Whispers from the Earth may be the shortest book I’ve ever reviewed, yet like a good teaching story, its brevity is what gives it power. It contains 12 short parables by British author Taz Thornton; a section on storyweaving, as she calls the channeling and writing process; plus four stories from her students. The idea for this book unfolded as she participated in a storytelling circle years ago, where she saw her listeners enchanted and instructed by the tale she told. Then, she felt a tug on her heart by a familiar ancestor spirit, who told her, “There are plenty more where this came from…we’re holding them for you. The stories from your own lands. We hid them. We’re waiting to share them again….”1
Thornton relates how she listened to the words, images or feelings coming from spirits of Britain’s ancient past and wove the stories into parables for modern audiences. Because the teachings are timeless, they are meaningful; each placing a different lesson or realization in the heart, and perhaps several depending on what the reader — or listener — needs to hear at that specific time.
For example, the story “The Listening Tree” hit me straight in the heart. Only six paragraphs long, it describes an ancient archetypal tree that listens to the sorrows, burdens, regrets, and fears of all who come to it, which it then transmutes into nourishment for Mother Earth. The story ends with a reminder that we must also bring our joys and happiness to the tree, “For if the tree is listening, it seems only right to provide lightness to balance the shadows of our hearts.”2 I have such a tree outside my patio door. When I look to it I can feel it listening, never judging, always compassionate – and too often I never think to share with it what is going right in my life.
Taz speaks again of trees in Chapter 3: “Channeling Your Own Stories,” as she relates several methods to connect with ancient wisdom. She writes:
When I was channeling the stories for this book, I found some of the trees to be wonderfully gentle protectors and more than happy to share their stories with me. …Tune into the tree and, perhaps, ask if you might lean against it and feel its embrace. When you feel the time is right, sink back against the tree, give thanks and ask to be gifted with a story.3
Again, this passage was wonderfully resonant with me, because this is just how I channeled the messages for my oracle card deck.4
The stories contained in Whispers from the Earth speak to the human condition, and so any reader can pick up this book, read a story or two, and take in the wisdom found there. You can read a story out loud, to children or adults, sitting around a fire, in a classroom, or as a bedtime story. They are meant to be shared, and in a world that makes all too much far too complicated, their simplicity is a relief and a gift. I keep a Chinese fortune taped to my computer: “Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.” Whispers from the Earth stands soundly on all four.