Smoke Hole is a passionate call to arms and an invitation to use these stories to face the complexities of contemporary life, from fake news, parenthood, climate crises, addictive technology and more.
Martin asks that we journey together, and let these stories be our allies, that we breathe deeper, feel steadier and become acquainted with rapture. He writes, ‘It is not good to be walking through these times without a story or three by your side.’
Smoke Hole: Looking to the Wild in the Time of the Spyglass is available from Cista Mystica.
All Those Barbarians holds up the primeval role of the storyteller as a key in such deciphering. It encourages us to get educated, and quick. What you have in your hands is a wayward kind of teaching manual. Not really a book, rather a tent with seven doors, containing stories both ancient and utterly fresh. Its call is urgent, that we as modern people could remember the way humans and the earth talk back to each other. That we risk magnificence. That we risk grief. That we could speak an almost-forgotten-tongue.
Red Bead Woman is an ancient story for a troubled time.
From the longing of an old woman and the deep roots of a mare’s tail plant is born a girl who can rebuild culture, revive relationship between the centre and the edge, the village and the forest. But to do that, she has to have a voice first. And there the journey begins.
Cinderbiter collects tales and poems originally composed and performed centuries ago in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, when notions of history and authorship were indistinguishable from the oral traditions of myth and storytelling. In the spirit of recasting these legends and voices for new audiences, celebrated mythologist and storyteller Martin Shaw and award-winning poet Tony Hoagland have created extraordinary new versions of these bardic lyrics, folkloric sagas, and heroes’ journeys, as they have never been rendered before.
In Courting the Wild Twin, Dr. Martin Shaw invites us to seek out our wild twin, to invite them back into our consciousness, for they have something important to tell us. He challenges us to examine our broken relationship with the world, to think boldly, wildly, and in new ways about ourselves–as individuals and as a collective.
The Night Wages, 2nd Edition is a leap into the mysteries, a deep conversation between father and daughter, a ragged travelogue of a night sea journey to the temple of Aphrodite.
It’s a rumination on how we handle the volatility of romantic love, and how a parent communicates through stories a grief he cannot speak of any other way. Personal and yet mythical, poetic but earthy, this is a new form. The Night Wages provokes archaic images and modern dilemmas, it is the story of someone trying to comprehend the mysteries of their own heart.
Scatterlings: Getting Claimed in the Age of Amnesia
“Scatterlings is about holding up the corner of the earth that has claimed you. It’s messy, opinionated, and asks more of you than you will likely want to give. It’s the tale of a myth teller making a circle round their den and bedding in. No tales of flapping Tibetan prayer flags, no wandering the deserts of North Africa. Over five years I’ve worked the crooked lanes of local story until I could go no further. Till I walked straight out of this century altogether.
It comes with a price attached. It’s recklessly insistent on the urge to kick your boots off, get down on your knees and kiss rough soil, crawl under barbed wire fences and touch the bark of holy trees, hoot and strut and weep and let the wild darkness get its beautiful paws on you once again. Hurl whisky on the grave of Joe Strummer, kiss the wounded, spend a night in a hollow tree. Taste the golden milk from the teat of a rain bear. Un-refine yourself. Un-civilise yourself. It’s about the hundred secret things. For all its bookishness, for all its insistence on study, make no mistake, what it desires most is to get you out where the buses don’t park. What it calls for is a kind of elegant disintegration. What follows is a different kind of activism, a different kind of thinking.”
Snowy Tower: Parzival and the Wet Black Branch of Language
“The story of Parzival says that there is a lion in us: a lion who opens its vast jaw to the feasts of court, the tangles of the forest floor, the intrigues of culture, the thin road of the pilgrim. It has spirit-appetite. This lion is independent; willful, focused, sometimes harsh—it cannot be bought. It longs to wrestle with God. The lion consumes emptiness and space with just the same vigor as it settles on fresh meat. Rumi’s lion is in the business of saying no. It will eat desert and tundra, experience all kinds of heavy weather, but will not shoulder the trite, facile, or domestic. This energy does not get fed by much of what we see around us.”
A Branch From the Lightning Tree: Ecstatic Myth & the Grace in Wildness
“Wildness is a form of sophistication, because it carries within it true knowledge of our place in the world. It doesn’t exclude civilization but prowls through it, knowing when to attend to the needs of the committee and when to drink from the moonlit lake. It will wear a suit when it has to, but refuses to clip its talons or whiskers. Its sensing-nature is not afraid of emotion: the old stories are full of grief forests and triumphant returns, banquets and bridges of thorns. Myth tells us that the full gamut of feeling is to be experienced. Wildness is the capacity to go into joy, sorrow, and anger fully and stay there for as long as needed, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Sometimes, as Lorca says, it means “get down on all fours for twenty centuries and eat the grasses of the cemeteries. ” Wildness carries sobriety as well as exuberance, and has allowed loss to mark its face.”