The Song of the Golden Moon & the Need for Stories

The Song of the Golden Moon

Wherever there are people stories are told, whether in word, song, art or drama. Throughout history, especially in times and societies where most people were illiterate, stories were a means of teaching history, morality and truth. There is a universal need to hear and tell stories that transcends culture, race and geography.

Perhaps this is because stories are the most effective means of communication and method of persuasion, bypassing logic, judgement and analysis. Tales are the language of the heart because they touch our emotions, sweeping aside barriers that will never be toppled by even the most well-reasoned argument.

After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of ‘truth’, and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear.

J.R. R. Tolkien

The sharing of stories can create connections over time and space identifying the common threads of our humanity. And so the same stories told over and again throughout history. The language may be different and names and places that we have never heard replace those we know, yet the core remains. Old fables are re-written with modern twists wearing the clothing of our own particular culture. Yet the heart is beating the same ancient drum.

An engaging story has the potential to make us feel in a way that simple facts fail to. Even in our information-drenched modern society we still seek out stories whether through films, dramas, sitcoms or even the news. We consume the stories of others, good and bad, vicariously sharing their emotions whether real or fiction.

Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.

Ben Okri

Yet this does not take away from the value of stories, or our need for them, for they can help us to define who we are and flesh out facts with meaning and purpose. This need is part of our biology as our brains work by association and context – in metaphors rather than lists of facts. This is probably the reason why our memories are shaped by how something made us feel not just the event itself.

Many people think that stories or make believe are only for children, yet I think that fantasy and myth are fundamental to being human. It is more than escapism, though that is often a big part of it, and certainly more than mere entertainment. There are stories of suffering, friendship, betrayal, adventure, romance and every aspect of our daily reality. They describe the reality of evil and the need to overcome it. As G K Chesterton said “Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten”

My earliest memories are woven through with stories old and new and the illustrations that often accompany them, a passion that has continued throughout my adult life. This is why the scenes that I paint and draw my creatures in are often otherworldly, ethereal and even a touch mystical. I find that creatures of all furs and feathers are wondrous in their own right but to add a sense of otherness can sometimes enhance this. And so The Song of the Golden Moon was birthed from this weaving of both the real and fantastical and features that most myth-drenched of animals, the Hare.

A note about the artwork:

The Song of the Golden Moon was painted in acrylic on boxed canvas and measures 9″ by 12″. Prints are available from The Honeybee and the Hare Etsy Shop

Leave a Reply