The brain thinks in stories, researchers say. Whatever we as humans encounter, feel, and learn, we want to communicate. When we pack an experience into a story it connects us to our group, which again makes us feel safe and like we belong. The storytelling instinct of our human species cannot really be stopped, nor can it be curbed. Experience and wisdom need to be shared and passed on.
In prehistoric times, long before writing was invented, the stories of a community were held sacred. The elders knew about the power of a narrative and they knew how important it was to tell the right kind of story. For if it wasn’t in alignment with the natural laws and rhythms, it would mess up people’s perceptions and cause a web of lies. People would lose sight of how they were connected and embedded in nature and would start to be alienated from their own source.
With our stories we contribute to the common perception of the world we live in and thus help create a shared outlook of this life on earth. Ultimately, which stories we tell defines the culture of our tribe. Not only that, it shapes what we perceive and what we ignore, what we think is okay, and what we look at as threatening.
The more the dos and don’ts are reassured by stories, the more they get established as values, and future stories will have to go along those lines to be accepted by the listeners.
Fairy tales contain the wisdom teachings of our prehistoric elders, who lived so close to nature that they knew its very laws. They bring us back to our roots, back to all our European roots. They give us deep insights and healing, since they are modeling a well-balanced life, in fairness and healthy relationships, with an even give-and-take interaction between all beings on earth and its creative divine source. No longer do we need to consult other indigenous cultures’ wisdom. Here, we find a wisdom in images which we can understand, because it is in our very genes.
Folk tales are as valuable today as 6,000 years ago. Only we need to understand their context, but that is not so difficult after all, since the stories speak a straightforward language from heart to ear, and ear to heart.
Over the millenniums, the fairy tales always spoke directly to the heart of the hardworking illiterate folk, who got up with the first rays of the sun and sensed the mystical qualities of the moon by night push and pull like tidal waves through their veins. It was them who passed on the folk tales from one generation to the next, thus keeping the old European indigenous wisdom alive.
©Andrea Hofman, 2018
Some of the material in this blogpost can be found in my recent book "The True Hero's Journey in Fairy Tales and Stone Circles". Order it directly from here.