Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fairy post #24 - Lorekeeper


From the Fairy Fabulous group (via Facebook),

Small business of Jo Offe & Fable Workshop:

From Lana's promotion at Facebook

The Art of Storytelling Journal 

from storyteller-poet

Lana Wolf:

We welcome submissions to the new Art of Oral Storytelling Journal, a resource for aspiring, emerging and professional storytellers. The Art of Storytelling Journal seeks to open, consider and advance the exploration of storytelling practice. We publish articles on a wide variety of topics related to oral storytelling as a social, cultural or academic discourse, in a variety of professional and disciplinary contexts. The publication focuses on non fiction work by storytellers about storytelling. We are interested in work that reflects the diversity of our storytelling experiences and practice. We welcome experiential work. We will not publish any work that is demeaning or perpetuates negative stereotypes. We keep an open, critical dialogue on all issues to do with the practice of storytelling. 

Submission Guidelines: 

We accept non-fiction articles up to 5000 words though prefer 1000 - 2000 words. All submissions will be considered for one of our half yearly issues. Submissions that do not follow these guidelines will not be eligible. All submissions should have some connection to the theme of each publication. Simultaneous submissions and work previously published on your own blog or website are okay. We do consider work previously published. All contributors retain all rights to their own work. All submissions should include your name, contact information, as well as the title of your piece and how the piece is connected to the theme of each publication. Contributors receive one complimentary print copy of the issue in which their work appears. We are unable to pay you for your contribution at this point. Submit a maximum of two pieces at a time. Standard font 12 pt font i.e., Times Roman, Arial, Tahoma. Double spacedWe accept email submissions only to this email address 

Issue 1: 
Submission due date: October 1st 2016 
Release Date : February 1st 2017 
Theme: A storytellers tale 

Issue 2: 
Submission due date: March 1st 2017
Release Date: August 1st 2017
Theme: The many ways to tell a tale 

Lana Woolf, 
Creative Director and Editor
The Art of Storytelling Journal


by Fairy Tale Ring Leader Louisa John-Krol:


Salmon of Knowledge

Perspectives on Seanchaí 

reported by Louisa John-Krol

A seanchaí (plural: seanchaithe) is a traditional Irish storyteller/historian, also spelt shanachie (pronounced shaan-a-key), meaning bearer of old lore, seanchas. In ancient Celtic culture, bards (filí) conveyed history and laws through memorized recitals of long lyric poems.

According to Irish storyteller Jack Lynch, the term means “traditional lore and knowledge”, recently discussed in an email to Australian storyteller Jackie Kerin (quoted or paraphrased with permission of both correspondents):

“Originally this definition included “ancient Irish law-tracts, genealogical lore, myths and legends and also folklore. So the seanchaí was the custodian of ancient history, lore and story. Scéalaí is a more precise Irish term for storyteller (scéal means story). The seanchaí was a community tradition bearer.”

To paraphrase Jack: in recent centuries, local entertainment consisted of gathering in a neighbour’s house - usually in winter when farm-work was less demanding - for music, dance and storytelling, starting with a sharing of news, followed by related folktales, and imparting myths and legends, perhaps lasting several nights.

“A vital element of the seanchaí's store would be dindseanchas - the lore of place-name”, Jack explains. He evinces that some meanings faded with 18th century imperial mapping. Then in the 20th century, radio “displaced the seanchaí from the corner of the kitchen”. A few survive in country regions, upholding the Rambling Hose (or Ceidhli House, Storyhouse or Scoraíocht - depending on their locations across Ireland or Scotland).

Actor-storyteller Eamon Kelly recreated this traditional form on radio, and later TV. He became known as a seanchaí. Eamon, himself, however, pointed out that he was merely an actor playing the part of one. As such, Jack maintains, “seanachie” is a precise historical term that he wouldn’t claim for himself, maintaining that it signifies individuals “embedded in and reflecting” their communities, even “wisdom in life”.

Griots in Africa - picture from Huffington Post

Responding to Jackie Kerin’s allusion to African performers she witnessed by way of comparison, Jack replied “I've heard Toumani Diabate play and I'm not surprised at his being disgruntled at the purloining of the badge of Griot - which I gather is akin to that of seanchaí.”

On the other hand, many Australians have learned to adapt traditions of diverse cultures. Adaptation needn’t mean forgetting, losing, diluting or purloining, one another's heritage. Within respectful boundaries (e.g. for ethical guidelines in approaching Aboriginal culture, see links below*), it can herald new tributaries of collaboration, understanding, healing and imagination. Is it fair to expect Australian contemporary folklorists to harbour a single static circle of lore, if co-mingling thrives at our essence? Perhaps Australian lore-keepers are more likely to be pluralists than purists?

At our 2016 Australian Fairy Tale Society conference, we discussed how universality might be “just another form of imperialism”. As Jackie quipped, “What if I don't want to belong to your collective unconscious?” (By “your”, she did not mean anyone specifically; it was an explorative question that has been circulating for a while.) Whilst I respect such reservation, I suggest we make allowance for transitory intercultural efforts. The movement under criticism, which led to such inspiring collections as World Tales by celebrated author Idries Shah, The Masks of God by anthropologist / mythographer Joseph Campbell, and various Jungian trends, emerged in a 20th century context, in the wake of the Holocaust, Cold War, Vietnam War, Apartheid in South Africa, The Stolen Generations here in Australia, and other travesties of division. A transcontinental Civil Rights movement kicked against the pricks. Universalism, or transcendentalism, was part of its energy. Now, in the 21st century, conflicts between fanatic monotheists have resurfaced. Seeking common ground is a basic tool that teachers use with dysfunctional youths. It might be simplistic, but it's better than segregation or persecution. It's a peg to hold, as we drag this mortal coil up the cliff from ravines of prejudice. To use a French analogy: “How can you expect them to fly, when you cannot even give them a feather?” Humanity is still halfway up the precipice. Rapids churn below. Let's shift the pegs of refinement later, once on firmer turf. One person's high moral ground might be a distant peak for others.

(NB: The views expressed in the above two paragraphs are my own, and still forming - Louisa.)

A Holloway: a well worn ancient path, linking past to future

Do you have a word, adapted or invented, to describe an Australian storyteller of any cultural origin, whom you consider both wise and a keeper of lore? 

Email Louisa John-Krol

More info on this topic here 

Jack Lynch's website

Jackie Kerin’s website

*Resources for Aboriginal culture in Victoria:

This article is by Louisa John-Krol

I respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, associated with the Kulin Nation, on which this blog was created.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing information about this fairy tale group and this workshop. I want to arrange a charitable function for old homeless people next month and searching for affordable venues in Houston. Hope to find one quickly.