They say you always come back from the underworld with a gift
In 2019, Sam Crosby descended into the underworld, the prognoses of his newborn son: "Failure to thrive", "Epilepsy", "Non-verbal", "Non-mobile". In the chaos of trauma, heartbreak and victimhood, his spirit was shattered. His twelve shields of masculine pride were obliterated.
And he was recast.
In the underworld he found his gift: the underworld itself. His heart softened. Enriched by the darkness, he became a staunch believer in the teachings of hard times, renewal and the natural world. His studies into myth and nature deepened...
Sam is a surefooted guide and disciple to Dartmoor's tors and riverbanks.
A guardian of the oral tradition and student of Dr Martin Shaw, The Westcountry School of Myth.
A founding fellow and storyteller of The Bio-Leadership Fellowship, a global gathering of nature-connection practitioners and world-leading agents of systems change.
A poet, facilitator and writer for The Wildlife Trusts.
Author of Edges of Dark, a book charting the wisdom of his son's unique perspective.
In the shadow of Hydra, spitting from its heads of climate catastrophe, war, pandemic, racial injustice and mounting global crises, Sam is bringing Recalling Fire into being…
King Arthur rides beside us
Traditional stories are more than entertainment. They're visual, iridescent containers of ancient wisdom. In their countless years of telling and retelling, fairy tales are able to filter and refine some of the sludgiest nuances of the human condition and our part in nature.
In every jealous dragon and splitting seedpod, we're invited to see different parts of ourselves. The fears and loves, passion, apathy, addiction and beauty inside us are the same as the generations who came before. We find it in the golden queen, the wild wolf and the hubbub of folkloric taverns. In the hero's quest, we can imagine a part of ourselves that overcomes. A part that is allowed to die to be reborn. To redefine who we are.
And when those ideas bubble, under the branches and around a shared fire, fear can give way to recognition.
We can stop feverishly protecting the small corner of the world we call our identity and step towards a much older ideal: community.
Why is this important?
Since the beginning we have wondered...
Our paleolithic ancestors reached for something, dreaming half-animal humans onto cave walls to find us 44,000 years later, still wondering.
Is there more to this world? What am I? What is my purpose?
These kinds of questions don’t like to be looked at directly. Like fish jumping from the murky water of our longing, the answers are slippery – flashes of silver and ripples that quickly fade. These moments are peripheral, distinctly unscientific and, here's a scary word for our times: spiritual. So we push them away.
As though intuition has no place in education.
As though logic can explain love, music, soul.
As though we can rationalise the sight of our firstborn child.
If we’re going to save ourselves in these dangerous times, we need to recognise our wonder. Our fire. To lovingly recall it from the fringes of this era of cold logic and hard rationale. To step back into the spiralling duet of science and soul, logic and love, logos and eros. Our mythology is calling us home.