Whispers from the Earth: Teaching stories from the ancestors, beautifully woven for today’s spiritual seekers. Taz Thornton, Moon Books, 2016.
I have a confession to make. I picked this book up because of the cover. Also because I have been enjoying the short books in the “Pagan Portals” series by Moon Books, and this seemed to fit right in to my collection, but mostly the cover.
Well, despite the old saying, I made the right choice in this case. Whispers from the Earth is definitely not the sort of thing I would normally read: I tend to go non-fiction or else huge multi-book series, but this collection of short teaching stories was a breath of fresh air.
Teaching stories are, of course, as old as humanity itself and quite possibly older if our neanderthal and australopithecine ancestors told tales around their fires or huddling up in caves. Parables have been used by Aesop, Jesus, Buddha and pretty much every wise teacher you can think of, and I think the tales woven in this book could stand shoulder to shoulder with any of them.
The back cover blurb tells us:
“Throughout time, indigenous cultures have used storytelling as a way of spreading important teachings to the tribe. Much of our own rich, ancient heritage has been lost over the years, eroded with the coming of mainstream religions and new ideas, yet those teachings and stories are still there, waiting to be rediscovered and told”.
Taz has gathered and woven these tales together from her own connections with the land and the ancestors, and they are not re-tellings of familiar fairytales, but are new-old stories, channeled and brought to life for us all today.
The book itself is split into two sections, Taz’s own channeled stories, and a selection of stories from other people Taz has worked with in story-weaving sessions. Between these two sections is a practical guide to channeling your own stories through meditation, connection and inspiration, definitely useful for anyone looking to try out a Bardic exercise.
The stories themselves are remarkably diverse and drift through a range of landscapes, themes and ideas, each one short enough to read in a few minutes on a lunch break, but each one with a point, a lesson, a seed-thought, that you will spend the rest of the day thinking over.
I don’t want to give any details of the tales included, you should read them for yourself, but I will say that the stories of The Man and the Frog and The Listening Tree were particularly moving and relevant to me personally.
I’m sure that I will find myself re-reading this little book months or even years from now, and finding whole new lessons contained within.