Impacts of oral storytelling in community
Recalling Fire's belief is that humans are more resilient to chaos and live richer lives when they have more openness to wonder: love and grief.
In other words, we suffer less when we hear our hearts.
Recalling Fire's impact is gauged by the words and tone chosen by participants after meeting us.
We ask, is this person's heart more open?
Once upon a time...
Mythology comes from the places of roots and worms. Thousands of years ago, humans began to tell stories and share ceremonies in response to the chaos of the world.
But it had nothing to do with safety or security. None of the old stories and rituals speak of control. They are conduits for wonder. Community meeting places. Practices to hear and feel the heart.
Modern life is still chaotic, but in our efforts to categorise and commodify and understand it, we are losing our minds. We can see it in the innumerable, human-made crises. Young people are lost. Old people are forgotten. Everyone between is scrabbling for sure-footing as the tides rise.
What if we could quieten the call for control now and then? We are not raging against technology or innovation. We are interested in balance. How might our perspectives shift if we could combine the miracle of the human mind with the intuition of the heart?
How do we know it's working?
We have built a following with minimal resources:
Recalling Fire was founded in July 2022. Since then, we have facilitated or had meaningful presence at 27 events and shared story, embodiment and community connection with 1,000 people. The majority of new participants are referred by word of mouth, including projects with The Wildlife Trusts, partnership with Newquay Orchard and stories in support of Right To Roam.
We are constantly receiving feedback, like the comments (videos above) from participants of our last event 'Outland', an overnight experience in a wooded valley.
Comments from fireside gatherings for social prescribers and volunteers at Newquay Orchard:
“I didn’t know what to expect and was really struck by the beauty and timelessness of the stories. Much left to ponder.”
“It’s been a long time since I’d let myself be heard. It helped me feel like I belong. A brilliant energy which lit up even my darkest days.”
“It makes me feel so comfortable and relaxed and being able to open up.”
Comments from our intimate evenings for members of the public around Cornwall:
“Captivating. It was comforting and challenging. It called to something inside me.”
“I was moved to laugh and cry. I leave feeling more whole than when I arrived.”
“Thank you for letting me grieve, for letting me celebrate, for letting me believe.”
"I feel soothed to my bones".
Comments from a series of gatherings and a facilitated offsite for The Wildlife Trusts staff:
“Mesmeric, deeply moving and uplifting for a tired soul. Those moments of stillness and reflection are still viscerally with me now.”
"I've found some strength."
"Connected to everyone around me and everything around me."
"I feel hopeful about the future and about what we can do together and go forwards and achieve."
Comments from an overnight experience on Dartmoor for our close allies:
"The evening on the moor opened up possibilities of how stories can initiate healing, how they made me realise that we aren't too different from each other."
"It left imprints on the sand of a distant shore somewhere in my mind. You are onto something special."
We challenge ourselves to be heart-first
We resource ourselves with wild places and embodiment:
Daily practices of 'sit spots': relaxed and present time outdoors.
Seasonal, overnight 'nature solos' on open moorland. Just water, basic shelter and a focus on 'being'.
We feed on story:
Weekly, fireside gatherings for story and song.
Continuous research and 'meeting with the characters' within the story.
We honour our teachers:
The Bio-Leadership Project, who facilitated the enquiry 'What is the role of storytelling in the context of systems change?' and gave us teachings in nature-connection and embodiment.
Dr Martin Shaw and Sophie Strand, whose animist teachings gave us reverence for the natural world.
A Band of Brothers, who practice real, impactful recognition of the journey towards elderhood.
See more of our Influences.
Reintroducing the oral tradition to the everyday Brit
By hosting and facilitating events around England, Wales and Scotland, and developing a 'storytelling for storytellers' experience, we hope to follow the lead of the living Seanchaí's of Ireland and reintroduce this familiar, almost forgotten way of being to British shores.
As well as building communities of support, by circling back to the people we've met, we will gauge the long-term potency of this work. Over time, we hope to challenge and check our beliefs that these images and approaches offer lifelong benefit.
By working with leaders, communities, organisations and L&D professionals, we hope to multiply the effects of old words and old ways and set the sparks of systemic, culture-wide interventions.
Gratitude and deepening
We will continue to move through this work and life with reverence for the natural world, including the people who came before us and handed the stories on, those we are dreaming of, and those who share this journey with us.