Tapping into the primal, oral tradition of feminine folk and fairy tales, we’ll translate its archaic challenges into those facing modern women and in your own life. With prompts and writing exercises, we’ll discover how to use both the narrative arc of the heroine’s journey and its basic motifs, characters, and archetypes in our journaling and creative writing. This workshop and its source material is a counterpoint to The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell—its concept of the monomyth that discounted a heroine’s quest.
We’ll pursue the feminine quest in three foundational ancient texts from matriarchal cultures: Slavic fairy tale, Baba Yaga & Vasilissa the Brave, Greek myth, Psyche and Eros, Greek and Islamic/Sufi tale, Fatima the Spinner and the Tent. We’ll translate their metaphoric challenges to those facing modern women and in your own life through storytelling, discussion, personal narrative, free writes, and journaling.
Week One: Zoom meeting October 25, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm ET
Discussion of the differences in the hero’s and heroine’s journey based on the primary sources of myth, folk, and fairy tales. Introduction of the Slavic fairy tale, Baba Yaga and Vasilissa the Brave, with storytelling, discussion, prompts, and free writes, to recognize the archetypes, characters, motifs, challenges for the heroine in this fairy tale and in contemporary life.
Week Two: Zoom meeting November 1, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm ET
Share and discuss significant journal entries that illustrate and apply the motifs and challenges within the Slavic fairy tale, Baba Yaga and Vasilissa the Brave. Discuss the stages in its narrative arc of the heroine’s journey, their meaning in the tale and in modern feminine experiences with prompts and free writes.
Week Three: Zoom meeting November 8, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm ET
Introduction of the Greek foundational myth, Psyche and Eros, with storytelling, discussion, prompts, and free writes that explore the stages of the heroine’s quest in the first half of this ancient, layered myth.
Week Four: Zoom meeting November 15, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm ET
Share and discuss significant journal entries that illustrate the motifs and challenges of the Greek myth. Focus on the second half of Psyche and Eros, with emphasis on the heroine’s four tasks in the myth, with storytelling, discussion, prompts, and free writes.
Week Five: Zoom meeting November 29, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm EST (skipping Thanksgiving week)
Introduce the Greek and Islamic/Sufi tale, Fatima the Spinner and the Tent, with storytelling, discussion, prompts, and free writes that explore the stages of the heroine’s quest in this ancient text from matriarchal cultures. Discuss it as a culminating tale of the heroine’s journey.
Week Six: Zoom meeting December 6, Wednesday, 4:00 – 6:00 pm EST
Share and discuss significant journal entries that make personal meaning of Fatima the Spinner and the Tent. Discuss and share writings that synthesize, summarize, compare, and contrast the three foundational texts, constructing the basic stages of the heroine’s journey.
This interactive class on the heroine’s journey is for those who have found meaning in folk and fairy tales, as well as in ancient myths, and seek a new paradigm for the feminine heroic—how it can empower their lives. Since these tales have survived in the oral tradition for millennia, I will use the art of storytelling to introduce segments for discussion and prompts for writing.
“We women filled the meeting room in the venerable old library with our voices, writings, and insights, each one of us empowering the other, acknowledging the layers of meaning in the ancient folktale, "Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave," a heroine's journey. ... We touched on self-care and self-love, the guidance of mother wisdom, the nature of beauty, and how Vasilisa became an independent woman in her own right.”
“Thank you, Kate, for a deeply understood presentation of female strengths and unacknowledged POWER in the face of overwhelming odds. I found resources I never imagined and a legacy worth writing and speaking about. Clearly, you have enough material to teach and guide an entire day on Baba Yaga and Vasilissa, the Brave.”
“This class was the best writing and mythology course I have ever taken. Kate Farrell's guidance led us on a well-organized and intuitive experience where we encountered the tales, ourselves, and each other on a very deep level. Through the class activities, I found my perceptions of self, society, and story interweaving and unveiling new truths.”
This is an online class with six Zoom meetings, two hours each, where we come together to explore the ancient texts (full versions provided) with storytelling, discussion, prompts and free writes during the interactive classes. Assignments in journal entries will continue to develop a personal application of the heroine’s journey in daily life and in understanding the layers of meaning in the tales.
Participants can expect to respond to one another’s journal entries throughout the class for a total of 3 – 5 hours each week for both writing and participating. Participants are also asked to respond to at least three other participants' work each week.
The class is hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as using Zoom for synchronous meetings. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions.
The day before class begins, you’ll receive an invitation to join Wet Ink. There are no browser requirements, and Wet Ink is mobile-friendly. If you have any questions about the technical requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate Farrell, storyteller, author, educator, founded the Word Weaving Storytelling Project and published numerous educational materials on storytelling. She has contributed to and edited award-winning anthologies of personal narrative. Farrell’s award-winning new book, is a timely, how-to guide on the art of storytelling for adults, Story Power: Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorable Stories. Kate offers workshops for libraries and writing groups, as well as performing as a storyteller: https://katefarrell.net/
More about Kate: https://katefarrell.net/about/
Kate’s YouTube Channel!
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