space (encircling and providing sanctuary for my client), the gentle exploration of story–why is the client here, now? What is does this moment and situation reveal of the larger story woven into my client’s life and heart?–and a celebration of him or her. This is all mingled with the sound and energy healing to rebalance, restore, and nourish the body, mind, heart, and spirit of the person before me.
Here are some quotes to inspire you on your path as a 21st Century Bard or Bardic Healer — or both (these days artistry is by nature a healing or a “reminder-of-our-wholeness” art, I believe).
“There is no shortage of mysteries. What would happen if you were to understand one of them?”
“The true university is the forest. …. We need simply to open ourselves to the life around us.”
– Brooke Medicine Eagle, forward to Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner
“We are mythic by nature. We find the subtle symbolic ground hidden in ourselves. Myth is the second nature of the world. Nature with its rhythm, cyclical activity … is the first.”
– Michael Meade, Entering Mythic Territory
“The bards of old inhabited a magic reality of their own making, and they made of their lives a fairy tale. They could not be caged by possibilities, nor could they be bought. Poetic insight is more important in our lives than ever in this computerized, industrialized age. We desperately need people who are passionately alive in an enchanted reality, cohabited by the spirits, the ancestors, and the gods.”
– Robin Williamson, forward to The Bardic Sourcebook, ed. John Matthews.
Feel free to share your thoughts here!