Here is both an account of a telling-place event that took place in London one winter’s evening, and an invitation to you to participate in a live-streaming ‘lockdown’ Telling-Place, via Facebook and the internet, wherever you are, this Friday.
It’s global, it’s free, it’s different and profound, and you’re invited, and can participate from the comfort of your own home. [Yes, the scheduled Table Talk event has been changed, but I hope you’ll find this change into a Telling Place event, beneficial, deep and something altogether different. It will be recorded.
You are still invited to gather with coffee, participate by sharing in the comments section (and those who wish, by prior arrangement can share stories as a guest ie split screen). Perhaps, in addition to gathering at home with a coffee, you might also like to dim the lights and have a candle or two (or more) ready to be lit when we all light them).
Details of the next, online Telling-Place invitation (formerly a Table Talk Event) are at the base of this article.
The ancients knew the value of story-telling when they met together at ancient Telling Places – on a dark, cold evening, a bonfire would burn in the middle of their circle at the edge of the village or in the forest. There, fragments of memory were woven together, and ‘bits’ become ‘whole’; and all added to the complete story, as stories were told.
Everyone was included – some participated by listening, others by telling a story. Slowly, fragments of memory, separate and ‘isolated’ were re-membered, joined together. The opposite of dismemberment.
But, there’s more.
Those that witnessed the Telling-Place event were ‘re-membered’, in that they too, were joined to the ancestors, those that had gone before, and if we were able to look ‘up’ the timeline we would see them joined with those yet to come. All joined together. And, you can experience the same at the next Telling-Place event.
‘You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.’ Toba Beta
Last year at an event in London, amalgamating the ritual of forest-located former Telling-Place events, a group gathered in a building.
At one such Telling Place in a building in London, Tadhg spoke to those that had gathered there. “Tonight, is a time of listening, a time of sharing a story (whether something from your own life-story that is not too personal and which can be shared), or a story that you have heard and which means a lot to you. Stories of dark and light, stories of creation, of endings and beginnings, down and up, of people and places. Stories that cause us to think deeply. Stories and a few activities, yes a few activities that you will be invited to join in with, that make you go ‘oooh’, or ‘ahhhh’. Stories of myth, ‘magic’, and imagination.”
A short time was given over for people to amble and introduce themselves to four other people in fifteen minutes, as they tucked into some delightful food from the smorgasbord and filled their glasses with various chilled fruit juices. Everyone talked enthusiastically. A hub-bub ensued, sounding rather like the friendly drone in a bee hive.
Now back at their tables, everyone settled down.
Tadhg explained as he went along, and opened the Telling Place officially.
A candle was lit, and in doing this simple ritual, Tadhg explained that it was as though we had been pulled out of physical time, as a group, and into sacred space-time, and were propelled back in time to engage with the Ancestors in story, the original, archetypal Telling Place.
Tadhg spoke these words: ‘The Wise Ones spoke of the illusion of time and space, and how we view it as linear. It is circular. They also spoke of connectedness, of the ‘Great Chain Of Being’, or of being ‘at one’ with our forebears, the Ancestors. He raised his hands, momentarily, and declared that the Ancestors were here!
The drumming stopped.
“This remembering”, Tadhg continued, “is called anamnesis: a remembering that makes the original event present to each of us. In a very real sense, ritual negates distance in time and space. It bring us, into that timeless realm of the sacred in which the time and space that separates us from the original event, the first Telling-Place, perhaps, or what separates us from the Other just disappears. Everything is concurrent.
‘We keep stories alive because to re-member is to put broken pieces back together. We keep learning from stories how to make things whole.’ Mark Nepo.
It’s not just remembering. It’s a re-experiencing and a re-connectedness to that earlier event – in this case story and the Ancestors. Anything less that that, is merely mimesis, an imitation or re-enactment. This is more. This is anamnesis.
Tadhg told a story, and after twenty minutes Tadhg concluded the story and sat down, and some others from the circle, as they felt led, shared ancient stories, stories of life, and some shared parts of their life-story.
Two shared stories from their own life, stories of challenging times and of overcoming. Two other shared stories, fables, that had meant a lot to them and which were well received by all. The evening continued well, with each person giving support and praise to others, as well as receiving it. It was so uplifting.
Tadhg lit another candle.
At this point he explained that, at the end of the year it was a good time to review the positive and the not-so-positive events of the year, and to deal with them. He suggested that each person takes two pieces of paper. One would, if that person so wished, would be displayed on the wall later and would contain one or two positive highlights of the year. It would be a form of written gratitude to the Source of All.
‘The imagination of early childhood has no limits. This is why children are fascinated by stories. A story has permission to go anywhere…. The child rarely experiences the story as an observer. The child enters the story, it experiences the drama from within.’ John O’Donohue
The other piece of paper, would be private, and would highlight negative points and negative thoughts and actions that had happened during the year. People wrote feverishly. A few minutes later each person put the gratitude sheet on the wall; each person took the sheet of negative thoughts and actions and, at Tadhg’s suggestion, symbolically dealt with them by placing them into the shredder machine.
Tadhg said a few words, a prayer…ensuring that that negativity was truly gone!
More stories were shared.
Tadhg lit another candle, and talked about remembering those who had gone before us – to remember them with joy. He talked about how our ancestors would have used this time to celebrate the lives of the Ancients, and because of the season, he spoke of Modranicht, called “the Night of the Mothers” or simply “Mothers’ Night”. And, because it was the end of the year, everyone had been asked to bring a copy of a photo of a relative who had passed on, that they wanted to honour, and some also shared stories of those relatives – many quite witty stories that made many smile, and all uplifting – about loved-ones that had passed-on.
Later, Tadhg lit another candle. This time, as some time had elapsed and the evening was drawing to a close, he asked each person to close their eyes, to meditate, and to use their imagination.
“Here is an imaginal ‘Encounter-Message’ exercise: If you would, imagine that this room is filled with your Higher Self, or an elemental, a goodly spirit, an emissary from the Source of All, from the Universe, an angel or fae perhaps. Don’t worry about what they look like but imagine they have a message for someone in the room – not you – but for someone else, and it’s one word, or two, but no more than three, and it’s uplifting. “
“You can imagine them speaking this to you” , Tadhg said, “or writing it down. Now, when you have it, open your eyes and write it down on a piece of paper.”
Everyone wrote something, and everyone then shared the word, two or three that they had been given, not knowing who it was for. Although Tadhg said those present that they may want to share any word heard if they felt it was relevant to themselves. Others, he said, might just quietly like to ponder upon a word heard, silently, that they felt was relevant to them. There was no pressure.
Other stories followed. After a few minutes had elapsed since the last story-sharer had finished and sat down, the Tadhg stood. The bodhrán sounded a slow drumbeat as Tadhg moved in an anti-clockwise direction, pausing at the four cardinal points, and ‘closed’ the meeting by moving back to the centre of the circle and raising his hands momentarily. The drumming stopped. Everything was still, and oh-so quiet.
Tadhg said a short blessing-prayer and sat down. Slowly, ‘normal’ time and interaction resumed.
The event closed with the extinguishing of the candles.
Tadhg explained that each of us were now moving back into mundane time. He suggested we all stand, and applaud – applaud each other for making the evening such a joy, applaud the Other and Ancestors, and others for being present, and applause as a form of ‘grounding’ to ensure that we had ‘fully’ come back into ‘mechanical’ space and time.
One by one, people left. That evening tears were shed, smiles were witnessed, and many were transformed. Each had had an encounter with the Other. In the distance, as car doors opened and closed, the hushed whispers of ,‘See you at the next Telling Place’, could be heard in the still, silent frozen air of that December evening.
‘I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?’ Zhuangzi.
Your Invitation To The ‘Telling Place’ FaceBook Event
(Formerly a Table Talk Event)
Friday, 24 July 2020 At 8pm UK Time on Tadhg’s FaceBook Page
This will still be an inclusive event, slightly different, but hopefully as deep and profound as other events. You are still encouraged to participate as fully as you wish, make comments as we go along, and definitely come prepared with a cup of coffee. You might also like to have a candle or two (or more) and matches to hand at home to light the Telling Place Candle(s) all together when we start, to show our connectedness. You might also like to have pen and paper to hand as we’ll also do an imaginal ‘Encounter-Message’ spiritual exercise, too.
This will be an adapted Telling Place event so that you can participate via lockdown, wherever you are. Do make adjustments for the differing time zones, please. It will be recorded.
If you haven’t already ‘friended’ Tadhg on his Facebook page, please see below.
Live-Streaming Video instructions: To view this streaming video, you need to be a FaceBook friend of Tadhg’s as that it where the ‘broadcast’ can/will be seen. So: If you’re already a friend, or you’re been able to see many of the morning ‘Thought For The Day’ broadcasts via my Facebook site then you’re good to go.
If you’re new, not on Tadhg’s FaceBook friend’s list or are not sure, do check here. If don’t see many previous videos there, or if you can’t gain full access to read that Facebook webpage then you’ll need to become a Facebook friend.
To become a Facebook friend: press the ‘friends’ link on Tadhg’s Facebook site – that link above. He will accept as soon as he can, and, when he does, please try the link again to see if you can gain full access, in readiness for the ‘broadcast’. If you still can’t get access, or if there’s any ‘challenges’, please email him, at: firstname.lastname@example.org.