It is said to be a dark moment for the planet, as the earth is heating up as global warming becomes a reality. Forests are burning down and as they turn to ash, they take with them stories of ancient trees and of all the flora y fauna that live in these ecosystems. And the voice of the icebergs ring out with an urgent tone; they are melting away and as they do so countless stories that have been locked within the frozen ice, since remote times, are released.
And, I ask myself, is there anyone out there willing to tell these stories? Is there a public out there, ready to listen to these stories? Who is listening to the obituaries of the people in the cultures that are disappearing before our eyes? Where are the people to assist the funerals of the extinct species who disappear off the face of the earth every day? If there is no one to tell and listen to these stories, then it is indeed, a dark moment for the planet.
It is also said that we need the darkness to see the stars and at this very moment, two lovely initiatives are shining brightly in this darkness: The Earth Stories Collection and the global network of The Earth Story Tellers.
But, first of all, let me tell you how it all started … To do so, we need to travel in time and space to a dark, dark night and enter into a dream that Grian Cutanda, creator of the NGO the Avalon Project, had. It was a strange dream and initially the message was unclear. Little by little, the symbology of the dream started to reveal itself and transform into a real live dream: The Earth Story Collection project. The aims are to create a global bank of stories for the good of planet Earth and her inhabitants. It was inspired in a seed bank, but instead of plants seeds, the Earth Story Collection would collect “cultural seeds”, of myths, legends, fables, stories and other traditional tales from all around the world.
The mission of The Earth Stories Collection is to offer educational tools globally for the development of a systemic, holistic and integrative worldview capable of building a new civilisation which is socially and economically just, peaceful and deeply respectful of planet Earth and its Community of Life. The vision is to leave future generations a cultural heritage in which all the peoples of Earth participate. This is an ancestral educational legacy capable of building and sustaining a human civilisation which finally exists in harmony with all beings and elements that populate Earth.
Two organizations felt drawn to the project and became active partners: The Earth Charter and The Scottish Storytelling Centre. In the last few years there has been a space especially dedicated to the project in The Scottish International Storytelling Festival. These global labs explore many of the themes in the Earth Stories collection in depth. In one of these Global Labs Donald Smith, the Director of the Scottish Storytelling Centre, proposed the creation of a global network of storytelling activists, willing to tell and spread the stories in The Earth Stories Collection throughout the whole planet. And that is how the global network of The Earth Story Tellers, was born. The idea being, to form an army of storyteller - activists who tell traditional stories around the planet.
The storyteller-activists can choose from a wide variety of stories in the collection. You can read the stories in the 2 books that have been published in English and Spanish, and you can also download the stories free on the webpage.
The myths, legends, fables and traditional stories that make up the collection are classified by themes connected to the Earth Charter. You may want to read the principles of the Earth Charter. The stories are classified by different criteria, for example, by nations, cultures or spiritual traditions, as well as by other more general criteria.
Many of the stories are connected with the defence of nature, which is logical since the earth is our home and offers us unique conditions for life to evolve. The global environment, with its finite resources, is a common worry for all. The capacity for recuperation of the community of life and the wellbeing of humanity depends on the preservation of a healthy biosphere, with all its ecological systems and a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile earth, pure water and clean air. The protection of vitality, diversity and the beauty of the Earth is a sacred duty.
This reminds me of the phrase “The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth” often attributed to Chief Seattle of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribe. Below you can find an extract of the famous letter that Chief Seattle supposedly wrote to the president of the United States of America in reply to his request to buy the North West territories of the United states from him.
“How can you buy or sell the sky –the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap that runs through the trees carries the memories of the red-skinned man.”
There are lots of other stories that talk about a peaceful world which is socially and economically just. Here you can find themes such as abuse of power, cultural diversity, immigrants and refugees, future generations, war, hunger, social justice, Death, women, Non-violence, responsibility and solidarity. You can see the complete list of themes here.
If you would like to know more information about The Earth Stories Collection or about becoming an Earth Story Teller, you can find all the information in the following webpages: https://theearthstoriescollection.org/ and https://avalonproject.org/
This article is part of AEDA’s 88th Newsletter