I had a genuinely life changing time at Cae Mabon earlier this week. Apprehensive of what a group of 24 storytellers might get up to I drove along the longest single track lane I have ever driven. Parked my car and then entered Cae Mabon through the carved wooden arch. Passing a giant sculpture of a bee which for some reason suggested a cover of a Hawkwind album I walked passed dwellings that simply made me smile a bigger and bigger smile.
Cae Mabon is the ongoing project of Eric Maddern who stood near the entrance to a magnificent Iron Age roundhouse and greeted me as I approached. Shown to my cabin by the river I found myself running from building to building taking photos as if they might disappear like a mirage at any moment. The dwellings were recently photographed by an architect review magazine and just last week, to even Eric’s surprise, turned up on the front cover as the number one example of sustainable architecture.
During the evening our group grew until all 25 of us had made our way from all corners of the UK. Over the four days
- we told each other stories, sang and danced
- ate the most delicious (totally veggie) food I have ever tasted.
- we worked with stories new and old, from nature to story and from story to nature.
- I gave a talk on complexity and ran an anecdote circle as a workshop.
- We learned about metaphysics and discussed stories with a sense of place.
- We made our own personal unique and hugely impressive ‘Tales to Sustain’ handbook by giving each other printed versions of our favourite story, technique, books and web resources.
- We learned from each other, gave each other advice and greatly enjoyed each others company.
To be in the company of such accomplished storytellers, each with their own unique ability to entranse you and take you to other worlds, places and times just with the use of words was humbling, exciting and I really didn’t want it to end.
The really impressive thing is that these people dedicate their lives to improve their craft and encourage and inspire us, by the use of story, to try and live more sustainabily.
So many highlights over the four days, the priviledge of sitting around a fire in an iron age roundhouse telling stories and playing a drum alongside didgereedoo, ukelele, guitar and the most amazing harp playing will stay with me forever.
Most of the stories told involved animals in some shape or form and the weekwnd provided a few ‘did that really happen moments’ like the frog that joined us during a story about an ivy leaf wanting to be a frog, and best of all, the bat that at 3pm in the afternoon started to circle us in the smaller ‘hogan’ roundhouse as we discussed a ‘sense of place’.
I think you get the picture, one of the most inspiring, enjoyable and, even at my age, character forming weekends I have ever had. So thank you to Eric, Alida, John, Malcolm and my fellow companions for such a great experience.