We are living in a time when more than ever we need a new way of seeing. Old power structures are frequently corrupted and some are thankfully falling around us as I write. This is a vulnerable moment, packed with invitation.
This year, the Great Mother and New Father conference invites you to come gather with us, to hunker down with both the grief and the beauty of our times.
What good is our feast without you?
So what do the old stories say? Myth tells us that when the centre is in crisis, it is from the edge that insight comes. And in many folktales a bird from the wild edge, a profoundly magical bird, is the magpie.
The magpie, on first glance, appears to be black and white. But studied you will notice a blue feather often secreted amongst them. It takes some focused attention, but it’s there. It’s that feather that Blake gave his attention to, and Kahlo, Dickinson, the Haida myth teller Skaay. The blue feather brings insight, nimble ideas, even the prophetic with it. It is not corralled, domestic or humdrum.
Could we learn to speak a blue feather language? What could that mean for us a culture?
This year we will be looking respectfully for new images, new metaphors, new breath on old embers to reveal some of their insight into the times we’re in and how we could live.
Statistics and hysteria don’t help us fall in love, but art, poetry, music and story just might. And an educated heart is a radical thing these days. It leads to activism not lethargy. It rejects imaginative colonisation.
We see that a big problem won’t be solved by a big answer, so we are cultivating a polytheistic approach. There will be direct translations from the myths of the peoples of Native North America, and more again from the great treasury of fairy tales. Just as migrations of birds and animals are changing rapidly, so are the migrations of myths and stories.
How are they speaking across the divide to each other?
Gratitude to Martin Shaw for his words.