Joanna Gilar: Beastly Lovers and Clear Waters: Meeting the Wild in the Wonder Tale
This talk was given at the Advaya event ‘Mythic Imagination: The Power of Storytelling and Mythology’ with Jay Griffiths, Sharon Blackie, Joanna Gilar & Sue Hollingsworth on 30 September 2017
This talk explores the relevance and resonance of animal bridegrooms. Joanna discusses the surprising historical evolutions and convolutions of two of our best loved tales, and ask what a Scottish Frog Prince and an old French Little Red Riding Hood can teach us about stepping beyond civilisation and meeting the wild other.
About Joanna Gilar:
Dr Joanna Gilar Dr Joanna Gilar is an academic, writer and storyteller based in Sussex who uses story to help us find our way in the un-navigated territory of a transforming planet. A ritual facilitator and trained bodyworker, Joanna believes that stories exist in our chalk, grass, skin and bones, and if we speak with stories through these things they will speak back to us. She lectures in storytelling and folk music at the University of Chichester, and offers fairy tale courses, workshops, writings and performances using fairy tales, magic and ecology to explore where, with, and with-whom we are.
As a storyteller and performance poet Joanna focuses on the intersection between word and world. She believe orally told stories have the capacity to re-weave relationships between teller, hearer and space in which they are told. As David Abram has put it, “we cannot restore the land without restorying the land”. She has performed at schools, bookshops, university campuses, woods, fields and mountains across Europe. I have run a week of storytelling at an Italian castle, been a regular storyteller at an annual festival in the mountains of Moravia and celebrated the mapping of Sussex Folklore with stories of dragons and witches in the South Downs. The many organisations she has worked with include the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, ONCA Centre for Arts and Ecology, Brighton Storytellers, London Dreamtime, the Italian Body&Society Lab, the Dark Mountain Project, Anderida Gorsedd, the Scottish Pagan Federation and Stour Valley Arts. Her poems and performances have been described as “spell-binding”, “breath-taking”, “astonishing” and “a gift”.
About the event:
Mythic Imagination: The Power of Story-Telling and Mythology served as a deep-dive into the power of mythology and storytelling as spiritual and practical tools to connect to our true purpose, empower our lives and ignite awe and wonder at the world around us. Throughout the day we uncovered ancient myths and new stories to enliven and deepen our understanding of who we are, where we are, and how we may face the challenges in front of us. Pioneers from the fields of Story-telling and Mythology guided us through our sub-conscious to explore native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions, as well as our own personal story, and how each of these affect the world we see around us.