Welcome to this events programme with a difference. We gather and discuss myths, fairytales, folk tales and other old stories, so that we can better understand ourselves, each other and the world.
Our group takes its name from an old Irish story of the hero Fionn Mac Cumhail.
Fionn asks his followers, “What is the finest music in the world?”
They suggest various answers: the cuckoo calling from the hedge, the ring of a spear on a shield, the baying of a pack of hounds, the laughter of a gleeful girl.
“All good music,” agrees Fionn.
"But what is best?” they ask.
Fionn answers: “The music of what happens.”'
'The music of what happens is the sensation of being alive to any event, from insects running about in a square of grass and the sun moving down a brick wall, to the power of a volcano...' - George Szirtes
This is precisely the aim of this group: to feel attuned and harmonised with ourselves and with the world, as in the picture above, so that we can experience the joy of being alive - 'the music of what happens.'
"[T]the rapture that is associated with being alive, that's what it's all about." - Joseph Campbell.We base our approach to stories on the teachings of comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell - for whom myths had a psychological function - as well as the depth psychology teachings of CG Jung, Marie-Louise Von Franz, Robert A Johnson, Marion Woodman and other brilliant thinkers.
'People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.' - Joseph Campbell
"It is not so much to understand what myth I am living, but rather, what myth is living through me.” - CG Jung
The group meets at least once a month and has a year-round programme of events, all based around myths, fairytales, folktales and other 'old stories'. We meet at pleasant venues across central London. Here's a picture of a recent study group :)
Events range from 'Mythic Salons' at which we take a bite-sized look at different myths, to screenings and talks related to myths, fairytales and the teachings of Joseph Campbell, to study groups that are at the heart of what we do: in small groups or "creative clusters" like the picture above,we study a myth or fairytale together over several sessions.
The group is facilitated by me, Esther (second on the left on the sofa!). I bring to this group several years' experience of running events, my passion for the teachings of Joseph Campbell, and an innate love of myths and stories.
What participants say about my group work:
'Another magical evening. The power of myth bursts forth from the pages of Iron John and comes to land at our feet. Thank you Esther... for the gift of your time, your presence, your wisdom.'
'A wonderful venue, a sacred space and a magical evening. I felt the "experience...and the rapture of being alive", through the readings, poetry and being in the presence of the group.'
'Just amazing. This group nourishes me at a very deep level...Honest, frank, imaginative, soulful and blessed.'
'The small groups permit deep engagement and allow a soulful exploration into universal truths such as the "heroic journey". Myths, dreams, fairy tales gain once again their rightful place in our lives.'
If you're a lovely person with a passion for myths, fairytales and meaning, then do please join us!
Finally, some wise words from those who know about why we should study myths:
'Stories are soul vitamins. Stories set the soul into motion.' - Clarissa Pinkola Estes
'Fairy tales are soul stories. They are just as relevant now as when they were told centuries ago.' - Marion Woodman
'A myth is essentially a guide; it tells us what we must do in order to live more richly.' - Karen Armstrong
'Many of the classic fairy tales lay out stages of initiation into adulthood which we've entirely forgotten.' - Robert Bly
‘Like the Rosetta Stone, the greatest myths contain a meaning which can be decoded from the symbolic imagery that conceals it and used as a key to a deeper understanding of life.' - Anne Baring
'After working for many years in this field, I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavour to describe one and the same psychic fact... This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self.' - Marie-Louise Von Franz
'Life is only a dream and we are the imagination of ourselves.' - Bill Hicks
'I look [at myths] to arrive at truth about the human condition...' - Jeanette Winterson
'He is my Yoda' - Filmmaker George Lucas on Joseph Campbell
Now you know all there is to know, in the absence of a bottle labelled ' Drink Me', simply click the 'Join us!' button on this page :)
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