The Village and the Forest: Generosity, Naiveté and the Underworld

We hear it everywhere these days: time for a new story, and often with good reason. But how does a story get made? This year at the conference we look at essential nutrients that sustain vitalising myths—particularly radical generosity and robust savviness in the face of the world.

Fairy tales frequently circle around a particular moment: a task will be set for three siblings, and en-route to its fulfillment all will be approached to aid a being in a state of dis-tress. The older two will ignore the plea, the third will bend their head.

So generosity is a currency to a deeper story, but it doesn’t end there. The sibling is then often confronted with a daunting trip to the Underworld and an encounter with a powerful being—a Baba Yaga—that will ask them a set of questions. If their responses are considered naive, she gobbles them up. It’s always been this way.

So we attend to the dis-owned. The thing at the edge. The non-human. That’s the first move. That’s how we witness a new story.

But the second is to know that consequence comes with it. And that to survive it we need sophisticated responses to hard questions. That’s how we sustain a new story.

From where on the margins is the information arriving that we most need to hear? Where are our greatest naiveties? How do we speak well to the Goddess of the Underworld?

Thank you to Martin Shaw for these words. Join Martin, Charles Eisenstein, Alicia Ostriker, Teddy Macker, Rising Appalachia, and more to explore these questions.


Let’s Go